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Orchid Diseases

Spotting on the Flower – Light brown or pink spots on the flower could be a sign or fungal infection or mold. Make sure you check any surrounding plants since this is “contagious” to other orchids. Remove the flowers that are affected by these spots. The best medicine for this is usually just to increase the airflow around your Phalaenopsis.

Black Rot – This disease, usually caused by the fungi Pythium ultimum and Phytophthora cactorum, can affect any part of the plant and can be deadly. Infected areas turn black and watery. The mostly commonly affected orchid of this disease is the Cattleyas. If not treated within the first few days of this symptom appearing you could lose your orchid.

If the infection is only on the leaf remove the leaf and treat with appropriate fungicide according to the directions (slight variances for different brands). For best results, after removing infected area, you should alter your orchid care routine slightly and keep a close eye on your plant till you’re certain the infection has stopped.

Root Rot– The fungus Rhizoctonia causes root rot and mostly affect those orchids not properly aerated or in rotting potting media. This type of fungus kills slowly and symptoms generally appear as a lack of vitality in your orchid, including shriveled leaves and smaller new growth.

To treat this fungus, remove the plant from the pot, take off all diseased tissue, repot in fresh medium and treat with a recommended fungicide, following the directions on the label. You should do this treatment again in one weeks time.

Leaf-Spotting Fungi – There are many fungi that attack orchid leaves but they are generally not lethal to your plant. Most people, and their orchids, live with it. The main fungi involved is the Cercospora species which cause brown to black spotting on the leaves and sometimes the pseudobulbs (not found on the phalaenopsis).

There are several different fungicides available for treatment and can be sprayed onto your orchid on a regular basis. Making sure that your orchid has the optimum growing conditions helps keep leaf-spotting at bay. Also, if you are misting your plant regularly you should cut back on this and ensure that the air circulation around your orchid is good.

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