Pest Control: Mealybugs

As with most plants, orchids can be affected by a number of pests and diseases. Not long ago, I posted about slugs. Today will be about mealybugs. I’m not an expert on orchid pests, but I would like to share my experience of them. This post will help you identify mealybugs and how to get rid of them.

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Researching new orchids

I recently posted about choosing your first orchid. Today I will briefly discuss the importance of doing some research when you wish to expand your collection and try something new.

Not all orchids are the same; their care needs vary between species. Their temperature preference is a key factor to consider when purchasing a new orchid. Keeping orchids with completely different temperature requirements is not the best idea. I was almost caught out with this, and I’m glad it was bought to my attention.

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Pest Control: Slugs

Slugs can live for around 2 years, and start life as an egg. These eggs are laid when the soil conditions are moist and can remain dormant until the conditions are right for them to hatch. Slugs are hermaphrodites which means that they have male and female reproductive organs.

Slugs are moisture lovers and thrive in damp media and will have great fun munching the orchids roots. If left to their own devices, they could prove fatal to your orchid. For those of you growing orchids in plastic pots, you should be able to see the condition of the plant’s root system. The condition of the ends of the roots can be indicator of whether slugs are in the media.

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Choosing your first orchid – what to look for

Purchasing your first orchid can be both exciting and a little daunting. What’s the best one to buy? What care does it need? Should the flowers be an indicator of its overall health?

For a beginner, simple and easy to care for orchids are best. For your first orchid, I’d suggest a Phalaenopsis orchid as they are fairly tough and are the most widely available. They are forgiving plants so long as you provide the right care.

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Caring for sick orchids

Once in a while orchids can become sick. Last year, I rescued some that were sick and have successfully nursed them back to health. However, last month my Miltoniopsis ‘World Cup’ orchid succumbed to root rot because it was not discovered in time to save the orchid.

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Learning from this experience, and using my knowledge on caring for sick orchids will help in future. Let’s face it, it will happen to us all at some stage in this hobby. It can be upsetting, but it can also be an opportunity for us to learn.

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