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Plant Diseases/Diseased orchid


Diseased orchid
Diseased orchid  
I have several orchids of this type, but this one worries me, is it a virus infection, should I destroy it?"
Many thanks for your consideration.

Dear Jeffrey, My apologies for not replying sooner - I had an unexpected computer crash which required an upgrade.  I have looked at your photo and the new foliage is very disturbing.  The only reasons I can think of to cause such deformity would be scale insects.  These would appear as hard unmoving bumps - usually brown or blackish - on the underside of the leaves.  These scale insects sap the juices out of the plant and cause significantly stunted growth.  However, if on close examination of the leaves and perhaps appearing on the tops of the roots you don't see these bugs, then that isn't the problem.  The only other pest you could have would be fungus gnats, but you would probably notice small flies around your pots.  If you do have some pest, I would give it a strong dousing with NEEM.  It should smother scale, and destroy the fungus gnat larvae which cause a lot of damage.  One leaf does seem a bit scorched, but I don't get the impression that this plant is in too bright light.  If you don't see any pests, and you have other valuable orchids that you want to protect, I would be inclined to destroy it.  I always hate to lose a good plant, but I would rather lose the one, rather than have the rest of them infected.  The stunting and distortion on this Phalaenopsis are significant so if you don't see any pest signs, I would destroy it to be on the safe side.  Sorry about the bad report.  I hope this information is helpful.  Good luck, Melissa

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Melissa Johnston


Plant diseases, landscaping, tropical plants, roses, herbs, plant care, grafting, horticulture, plant identification, anything about plants I can likely answer.


35 years experience in various plant businesses, 1984 Certified Texas Master Gardener.

Master Gardener Association of Texas charter member

none as of yet, but I have a plant q&a book I am in process of submitting.

Magna cum laude graduate of Texas A&M, 1978

Awards and Honors
Plant growing awards, highest grade for Texas Master Gardener graduates.

Past/Present Clients
Past member of and was very highly rated. Owned landscape company in the past, Almost Paradise, and was very successful despite little equipment, no help, and no advertising. Lived well for two years until 9/11.

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