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  • 1 Post By ksriramkumar
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Orchid Death by Cigarette Smoke? And Other Environmental Problems...?

This is a discussion on Orchid Death by Cigarette Smoke? And Other Environmental Problems...? within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; I just bought a couple of phals from a hardware store whose roots were in ...

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  1. #1
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    Default Orchid Death by Cigarette Smoke? And Other Environmental Problems...?

    I just bought a couple of phals from a hardware store whose roots were in pretty bad shape. I'm trying to make the environment good for them to grow in, and I'm wondering what kinds of environmental factors in my apartment (besides light, temp, and humidity) can affect their health? I sometimes smoke inside for one thing, and I don't know if/how that might affect them. Can it kill them, or affect their ability to bloom in the future? Is this just another reason why I should quit? I have several "air-purifying" houseplants if that can make any difference. Actually, can other plants help or damage the orchid environment; are there plants that are toxic to orchids?
    My apartment is also small, and I eat a lot of tomatoes (odd statement, I know, but I'm going somewhere). I don't refrigerate them, or some other types of produce. I've read that fruit fumes can damage orchids, but at what point does that happen? Does it have to be totally rotten? And does the orchid have to be very close to the fruit for that to happen (i.e. would a technically separate but open living room/kitchen combo be a problem if some fruit started to go bad)?
    Advice on any other ambient household environmental factors of this type that you can think of would also be really appreciated!

  2. #2
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    Ripening fruit gives off ethylene gas and my guess is that the more ripe the fruit gets, the more ethylene it emits.

    I smoked cigarettes for 30 years. I quit 10.5 years ago. If it is yet another reason on your list of 'why to quit', it is well worth it. I can't tell you how much better I feel since I quit. The hikes I do every weekend would be impossible if I still smoked. How it affects orchids, I cannot say. My guess is it could be negative.

    Do you have a fan for air movement?

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    Thanks for the reply (and the quitting advice--I should be going on more hikes and breathing cleaner air inside my apartment and out).

    I do have a fan, and I keep it running constantly. Think that'll help with the smoke at least a little? I suppose it definitely can't hurt in any case...

  4. #4
    ksriramkumar is offline Senior Member
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    One another problem with smoking I could think is that you need to sanitize your hand between smoke and attending orchid. There is a chance that you could infect orchids with Tobacco mosaic virus. Possibly you need to give up smoking for overall benefit

  5. #5
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    I agree with everything that has been said. I know that methane (not from the cigarettes) is harmful to orchids as evidenced by the Miami collector who won a judgment against the city of Miami for destroying his orchids. Similarly the ethylene gas given off by ripening fruit does have an effect on plants (not sure about orchids) but it was noticed that ethylene gas lights in the 1880's made plants around them grow differently- faster in most cases. I would imagine that unless it is bags and bags of tomatoes the effect might be minimal. I know to ripen my fruit using the ethylene gas from a banana I have to enclose the fruit in a paper bag with the banana.
    I would also make you like ksriramkumar said to wash your hands. I have heard numerous reports about tobacco mosaic virus being spread that way.
    As for the smoking I am not trying to preach at all so please don't take it this way but in the United States (not sure where you are) most if not all states have tobacco cessation programs that are paid for out of the tobacco settlement money. After registering for a card (there are some age restrictions) you can get free medical care related to smoking cessation, free medications including pills and patches to quit smoking and individual or group counseling to do so. Most people are totally unaware of the program including most of the doctors I have talked to about as a medical student.

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    Oh jeez! I had definitely never heard of this virus. I just looked it up, and found pictures of what it could do to orchids. It was scary... I would never have thought of anything like that except the smoke, or just needing to sanitize everything if handling the roots, or performing "surgery" of some kind on the orchid. I think I probably already have touched leaves, and definitely the medium without washing my hands first. Here's hoping nothing happened yet. From here on out: hand-cleaning every time. These possible environmental factors that affect orchid growth are fascinating...

    I'm also glad to hear that about the fruit! I don't have lots of it on hand at a time, so I feel better there.

    And thank you Traci; I just looked it up, and Arkansas does have a tobacco cessation program. I don't exactly want to kill either my orchids, or myself with smoke.

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