Diagnose Your Orchid

Plant

Symptom: No new growth

  • Possible cause: Plant’s growth cycle. Some plants grow new leaves every few months while others take much longer.
  • Remedy: Keep watering and fertilizing your plant regularly. Check temperature and light needs.

Symptom: Won’t flower

  • Possible cause: Most commonly due to insufficient light.
  • Remedy: Gradually move plant to a spot with more light or supplement light with fluorescents for up to 12 hours per day.

Symptom: Hard waxy spots or mounds

  • Possible cause: Scale insects
  • Remedy: General use insecticide. Note: most, even very harsh, insecticides will be repelled by scale unless a wetting agent is added or included in insecticide.

Symptom: Chewed or eroded flowers, buds, or roots

  • Possible cause: Snails, slugs
  • Remedy: Snail baits, dust, or beer.

Flowers

Symptom: Punctures in flowers (and new leaves)

  • Possible cause: Thrips: small chewing insects
  • Remedy: Soapy water or general use pesticide.

Symptom: Rapidly wilting

  • Possible cause: a) Temperatures fluctuate too severely, b) Air quality; smog or inefficient pilot light
  • Remedy: a) Move plant to a spot with more even temperatures, b) Adjust pilot light

Symptom: Silvery surfaces on lower parts of leaves and bruises on flowers

  • Possible cause: Spider mites
  • Remedy: General use pesticide. You will need at least 2 applications to kill adults and juveniles. Raising humidity will help prevent future outbreaks leaves and bruises on flowers.

Buds

Symptom: Drop before opening

  • Possible cause: a) Temperatures fluctuate too severely, b) Air quality; smog or inefficient pilot light
  • Remedy: a) Move plant to a spot with more even temperatures, b) Adjust pilot light.

Pseudobulb & Leaves

Symptom: Shrivel and growth slows, roots rotted

  • Possible cause: a) Over watering, b) Poor potting mix
  • Remedy: a) Reduce water, b) Repot if potting mix has broken down.

Symptom: Shrivel and growth slows, roots dried but ok

  • Possible cause: Under watering or humidity too low
  • Remedy: Water thoroughly several times. Increase humidity and water more frequently.

Symptom: White cottony masses on the plant, particularly in the leaf axils and underneath the sheath of pseudobulb

  • Possible cause: Mealy bugs
  • Remedy: Rub cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol over affected areas, or insecticidal soaps are effective.

Leaves

Symptom: New leaves turn yellow

  • Possible cause: a) Too much water, b) Too much light
  • Remedy: a) Skip a watering or two, b) Provide more shade

Symptom: Turn yellow and drop

  • Possible cause: Natural in deciduous orchids. In Phalaenopsis; crown rot.
  • Remedy: Skip a watering or two and move plant to a cooler spot to promote bud formation. In Phalaenopsis; water plant in morning and keep water from pooling on leaves.

Symptom: Large splotchy, yellow/brown spots

  • Possible cause: Too much sunlight/sunburn
  • Remedy: Provide plant more shade.

Symptom: Black spots increasing in size

  • Possible cause: Disease
  • Remedy: Isolate unhealthy plant, cut out all diseased areas of plant using sterilized clippers. Apply an orchid fungicide to affected areas and decrease both water and humidity levels while plant is recovering.

Symptom: Bold brown spots turning black

  • Possible cause: Fungal infection
  • Remedy: Lower humidity, dry off affected areas and apply fungicide.

Symptom: White or brown spots

  • Possible cause: Water is too hard, iron content too high
  • Remedy: Flush excess minerals out with deionized water; use bottled or rain water once regular watering recommences.

Symptom: Black tips

  • Possible cause: a) Over fertilization, b) Direct sun, c) Too much salt in water
  • Remedy: a) Skip a few fertilizations, b) Move plant to spot with indirect light, c) Flush excess minerals out with deionized water; use bottled or rain water once regular watering commences.

Symptom: Flaccid/limp

  • Possible cause: a) Potting media is overly saturated, b) Root Damage
  • Remedy: a) Skip a watering or two, b) Repot.

About

Welcome to Jardim Therapy my blog about orchids and Brazil. Here you will find a few useful references, and some tip & tricks, along with posting of my own personal experience. I absolutely love orchids, and I want to help everyone interested in learning about these unique plants.

As guests of Jardim Therapy you are welcome to browse the home page, post comments, and access the archives. You can also send me a message if you have any questions.

Enjoy!

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