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  #1  
Old 05-17-2019, 05:01 PM
pinkowl pinkowl is offline
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Neofinetia falcata had white mold on roots
Default Neofinetia falcata had white mold on roots

My Neofinetia falcatas are in need of care. I noticed one of my plants getting sickly so I ended up checking all my plants and they have white mold on roots. I have taken everyone out of their containers and soaked in hydrogen peroxide and placed back into their terrarium on paper towels with bare roots at 50+% humidity. Many of the roots look bad and I need to get some isopropyl alcohol (to clean cutting tool) so I can remove what needs to go.

I was thinking of getting a product like KelpMax to help them regrow roots, but a liter is way too much for my own needs. Is there something else I can use to help them along? Any advice on what to do next? Would it be bad to soak them again in hydrogen peroxide after I remove the bad roots?

Help me save my little ones.
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  #2  
Old 05-17-2019, 07:31 PM
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In general, peroxide is very bad for the roots - it destroys the fine little hairs of good, new roots. So don't use it again... hopefully what you have damaged will recover. If you have had a mold issue, best is to just unpot and let it dry out for a few days. That won't hurt a Neofinetia falcata - being Vandas they need a wet-dry cycle and have evolved to conserve water in dry conditions (stiff, succulent leaves with hard cuticle on the outside helps them do that) Once they have dried out well, the orchids will be fine but the mold won't be happy - which is exactly what you want. Then water, let it dry out, repeat.

When you pot them, you can use sphagnum if you like. I pack it loosely so that it dries out and lets in lots of air, have found that baskets or net pots work better than solid pots. If you have a different approach to potting, it's the objective that is important - wet/dry cycle with lots of air around the roots is vital. In a terrarium or other place where humidity is high these also do nicely mounted.

For cleaning cutting tools, alcohol won't kill much... a flame is better (I use a propane torch, it works instantly and thoroughly) or single-use single-edge razor blades (very cheap, at any hardware store, usually in the paint section) work great, especially on small plants and since you use one per plant and then throw it away, no chance of cross-contamination.

And patience!!! orchids don't do anything fast, roots will come but it could take several months so don't panic and keep "trying stuff". Give them a chance to recover on their own.
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Last edited by Roberta; 05-17-2019 at 07:39 PM..
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Old 05-18-2019, 12:49 AM
pinkowl pinkowl is offline
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Neofinetia falcata had white mold on roots
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Thank you for your reply.

I did remove the roots that were mushy and decaying. I didn't soak them in hydrogen peroxide again. I didn't put any moss on them yet since I am still a bit worried about the white moss coming back.

The little orchids are laying bare root on a plastic grid. The exo terra terrarium air humidity is at 80%. Temperature is around mid 70F during the day.

Should this be okay until new roots grow? Or should I lower the air humidity? The orchids' roots right now are a silver white with a light tint of green in some areas. The roots are not in direct contact with water or damp medium at this time.

Last edited by pinkowl; 05-18-2019 at 12:59 AM..
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Old 05-18-2019, 12:59 AM
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I think you can lower the air humidity... let them dry out a little. Air movement is important. Then you can pot or mount them into their new home after they have dried out for a few days. Growing roots (or anything else for that matter) can take several months, and ideally they will be settled into their new environment by that time. (Whatever medium you use, it needs to support that wet/dry cycle with lots of air) But good air movement is more important than high humidity. In fact if the humidity is high, that air movement is even more important - that, more than anything, will prevent the stale environment where fungi and bacteria show up. Temperature is fine - Neos aren't fussy about temperature at all.
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Old 05-18-2019, 01:08 AM
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I have a fan inside the terrarium that is always on to circulate air. I will uncover more of the lid to allow more air exchange. I had covered more of the lid when I left the orchids bare root on the plastic grid, which is why the humidity went up to 80% instead of 50-70% I had them at before.

So I will just wait a few days and decide how best to re-pot them so I don't make the same stupid mistake of over watering them. I just hope they can survive my mistake.

Thank you again.
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Old 05-18-2019, 01:17 AM
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In a a terrarium, consider mounting instead of potting. Since your humidity is fairly high, and controllable, it may be a great environment for your orchids (most of which are epiphytes) to do what comes naturally, which is to grow bare-root with a bit of sphagnum moss around (more on it than in it) You really can't overwater a mounted plant if you have good air movement. In nature they may get rained on every day... but then the sun comes out, there is a breeze, and they dry out.
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Last edited by Roberta; 05-18-2019 at 01:23 AM..
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Old 05-18-2019, 06:32 AM
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For drying them out, I've had some sit on the kitchen table bare root for a week, with occasional misting, and they were fine, and this after they had already spent several weeks bareroot during their long trip from Asia.

You can also consider taking them out of the terrarium, permanently. Neos are hardy plants and grow well in normal house conditions (as long as there is the right amount of light), and don't need 80% humidity. They are far more tolerant of dry rather than wet conditions.
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Old 05-18-2019, 09:20 AM
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Neofinetia falcata had white mold on roots
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkowl View Post
I was thinking of getting a product like KelpMax to help them regrow roots, but a liter is way too much for my own needs.
You're not going to find a better root-growth stimulant than KelpMax, but 1) that's not all it does, and 2) it's use doesn't have to be limited to orchids, as all plants benefit from its periodic application.

KelpMax is great for rescuing plants with root issues, but it accelerates growth in general, leading to faster multiplication of growths and better flowering. If you do any breeding, a KelpMax treatment just after pollination enhances pollen tube growth.

Pretreating seed before sowing increases the germination rate - I do that with herbs and bedding plants every spring.
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Old 05-18-2019, 11:36 AM
pinkowl pinkowl is offline
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Neofinetia falcata had white mold on roots
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My plant collection consists of several tiny neos, 2 spider plant pups, and a lucky bamboo. If I had a larger collection or larger plants, it would be easier to justify the purchase. Even mixing a 1 cup spray bottle of fertilizer is too much for my plants.

If I did my math right, I would use 0.92 ml per cup of water once a month? (Using 1 Tbsp/gallon dosing.) That is 3.2 Tbsp of product a year (if I use the product once a week instead of once a month). So even with the shelf life of 2 years (assuming my orchids survive my mistake) I am using a small fraction of the product that costs $36. This is why I am indecisive if I should buy and barely use it or buy something else from the plant nursery.

I was excited when my search result for KelpMax said there was an 8 oz size, but I read a post that the size was discontinued.

@camille1585: Regarding just having them outside of the terrarium, I have a cat that loves to get into everything. I like to view my plants from my desk, where my cat is forbidden from but goes when I am not looking. The terrarium protects my little orchids from her. She has already taken a few bites of my spider plant pups. She is such a bad cat. lol
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Old 05-18-2019, 11:56 AM
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Since the terrarium does seem necessary, your only orchids are Neos mounting may be your best bet to keep the roots happy. If you want to add a touch of color, consider Maxillaria sophronitis... stays small, produces anywhere from 1 or 2 to a whole flush of brilliant red flowers several times a year. These want a bit more moisture than a Neo so a net pot with sphagnum would be good.
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