It’s that time of year when insects are doing the rounds and buzzing about. Our orchid collections may be more vulnerable from insect damage now because the conditions are favourable for critters to start having babies – and boy do they!
Last year I had problems with fungus gnats, and they are back again this year. If you don’t what these are, they are those tiny little black flies that hang out near the compost or growing media of plants. They are pretty dopey in terms of the way they fly and almost always seem to want to go near your face. They love damp or moist media to lay eggs in because when the eggs hatch they like being able to eat decaying yucky stuff in plant pots.
A few weeks ago, a Phalaenopsis orchid began showing signs it had stem rot. Although it had been given some treatment, it was unclear whether it would pull through. Sadly, the stem rot was more advanced than I thought, and it gave up. I came home from work to find this…
Occasionally Phalaenopsis orchids may fall foul of a type of rot. There are many different types that can affect orchids, but this time, we appear to be dealing with stem rot. At the base of this Phalaenopsis orchid there is a small patch of black tissue, which appeared after the bottom three leaves turned yellow and fell off. One leaf at a time is normal – but three? No.
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.
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.