How may orchid root rot be treated? That is a question with a solution, which is provided in this article.
Among lovers of houseplants, orchids are a must-have choice. They would adore having these sophisticated beauties around because of their extravagant, long-lasting, vivid blooms. Others would believe that caring for orchids would be a laborious challenge, but this is not necessarily the case.
It won’t be difficult for you to take care of orchids if you grasp the fundamentals.
Epiphytes, or simply air plants, are orchids. That means they prefer to grow above the earth, possibly on top of other plants or objects, as opposed to being soil-bound. They still need nutrition and water to grow, though.
One of the most frequent issues that most orchid plant parents deal with is root rot, which frequently happens as a result of giving the plant too much water. You have arrived to the right place if you’re looking for information on how to save your orchids from this dreadful disease.
How to Save an Orchid with Root Rot?
Yes, you can prevent your plants from dying if you take quick action during the early stages of the disease. Root rot is a disease that, as its name suggests, causes the roots of plants to rot and deteriorate.
If you don’t give your plant an emergency core, the disease may kill it in a short amount of time. Unless you grow orchids in transparent plastic containers, the roots of orchids in terra-cotta or ceramic pots are probably not visible.
As a result, the roots are kept concealed inside the potting soil. Because of this, root rot disease is typically not detected beforehand. Check your plant’s root system first if you think it might be sick. If you have an orchid in an opaque pot, you should remove some of the growing media to show the roots.
You still have a chance to preserve your plant if you see that the roots are greener than usual or turning brown, but if you wait until the roots are soft and black, the disease has already advanced to the point where saving your plant would needs a lot of labor.
Therefore, the most important thing is to start corrective measures as soon as the sickness is identified.
Orchid Root Rot Causes
The primary causes of orchid root rot include waterlogged roots brought on by inadequate drainage, excessive watering, and also a lack of aeration. If your orchid pot doesn’t allow for easy drainage, water or moisture may stay there for a very long time.
Similarly, root rot won’t be prevented if you consistently water your orchids more than they actually need. Even though orchids thrive in damp environments, too much water might stunt their growth.
Poor aeration is another cause of root rot. The root system will suffer if there isn’t enough room between the root system and the growing medium for gas exchange with the air. If the growing media is so small, this is feasible.
The amount of unfilled space inside the pot will decrease. Additionally, this will once more obstruct water drainage, which leads to water retention near the root zone.
The root system of your plant might readily become infected by fungal pathogens once the aforementioned conditions are satisfied. In actuality, a number of fungi are the cause of root rot.
Typically, fungi and their spores can be found everywhere in nature. If you don’t make a sterile room for your plants, you won’t be able to get rid of them, yet growing orchids at home rather than in a lab make this impractical. They begin to multiply as soon as they touch down on suitable substrates. There will surely be repercussions if this occurs.
There is still a chance of contracting root rot if you have an infected orchid plant (other than one with root rot). Root rot can occasionally result from diseases like stem rot. Even though these diseases first emerge on the orchid’s aerial parts, they can eventually travel to the root zone and cause disease.
Root rot symptoms in orchids
A healthy orchid root has a fleshy core that is greenish in color and is encased in a velamen layer that is silver or whitish in color. Roots are typically dry and hard. You may have noticed that most of the roots of orchids take on a pale green tint after being watered. That is entirely typical.
This occurs as a result of the velamen absorbing water. Once they are dried, the roots will resume their normal appearance. But if you find that the roots are consistently turning a dark green hue, then that does mean your orchid has root rot.
If you don’t act right away, the roots will start to progressively turn brown, then black, and become soft within a few weeks. Actually, the first sign of root rot is dark green roots. You will undoubtedly see the effects if you continue to leave the plant unattended.
Keep in mind that symptoms may not be obvious at first. You need to keep an eye on your orchid. You won’t be able to spot the sickness early on because roots remain buried. In any case, at a later stage of the infection, the orchid will show obvious evidence of the infection by appearing wilted and yellowish.
You will see changes in the plant’s aerial portions as the disease progresses. The plant will exhibit signs of dryness and nutritional shortage since its roots will no longer be able to absorb nutrients and water.
Curling and Yellowing of the Leaves
The leaves of a healthy orchid are strong and green. The leaves will turn mushy, yellow, and curled as a result of the root rot, though. The plant will struggle to survive, which will cause the leaves to turn yellow as biochemical components deteriorate.
The orchid will not be able to meet its energy and water needs since its roots are unable to absorb nutrients and water from its growing medium. As a result, the leaves wilt, droop and eventually fall off.
Flower buds shedding
You can see the sick orchid plant dropping its newly created flower buds. This occurs because the diseased plant will no longer be able to feed the buds, causing them to simply fall off the spike.
Slow plant growth
As was previously said, roots lack the capacity to absorb enough nutrients from the soil to support growth. You will observe your orchid struggling to grow as a result. It’s possible that applying fertilizer won’t assist you recover your plant unless you’ve given it the right care to begin with.
