HELP- Mold/Fungus taking over orchids
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  #1  
Old 10-28-2018, 08:57 PM
Jazzhands Jazzhands is offline
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HELP- Mold/Fungus taking over orchids
Default HELP- Mold/Fungus taking over orchids

Hello everyone.

I have (another) problem with my orchids

tl;dr roots are rotting and molding, need help

I recently got two new orchids and I needed to repot them because they had some bugs in them. Good news is that the bugs are gone. Bad news is that the roots on both of the orchids are molding. One of my orchid's roots are VERY bad. In less than two weeks, the ENTIRE root system rotted on orchid #1 and it only had 2 roots left. Orchid #2 still had plenty of roots left, but a lot of the roots had died. Both of the orchids had mold/fungus on them, even though I was watering the same amount as before and the potting mix was big and chunky and the roots had more air. I freaked out and poured hydrogen peroxide and 3 in 1 fungicide on the roots and repotted in a different potting mix. I have made sure to keep the roots moist while letting them dry out regularly, but guess what? mold/fungus has grown on the bottom of the stem and roots of orchid #1. I have already lost one leaf and am about to loose another leaf. The two roots that I have left on orchid #1 are rotting as well! Some of the roots on orchid #2 were rotting and had mold. After I saw the mold/fungus I have not watered the roots even though they are silvery because I fear that the mold/fungus will return! Both of the orchids were practically planted in DIRT when I got them and now that they are in a proper potting mix the roots are rotting and molding???What do I do??? Please help!!! I don't understand!

Notes:
First the orchids were in dirt(when they had bugs), then I moved them to bark chips(roots started molding), and then I moved them to LECA beads(roots are still molding). I am not doing semi hydro though. I moved them to LECA because I hear that it doesn't attract as many pests/mold/fungus and doesn't break down as fast as wood.

Any help is appreciated. Thank you!

I have attached pictures of orchid #1
Attached Thumbnails
HELP- Mold/Fungus taking over orchids-20181028_191319-jpg   HELP- Mold/Fungus taking over orchids-20181028_191119-jpg  
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  #2  
Old 10-29-2018, 01:57 AM
aliceinwl aliceinwl is offline
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HELP- Mold/Fungus taking over orchids Female
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The white fuzz in the second picture looks more like mealy bugs than mold to me.

Hydrogen peroxide poured over the roots is going to damage tissue. Iím not sure why this seems to be so popular. The mold is usually symptomatic of roots already on the way out: itís consuming dying tissue and not killing healthy tissue. I get my orchids into good media and let nature take its course: bad roots die and mold but the plant produces new healthy ones that pick up the slack.

Iíve had good luck treating mild infestations of things like mealy bugs and spider mites with insecticidal soaps. I donít use systemic insecticides so I canít speak to their efficacy in your situation.

Since your orchids are functionally rootless, I think you need to go with something like the spag and bag method where you put them in a bag with damp not wet spagnum and wait for new roots to form. Iíve been able to pot Phals up like normal and stake them to hold them in place if they have at least one root, but I donít see enough root material on yours to make this the most viable option.
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  #3  
Old 10-29-2018, 06:41 AM
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Orchid Whisperer Orchid Whisperer is offline
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HELP- Mold/Fungus taking over orchids Male
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If you want to save the roots, try keeping the plant totally bare root for a while. Also, no hydrogen peroxide on the roots.

Phalaenopsis can be kept bare root for a year or longer if needed. Run water over the roots daily, long enough to wet them, then allow to dry until the next day. You can place the root mass of the plant hanging in an empty pot or empty jar in between watering.
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  #4  
Old 10-29-2018, 09:13 AM
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Ray Ray is offline
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HELP- Mold/Fungus taking over orchids
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If I am getting that second photo correctly, you have rotted the roots completely off the plant, or at least have set the thing on that path.

