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Orchids - what is this?

(13 Posts)
superoz Tue 01-Nov-16 11:53:43

Dh bought an orchid (Phalaenopholis) from Ikea a couple of weeks ago.

I've only watered it once, drained the water off but it has started to develop this white mould on the roots (see pic).

Can I save it? What can I do? I have form for killing plants, only a cactus has survived my hands but I really want to get better!

Couflan Tue 01-Nov-16 12:03:05

Mealybugs also attack the leaves and stems forming a white cottony mass.

NanTheWiser Tue 01-Nov-16 12:10:03

I'm no expert on orchids, but it's probably growing on the bark potting mix - a quick google comes up with something called "snow mould" in orchid pots which could be the culprit. It would probably be best to repot into clean orchid compost, but maybe someone who knows about these things can give more advice!

NanTheWiser Tue 01-Nov-16 12:11:09

Definitely not mealies Couflan, I know all about those!

shovetheholly Tue 01-Nov-16 12:18:22

Awwww, bless you!

Sometimes plants are not well treated in stores before they are bought. It's not always your fault something is happening. That looks like a surface filamentous mould to me from your picture - it looks quite uniform and spread down the root rather than a patch of mess (which is what mealybugs make). Give those bits a gentle wipe, let it dry, make sure it's ventilated and see where you are in a couple of days.

Some info: www.justaddiceorchids.com/orchid-care-blog/what-you-need-to-know-about-phalaenopsis-orchids-and-mold

shovetheholly Tue 01-Nov-16 12:24:05

Oh, and the roots should be a little bit white - they have tiny hairs on them. The roots towards the edge of your pot look fairly normal. But what you have in the centre where you have longer white hairs is some kind of mould! One way of avoiding this is to water from the bottom so the leaves don't get wet and start rotting. Another is to use the orchid compost that has large pieces in it - it's kind of bark like in texture.

This forum, with lots of far more expert orchid growers than me, suggests cleaning affected orchid roots with Listerine!

www.orchidboard.com/community/pests-and-diseases/33139-help-mold-killing-orchid-roots.html

superoz Tue 01-Nov-16 21:44:17

Thanks for the links, very helpful.

It's definitely not mealy bugs as they are meant to look like cotton blobs, it's more uniform than that. There's a bit more on other roots and it also appears on the bark! And what about the dried out spindly roots, do I just leave them or cut them off?

Yamadori Wed 02-Nov-16 10:18:26

It will probably do better if you take it out of the white glazed pot. Orchids use their roots for photosynthesis - they are green and prefer to be in the light. Yes to cutting off the shrivelled and dead roots, back to where they are still plump.

How often do you water it?

shovetheholly Wed 02-Nov-16 12:27:31

Yes - and given that there is a fungal issue, you might want to sterilise the knife you use beforehand and between cuts.

prettybird Wed 02-Nov-16 14:50:43

Can't help with the mould/fungus but my dad gave me a brilliant bit of advice for watering an orchid: an ice cube once a week.

Having been a serial orchid killer, I've now kept an orchid alive (and flowering) for 7 months! shock

superoz Wed 02-Nov-16 19:14:33

I've had it for two weeks and only watered it once last week.

Ok I shall take it out of the pot, that makes sense if the roots photosynthesise.

Can I cut back to where the root is green without killing it? And is it worth repotting or just throw away the bark with mould on? Hoping I can rescue it!

Ferguson Wed 02-Nov-16 20:34:49

Have a look, as well, on a dedicated orchid enthusiasts web site.

shovetheholly Thu 03-Nov-16 17:00:56

I am not an orchid-growing expert, so someone more knowledgeable may come along with better advice, but I personally would bin the compost it's in and start again with fresh orchid compost, give the mouldy roots a wipe over with something fungicidal, and snip out any dried up roots with a sterilised blade.

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