Treatment for Orchid Root Rot
If you don’t want to watch your infected orchids die, you must act right away to treat them. As was already indicated, in order to save your plants, it is crucial to treat the plant when the disease is still in its early stages. To save your plant if you don’t know how to handle root rot, use these suggestions.
1. Take the plant out of the pot.
Don’t wait to remove the plant from the pot once you see the color of the roots of your orchid plant has changed. You are aware that your plant has been sitting in excess water for long enough for the disease to develop. The substrate may also have a significant pathogenic load.
Be aware that applying disease treatments and continuing to grow the plant in the same potting soil will not help you get rid of the condition.
Remove your sick plant from the pot with care. To remove the potting media and remove the plant without harming its roots, use a blunt object.
2. Cleaning The Root
After removing the plant, gently remove all the soil around the roots by removing the root ball with your fingers. Then, for subsequent treatments, keep your orchid plant on a spotless surface.
3. Maintain Your Tools
It is important to stop the disease from spreading from unhealthy roots to infected roots. Therefore, you must clip your plants’ rotting roots. Cleaning your utensils is essential before using to avoid cross-contamination.
Your pruning shears and other tools can be cleaned with Lysol, phenol, or any other common household cleaner, rubbing alcohol, or bleach. If not, simply place your tools briefly in a pot of boiling water. By doing this, you may get rid of any dangerous microorganisms that might be on your gardening equipment and create issues later.
4. Remove rotten roots
The removal of infected roots comes next. Cut out any plant roots that are mushy and black. To do this, use a sturdy pair of gardening shears or scissors. After every cut, sanitize your scissors to prevent the spread of infections. To get rid of any fungi clinging to the cutting instrument, you can just spray the sterilizing mixture on it.
5. Correctly Remove Rotten Roots
Verify once more that you have removed all of the problematic roots from your plants. The plant’s roots should not come in contact with them. Because they won’t damage any other plants in your yard, properly dispose of those roots.
6. Use Fungicides
It is commonly recognized that fungicides can successfully manage fungal infections. As a result, you can use a suitable fungicide to treat your plant and combat any spores and lingering fungi.
Early disease detection allows you to employ preventative fungicides like Terrazole, Turban, or liquid copper fungicide. In any case, if the disease was not detected early, the application of protectant-type fungicides may not be successful since the disease has already advanced.
Therefore, using a systemic fungicide like Subdue or Aliette in such a situation is recommended. However, the use of the contact fungicides Physan 20, Dithane M-45, and Captan is also advised. When applying the fungicide, you should do it in accordance with the instructions on the label.
7. Keep Dry
Once the fungicide has been applied, keep the plant on a spotless surface. Place the plant on a piece of paper or a piece of fabric and let it to dry. The length of time it takes for the soil to dry out can vary depending on the weather.
When the environment is hot and dry, it will dry faster. Replanting your orchid is necessary if you believe the plant’s roots are dry.
8. Get One New Pot.
If at all feasible, keep your plant in a brand-new, spotless pot. You can use the same pot if you don’t have a fresh one.
If you want to reuse the same pot, be careful to completely disinfect it. You can clean your pot with the same disinfectant that you used to clean your gardening tools.
It would be preferable if you choose a new pot that was significantly bigger than the old one. You will soon experience a similar situation if the pot is insufficient for your plant due to poor aeration inside the pot.
It’s crucial to utilize a free-draining pot for orchids. You might choose a pot with slots or holes to encourage air circulation and drainage.
9. Plant Repotting
The potting material should first be added until it completely covers the pot’s bottom. The potting media is typically poured into the bottom third of the pot. Place your orchid in the pot, then gradually add the potting soil. Set the medium in place around the root zone using a chopstick or your fingertips.
Use a different potting medium than you did before. By combining permeable yet sturdy ingredients like coco chips, fine fir bark, perlite, and wooden charcoal, you may make your own potting mix. In addition, you can buy an orchid-specific potting mix.
To maintain the orchid roots happily and healthy, it is most necessary to strive to offer a substrate that favors drainage and good aeration.
10. Put In A Sunny Location
Maintain your orchid because it receives a lot of bright indirect light. Avoid opening the pot in the direction of the sun to avoid stressing and burning the plant. Place the plant close to a window. Your orchids will thrive if they are kept in windows that face east or north since they provide the plant with adequate soft skylight.
Windows that face west or south should not be used since the plant may be exposed to strong sunlight. Make sure the plant is not damaged by the sun if you keep it on a windowsill.
11. Appropriate Watering Routine
If you recall, overwatering frequently led to root rot. As a result, you must follow a suitable watering plan to stop the disease from spreading. When it comes to watering orchids, it is advised to do so only when the growing media is almost dry.
Simply check the soil’s moisture before watering your orchid. Make sure the roots don’t spend a lot of time in damp soil. Generally speaking, watering your orchids every seven to ten days is acceptable.
