Orchids are resilient and can live in even the harshest climates. Despite this toughness, orchids are vulnerable to many different diseases and parasitic infestations. You can notice these problems whether you are an orchid lover or a novice gardener who wants to try their hand at growing orchids. There are several signs of pest infestations and diseases that you should be looking out for if you want to keep your orchids alive.
Warning Signs To Watch For In Your Orchid Plant
One way to tell if your orchids are having a problem is to closely examine the leaves and blossoms of the plant. For starters, any orchid that has blooms that dont live very long may be having problems. Orchid blooms should last for several weeks as long as the plant is healthy. Remember that your orchid type may bloom a few times during the year so get familiar with your orchid kind so you know what is and is not normal.
Remember to look at the petals, too. If the orchids petals are discolored or seem to have dark flecks or holes, then there may be a reason to be concerned.
Look for damage or discoloration on the leaves of your orchid. Most healthy orchid leaves have a glossy green to them. If your plants do not then it could be some sort of problem. However, be sure to eliminate the environmental causes such as too much sunlight or temperatures that are not optimal for it before you immediately suspect illnesses.
Possible Pests That Can Damage Your Orchids
There are all kinds of pests that can damage your orchid plants including aphids, fungus gnats, white flies, etc. Heres a brief look at some of the pests mentioned.
Aphids Orchids are most in danger of dying from the aphid insect. They kill the plant by sucking out the nutrients then leave behind waste products that make it vulnerable to mold. When you really look at it, its a double whammy for your orchids.
Fungus Gnats These insects will breed in the soil of your plants pot especially if it has a lot of moisture. Fungus gnats are similar to root rot. As you may know, root rot is a big challenge to take care of in your plants.
White flies White flies are pretty with their tiny yellow colored heads with pale wings that holds some resemblance to a tiny flower. However, looks can be deceiving. These parasitic insects are usually found in clusters on the underneath of petals or leaves. White flies are known to attack most, if not all, vegetation and spread viral diseases. This insect type is a nuisance for not only farmers but also horticulturalists.
Other Plant Destructive Insects
Other insects that can damage your orchids include the mealy bugs, scale insects and spider mites. Mealy bugs and scale insects will attack the orchids leaves, which can make them turn to a yellowish color. Spider mites, on the other hand, present themselves as bright-colored flecks.
Types of Treatments For Your Orchids
Many people use pesticides to get rid of the diseases or pests that are inflicting damage to their orchids. This has proven quite effective. This method of getting rid of damage causing problems has brought up two issues.
For starters, there is an increase of resistance in many of the organisms that attack the orchids, especially when exposed to them on a continuous basis. Second, pesticides are very un-environmentally friendly, which tends to turn people off from using the toxic chemicals. This is especially true in homes where small children are.
If youre looking to be eco-friendly and keep your orchids healthy, then wash all of the plants parts completely, drying them well with care after you are done. Results are often seen after several times of doing this method so dont become glum if you dont see immediate results. You should also repot your plant in fresh soil/matter so you can get rid of fungal problems.
Since the majority of insects seem fascinated by the color yellow, place the colored tacky paper up close to the plant so it may trap the insects, keeping them from reproducing and spreading their damage. You can also wipe down your plants affected areas with neem oil.
Remove the plant that is infected away from other plant life so that it does not cause the disease to spread. While you can do a lot, you have to remember to be patient and give your orchid the care it needs to survive and return back to the splendor it once was.