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Repotting & Removing Fungus + Bugs

This is a discussion on Repotting & Removing Fungus + Bugs within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; New thread... I'm getting ready to place a supply order and was needing some advice ...

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  1. #1
    sunkisd's Avatar
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    Default Repotting & Removing Fungus + Bugs

    New thread...

    I'm getting ready to place a supply order and was needing some advice on this repotting plan before I place it, incase there's something else I need to order I'm not aware of.

    4 of the orchids I have right now were given to me from a family member. None have ever been repotted and I have a small mold/fungus issue going on, I also noticed some small (like tiny, tiny) critters today in two of them. My plan is to repot or mount everything that I have and do a physan 20 1hr soak on all of them at the 1 1/2tsp per gallon ratio in the process. After the soak then repot/mount I was going to wait a week before watering and just spritz them in the meantime. Is there anything else I need to consider? Do I need to flush them after the physan 20 soak? l also have some new orchids coming in the next week so I planned on doing this process to my existing guys + the new guys at the same time, per BD's original reply to the quarantine question. My concerns are 1. My 2 Miltoniopsis. I haven't decided how to repot them and the physan20 soak on them scares me. 2. I have 5 plants in bloom right now so it's not the optimal time to repot but they all need it. 2 of those bloomers are my Miltoniopsis and one of them is amazing right now, probably has 20+ open flowers. Thoughts? And thanks in advance for any help.

    I took a look at spider mites and mealy bugs and these are neither. They are super small, like 1/4 of a pin head size. I would've missed them except they were on a white background.

  2. #2
    ksriramkumar is offline Senior Member
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    As a a beginner, the temptation for repotting everything is quite high. I would suggest you learn with one orchid see how it shapes up and attempt the others, so that you can learn and correct the mistakes.

    you don't have to flush the plant after soaked in physan.

    I would suggest, you observe the new orchids on how they are potted etc and treat them with a fungicide and bactericide and take it into your collection. some orchids don't like to be repotting and repotting could upset their growth cycle.

  3. #3
    lijun's Avatar
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    hi sunkist,.. i've read your posts before in "how to quarantine new orchids thread" ,..
    i think the 4 with fungus and critters may need to be seperated and treated,... i would repot it to be safe,.. not throwing away the pot but if its not plastic i deep it in hot water and put it aside,.. maybe i need it for later someday,..

  4. #4
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    Always keep in mind that smaller is better. You do not want to take a 3" (for example) and pot it into a 6,8, or 12". 3.5 or 4 is better. 5" (again bade on repot of example 3") is better. Too big too fast can cause the plant to focus on rooting instead of blooming and take more time to bloom. Also, temp has to be considered. It is always good to have a plan, however, you may end up dissappointed more when that plan doesn't go the way you expected. Soaking new pots is good but depending on the environment spritzing once a wk may be too little or too much water. As for the TINY,TINY critters can u tell the color, shape, or damage they are particularly known for. When I think tiny, I lean less toward mealy bugs because although small they are distiguished and recognizeable when u know what to look for. Scale is the same. Even If u can't see them u can see the "residue" they leave behind. The first two that come to mind when I think visible to the eye but not recognizable to those who haven't experienced it before are:

    1: Spider mites- Residue is recognizable but newbies may assume spiders and not mites. Usually these appear like small, somewhat mobile dots moving around the plant and gathered often in masses around the areas of the plants that have "webs". Difference between these and spiders is that spiders cause minimal damage and eventually move on after their breeding period. Mites can become a uncontrollable problem and affect all of ur plants in time. Colors vary.

    2: Sugar ants- absolutely a nuisance but will not harm ur plant. If anything this becomes an in-sync relationship between the two. The ant feeds from the honey dew or sugars produced by the plant and the plant doesn't produce so much that it gathers in the blooms, down the stem, or drip onto the leaves. When you read stories about people who have liquid substances the lack of helpful insects are usually the cause.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ksriramkumar View Post
    As a a beginner, the temptation for repotting everything is quite high. I would suggest you learn with one orchid see how it shapes up and attempt the others, so that you can learn and correct the mistakes.

    you don't have to flush the plant after soaked in physan.

    I would suggest, you observe the new orchids on how they are potted etc and treat them with a fungicide and bactericide and take it into your collection. some orchids don't like to be repotting and repotting could upset their growth cycle.
    Thanks very much for the advice. At this point in my orchid hobby getting new orchids (and even digging around in the older ones) is akin to a little girl getting a new baby doll... first thing they always do is take all the doll's clothes off, lol.

    I should've mentioned that the order I have coming is for 5 Cattleyas at a discounted group price because they have outgrown their pots and are ready to be repotted. They are in 2 1/2" pots now and I'm mounting all of them on 3" x 5" bark. By mounting them on bark I can place them high above my other orchids where they'll get the light they need without frying my other guys that don't need as much light. Of the other 3 orchids I have coming I need to place 2 in hanging baskets, they prefer to hang pendant and after measuring from the ceiling down I'll have them, again, at a level to meet their light requirements. The third of that group is the easy growing, Dend Kingianum and he'll go in his own rocky mix in a net basket hanging also.

    The conditions in my bathroom/orchid space are a 70f - 80f degree daytime temp and in the summer, I open the window next to them at night to bring it down to mid to low 60's. There's a ceiling fan and the window for air circulation and the humidity is at a constant 65 going up to low/mid 80's twice a day when someone showers. There's a large window with an opaque cover on the lower half, so down low in the bright shade are Miltoniopsis and Phals and above the shade in the brightest indirect light will be the Catts.