How Can Recently Planted Orchids Be Treated For Orchid Root Rot?
There are several crucial factors to take into account when determining the cause of root rot in recently planted orchids.
Adapt to the growing environment
If your recently planted orchid displays root rot signs, the potting soil is not the right kind for the plant. The potting media for orchids shouldn’t be too dense because this inhibits free drainage and air circulation.
Ordinary potting soils, which are dense and have a tendency to retain more water, are not ideal for orchids. They won’t work for epiphytes like orchids even if they are appropriate for soil-bound plants.
You can control the sickness by adding some elements that make enough air spaces in the medium. Verify the component sizes you used to create the medium. If they are too small, they will be tightly packed and won’t leave enough room within the container to breathe, endangering your orchid.
Modify the orchid pot
In addition to the substrate, your orchid’s illness may occasionally be caused by the pot. The pot needs to be a reasonable size and have holes for drainage.
The pot won’t be able to hold enough potting soil and water, obviously, if it is too small. As a result, you might need to water the orchid regularly, which could make it sick. To repot your orchids, use a pot that is 1 to 2 inches wider than the previous one.
Give Your Orchid A Proper Place
Place your orchid container in an area with plenty of light and sufficient ventilation. Orchids require strong light to remain healthy. So, avoid hiding your orchid planter in dim or shadowy areas. Always provide your plant a sunny spot to grow in order to keep harmful diseases at bay.
Windy locales guarantee adequate ventilation around the facility. This does not need you to put your plant in an area with a lot of wind. Place your orchid as close to a window as possible. The area around the orchid shouldn’t have a lack of oxygen.
The health of plants is also promoted by warm temperatures. The warmth will make it simple for the potting medium to dry. That will assist you in managing the illness as well.
Cinnamon-Root Rot in Orchids
Cinnamon makes a fantastic alternative to synthetic fungicides for individuals who don’t want to use them on their plants. Root rot is only one of the diseases that cinnamon’s antibacterial qualities have been shown to help manage.
The cut ends of the roots should be covered with a little coating of cinnamon powder. In any case, never use cinnamon on healthy roots because it can cause the roots to become extremely dry.
Should I Trim My Orchid’s Dead Roots?
You can cut off the dead roots from your orchid if you are certain of it. You can clip the dead roots when repotting the orchid unless your plant has brown rot or black rot. To save your plant and prevent the disease from getting worse, you should never hesitate to clip the dead roots if your plant has root rot.
Make careful you always use sterile gardening shears when trimming the roots. Moreover, when trimming the roots, take care not to harm the plant’s stem or healthy roots.
Can Peroxide Treat Root Rot?
The simplest response to this query is that peroxide does indeed prevent root rot. Remove your plant from the pot and remove all of the soil before applying the peroxide. Leave only healthy roots in the plant after removing all the rotting and dead ones. Thoroughly apply 3% hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to the root system.
A common antifungal agent is hydrogen peroxide. By tearing down their cell walls, it destroys fungal cells. In addition, peroxides can overoxygenate the roots. This will speed up the orchid’s recovery.
Prior to application, it is essential to measure the peroxide solution’s concentration. In fact, treating your plant with 3% H2O2 is optimal. Higher levels could be dangerous. Dilution is therefore necessary before usage.
Air plants are orchids. In the natural, they develop on the trunks of trees rather than the ground. Orchid roots prefer to dwell in the air rather than bury themselves in the ground. These aerial roots take nutrients and moisture from the air and assimilate them.
Aerial roots, in addition to leaves, also contribute to photosynthesis, which helps plants obtain the energy they need to thrive. In order to protect itself from strong winds and rain, the orchid uses some aerial roots to cling to the plant. However, after growing orchids at home, we must mount or pot them.
The wind currents in rainforests frequently carry a lot of nutrient components, which the orchids may easily exploit for growth and development. When orchids are cultivated inside, however, this situation is different because there aren’t as many nutrients in the air.
Therefore, if there are only aerial roots, orchids, whether they are cultivated indoors or outdoors, won’t take up adequate nutrients from the environment. In order to provide the orchids with enough nutrients for growth and development, we must pot them.
What does orchid root rot look like?
Your orchid’s root system can be seen when you remove it from the ground. The plant most likely has root rot if the roots are mushy to the touch and appear dark green, dark brown, or even black. Infected plants will also exhibit stunted growth, yellowing of the leaves, and falling of lower leaves and flower buds.
What Kind Of Potting Mix Is Best For Orchids?
The optimum medium for orchids is one that encourages free draining, and aeration, and also supplies nutrients for growth. Ordinarily, orchids prefer to be rooted in thick media. Such a medium is simply made by combining perlite, bark fines, and peat moss in equal amounts.
The component sizes should be adequate to provide for plenty of air holes between the medium and the roots. The ideal pH range for orchids is between 5.5 and 6.5 since they prefer slightly acidic soil. Such high acidity level aids in the dissolution of nutrients, making them easier for plants to absorb.