Mold in Orchid Potting Media

Question of the Week:

“Ryan, please help me!! I bought a Phalaenopsis last
Thursday and it’s bloomed out with 7 beautiful blooms and 2 buds remaining. As soon as I got it home I cut off the cellophane and set it on an end table about 2 ft from an east facing window.

Orchid Mold in Bark

I haven’t watered it or done anything else. Now its entire potting mix on top and the roots are covered in mold. So far the blooms are still looking good…

…What should I do? I love it and I want to save it! I took the clear plastic pot out of the glazed pot it’s in and set it on a little bed of pebbles, with no water in it for now, and set a small fan gently blowing on it this morning before I left for work. Most of the roots inside the pot look green but there are several places where the roots look black. I did not take it out of the plastic pot…I didn’t want to upset the blooms. Can you tell me what to do please? Thanks so much!”

– Deborah Gilmore, Columbus, MS


Ryan’s Recommendation:

Hi Deborah! :-)

First… Take a deep breath :-) Mold on orchid bark is something many orchid growers deal with. You’ll want to read this post carefully because it can spread quite rapidly from the bark to all of the roots where it can suffocate the plant and kill it. If the blooms on your plant have not been affected, then you still have time to treat your orchid before severe damage is caused.

(Don’t worry, I’ll walk you through exactly what to do in this post…)

Unfortunately, we sometimes bring orchids with early stages of mold growth into our homes without even knowing. This is why it is crucial you inspect your orchid well before purchasing it—look for any signs of pests and disease. Look under the leaves, dig into the potting mix a bit if you can, and examine the roots if potted in a clear pot.

Of course, mold could be hiding deep within the pot, or pest eggs hiding in the plant may not have hatched yet (thus no visible damage), which is why we want to always remember to quarantine all new orchids for at least 3 weeks.

What Should You Do Once You Find Mold?

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