    I've repotted two Phals and they're both doing well, this was only a bit less than a month ago but I'm really glad that I did it. One was in a ceramic pot with no drainage and had 4 good roots left after I was done cleaning it up. As a background, (this is in my intro post so I didn't think to mention it here) my mother in law has homes and timeshares that they travel to for several months at a time, so before leaving for a trip/vacation she brought me 5 phal orchids, none of which were blooming and said I could keep them. This was about 6-7months ago. She doesn't mess with them at all after the initial bloom so none of them have been repotted from what they were bought in. I watered them weekly with my other houseplants and boom! 3 of them bloomed for me. That was over a month ago and they're still going and now I'm hooked. I've been reading right and left and now I'm committed and excited to get my little collection going and see how I do with it.

    So, long story longer...I know the 2 Miltoniopsis need to be repotted once a year after blooming and they're both having roots move outside the pot so after these blooms fade I'm moving them from their 3" pots to 4" pots. Of the 4 remaining Phals still in their store set-up, 3 are in 7" baskets with 2orchids in each and they all have roots outside the baskets or weaved through the sides of the baskets. The bark mix is never completely drying out and the sphag is crusty white when it dries on top so they need to be helped. The last one is just a hot mess saveable but it's the rot, fungus mess and it needs help asap. It came to me in a box similar to the baskets but when they all bloomed and I took notice of them and started reading up on culture I decided to dig around in them and I found it in a bag surrounded with sph. moss, the plastic bag has no drainage at all but it has a mess of outside roots so it's time to clean it up and repot it too.

    I've taken some pictures and when the kids are settled down tonight I'll upload them. I think I've decided to leave the Miltoniopsis alone until they're done blooming, the only drawback to that is if these little creatures are harmful I may be chasing my own tail trying to get rid of them. I don't have hundreds of plants like some of you lucky folk do so it wouldn't be that hard to do them all at once. Could I soak the Miltoniopsis (in bloom) and not repot them? That way everything gets rid of the creatures at once?

    Lijun, thanks very much for your thoughts, I plan on cutting the baskets to get the roots out without damaging them so those will go in the garbage and everything else is cheap plastic so I'll just toss it all to be on the safe side. I'm not quite confident yet to invest in ceramic pots, lol.

    Kspalding, thank you again for the help and advice. I'm okay with my plan not going as expected, I have kids, I'm quite well accustomed to the feeling With the temp and humidity I'm thinking a week of just spritzing would be okay?? I only water once a week or longer now but the medium in most are mush so idk with fresh medium? As for the critters, they're black, oval shaped and they don't leave a web or residue that I can tell. I'll try to get one on the white countertop and get a better look at it. The fungus is white and some black on the roots of the one plant. I took pictures in the sunlight so maybe you can tell if it's fungus or from the bugs, yuck. I don't have any liquid or residue gathering on the orchids as far as I can tell, so maybe (hopefully) they're the helpful lil boogers? I have herbs from seed in the bathroom with the orchids right now, they're just in there until they're big enough to put outside without the birds snacking them to death and two of the pots got the white fungus stuff in literally less than a day. I'll take a picture of that too and maybe it will be more recognizable.

    Holy long post...Thanks again for any help, I appreciate it very much! Since I've been bitten by the "orchid bug" I'm just hoping to get everything cleaned up and set-up for the long haul and hopefully share some picts of healthy, happy, blooming plants

  6. #6
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    sunkisd,... your welcome,.. also want to say i feel you about repotting,.. ever since i got into orchids, which is very recent,.. i'm more or less obsessed,.... also i browse a lot of : orchid pot ideas, orchid hanging ideas and such, that surely gives a lot of temptation to change the pot,...
    i think the black one (don't know the english name) is quite dangerous,.. could live inside the bulb,...
    but maybe there are other kinds of black critters on orchids i don't know,..

  7. #7
    sunkisd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunkisd View Post
    The conditions in my bathroom/orchid space are a 70f - 80f degree daytime temp and in the summer, I open the window next to them at night to bring it down to mid to low 60's. There's a ceiling fan and the window for air circulation and the humidity is at a constant 65 going up to low/mid 80's twice a day when someone showers.:
    That was a typo, the highest I can get the humidity is low 70's...not 80's and that's for short periods of time.

  8. #8
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    Sorry this took so long, resizing kinda distorted the pictures but you can still get an idea of what I'm dealing with from them. Some of the pictures are from today and some are from a couple days ago. I'm also going to post my grow list and some "in bloom" pictures elsewhere on the forum and I'll link them in my profile if it's possible.

    Also, I found webs in the yellow Milt but only after misting and the water droplets making them visible. I'm pretty sure all of these guys have at least one type of bug going on. I'm thinking in the two Milts they are spider mites, but since they came from the same grower I'm treating them as if they have the same type of bug. In the Phals the bugs are a bit larger and have a silver coloring, maybe gnats that aren't developed enough to fly yet? Any ideas or help would be great.

    I have physan but am waiting on neem oil and Dr. Bonner's (sp?) peppermint castile soap to arrive before treating all of them. The re-potting supplies and treating supplies should be here in the next couple days. Any advice on saving the "hot mess" purple and white guy (pictures of him are first), treating them all or re-potting/de-basketing is much appreciated as this is still my first rodeo with orchids, so to speak. Thanks!!

    Purple & White Phal ~ This is the plastic bag hidden under Spagh moss, all kinds of fungus going on guy.

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  9. #9
    sunkisd's Avatar
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    Unhappy

    First post is being moderated, after it posts this would make more sense

    Phal Noid #1 - Hasn't Bloomed - Air Roots
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    Last edited by sunkisd; May 22nd, 2014 at 01:03 AM. Reason: missing picture - First post moderated

  10. #10
    sunkisd's Avatar
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    Phal Noid #2 - Lots of new roots. Blooms being different directions are my fault, moved it after spiking before I knew better. Under the moss is a bark mix.
    3 spikes
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