Recognize and treat orchid diseases properly

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Orchidaceae - Phalaenopsis orchids

Unfortunately, orchid diseases are an issue because their natural living conditions are very different from those in our homes. After all, not everyone has a tropical house in the garden. If anything is wrong with the orchid, you first have to recognize it, then properly classify it and treat it accordingly. Basically, that does not work any different from ours. Light cases can still be handled quite well, in severe cases, it may be necessary to consult a specialist.


Using the example of deciduous leaves of an orchid, it is easy to describe exactly how to look in order to find the right cause. Only then can the right measures be taken.
Example: The leaves of an orchid turn yellow and fall off.
completely normal
Most orchids repel one or two leaves from time to time. There are even genera that lose all leaves at a certain time (before, but also after flowering).
fungal disease
In the initial phase, the spread of a fungus is still invisible. If one notices the external damage, it may already be too late for the orchid.
Many of the inexpensive orchids sold in supermarkets are "turbo-bred". That is, they were used in a short time with excessive fertilizer. Now, after two years, she may lose her weight and lose her leaves. Only with much patience she can then aufpäppeln again.
If the orchid is too dark this will be answered with leaf shedding. Later, diseases and pests can attack her.
root damage
Damage to the roots may show up on the surface due to leaf shedding. Mostly old substrate and too much moisture is the cause.
This is just a small excerpt of the causes that leaf dying can have. So it definitely pays to take a closer look and analyze.


There are three types of diseases that can be dangerous for an orchid:
  • fungal diseases
  • Bacterial diseases
  • viral diseases
It is not always clear for the layman to differentiate and often it may already be too late when the first damage is visible. In all cases, however, the affected orchid is immediately separated from other plants. Because all three pathogens are contagious and can spread to neighboring plants via touch as well as through the air.

fungal diseases

Orchidaceae Dendrobium

A virus infection is noticeable by many small streaky and arrow-shaped spots on the leaves. Again, it is very difficult for the layman to recognize whether it is viruses or bacteria. While thorough disinfection of bacteria can still be effective, there is hardly any remedy against virus attack. Fortunately, viral infections are not common. Particularly susceptible to be the Cymbidium, Cattleyen and Odontoglossum. Until the final clarification by appropriate specialists, the plants should necessarily be isolated. Viruses are mostly transmitted by pests and dirty cutting tools.
Tip: As a precaution always use disinfected tools to make cuts on an orchid. Daily watering should include a thorough inspection of the plant for pests.


Especially fungal and bacterial diseases are often preceded by decay. The cause is always too much water. Especially the root area and the heart of the orchid are prone to stagnant water. Likewise the areas between the bulbs and the leaves. The best measures for the prevention of rot:
  • pour and spray in the morning
  • enough fresh air
  • not too high humidity (especially in winter)
  • economical watering in winter (at cooler temperatures and less light)
  • good initial supply of interfaces
  • clean tool
An alternative remedy for putrid spots is oregano oil. A drop of it mixed with 1 tbsp normal oil is spread around the rotting plant parts with a brush. As a result, it dries out there and you can remove the rotten parts. After that, of course, to correct the care according to the recommendations.
ConclusionThe difficulty of combating certain diseases should not make aspiring orchid lovers happy with their hobby. After all, that can be an incentive to deal theoretically a little with the needs of these impressive exotics. Chemical agents, as used in the field, should not be used in the private sector.

Video Board: Orchid fleck virus - symptoms, transsmition, consequences.

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