If you really want to save it, find a way to keep it really warm (30C is adequate), shady, and in as close to 100%RH as you can, with no contact with anything wet. Having no viable roots, the plant has no way to take up water, so can desiccate and die. The warm temperature accelerates its metabolism, while the high humidity slows the water loss, giving the plant a chance to repair itself and regrow roots.
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  #5  
Old 10-29-2018, 09:30 AM
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MrHappyRotter MrHappyRotter is offline
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HELP- Mold/Fungus taking over orchids Male
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1. The vast majority of orchids did not evolve to handle constant root disturbance and it's unlikely that any amount of modern breeding is going to change that. So, my first bit of advice is, as best as possible, make a change, then give the plant time to adapt. Have some faith, and have some patience.

2. The fungus/mold you're seeing could be pathogenic, but don't you think there's a not insignificant chance that, given the dead and dying roots, the fungus would be saprophytic? If there's dead tissue, and you already said that the roots were dead/dying, then there are going to be organisms moving in to process that dead tissue. From a practical standpoint, you'll never be able to eliminate all bacteria and fungus, especially not when there's "food" available for them, and really, there's no need to.

3. Phals, generally speaking, love warmth and humidity, along with good air movement and bright shade (i.e. low light, but not dark by any means). Are you actually providing these kind of conditions? For plants with injured/sick roots, warmth along with good care will really help facilitate root growth.

4. 3-in-1 products are often Neem or other horticultural oils. Those probably don't belong on the roots, and work best (in my experience) as preventative measures. It can still be effective on active pest infestation or infection, but much less so than other products. Household peroxide isn't going to completely sanitize much of anything, so applications might knock fungus back a bit or alter the microbial community to some degree, but almost immediately after application, those things are going to bounce back fairly quickly.
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  #6  
Old 10-30-2018, 12:57 AM
Jazzhands Jazzhands is offline
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HELP- Mold/Fungus taking over orchids
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Hi all!

Thank you for the advice. I guess the rot/mold was as bad as I thought. Its going to take a long time to grow back isn't it? *sigh*

I don't think my plant is infested with mealybugs. I thought about that too, but the mold/fungus actually isn't as bad as the 2nd pic makes it out to be. Idk but now looking back, 2nd pic makes things seem way worse than it actually is, maybe because I had just watered that day. My orchid has dried out now and first pic is more accurate depiction.

Are you guys saying not to worry about the mold/fungus, since it will grow back anyway? If I start to provide it with a warm, humid environment, the mold will continue to grow, right? Wouldn't that be bad?

Providing it with a warm environment will probably be very hard right now, since its cooling down and winter is coming. I'm thinking of putting both the orchids in an aquarium and some type of reptile heating pad to keep it warm(still haven't fully decided what I'm going to use. Don't know if heat lamp would be the best option?). It will be pretty easy to keep humidity up in an aquarium. What do you think? How would you keep an orchid warm in a cold environment?

Also, why have my orchids started to rot now even though they are in better growing conditions than they were before? I had them for at least a month and they were doing very well before I repotted them?

Thank you for all the replies. I really appreciate the help, cause I'm getting a bit discouraged here.
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  #7  
Old 10-30-2018, 03:16 AM
aliceinwl aliceinwl is offline
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HELP- Mold/Fungus taking over orchids Female
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Since your orchids came with a bug infestation, they may not have been in the best of health to start with. If the roots were already not in the best shape, hitting them with peroxide, and keeping them cool and too wet could lead to rapid rot really fast.

They sell heating pads especially for plants. If you go the heating pad route, Iíd recommend against using one for reptiles since these will run too hot.

Not to be totally heartless, but Orchid Whispererís recommendations seems really easy to follow. You could give it a go and in the meantime peruse the sticky thread the Phal abuse stops here. If they make it great, if they donít you wonít have lost an investment in additional equipment and youíll be better equipped to try again.

I killed my first Phals. Even if yours donít pull through you can chalk it up as a learning experience. If you start off next time with a healthy plant they can be really forgiving.
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