Common Orchid Diseases: What It Means For Your Orchid’s Health

Is your orchid sick? There are many different reasons why your orchid may not be in great health, and a few symptoms can be signs of a much larger overall problem…

Orchid Leaves YellowCymbidium Mosaic Virus and Odontoglossum Ringspot Virus are two different types of orchid diseases. Cymbidium Mosaic Virus appears on the flower of the orchid as streaking or discoloration, and Odontoglossum Ringspot Virus shows upon the leaves as spotting, discoloration, and distortion. Both of these viral infections have no known cure, so if you detect one of these viruses in your orchids you need to get rid of the plant as soon as possible so that the virus doesn’t spread to any of your other plants.

Orchid Leaves YellowBacterial Brown Spot is a bacterial disease that will appear on the orchid leaves as a small blister-like spot that will eventually turn brown and produce a bacterial liquid. This is a disease that needs to be detected quite early because it can kill a plant very rapidly. Once you notice the spot you should get a sterile instrument and cut out the infected area. Once the area is cut you need to spray the area with Physan 20 or Phyton 27. If neither of these solutions are readily available, then you can use either cinnamon or Listerine as an alternative. If this disease is not detected early, then it may have spread to the crown of the orchid and this almost always leads to orchid death.

Orchid Leaves YellowBlack Rot is an extremely contagious disease and turns parts of the orchid black. The disease usually starts on the leaves, shoots, or roots and can spread quickly, particularity when the temperature and humidity are high. To treat black rot, remove the infected tissue with a sterile tool, and spray a fungicide on the area you’ve cut.

Orchid Leaves YellowBotrytis is a fungus that shows up as little black or light brown spots on the orchid’s flowers. To help prevent botrytis from spreading, always remove wilted blooms or those that have already fallen off of the plant. You will want to remove any affected flowers using a sterile instrument and then spray the area where you’ve removed the bloom with a fungicide. Botrytis is contracted through leaving moisture on the flowers, usually after watering. The droplets of water left on the flowers encourage the growth of Botrytis.

Orchid Leaves YellowCollar Rot, also known as Southern Blight, is a rapid collapse and rotting of the roots and lower parts of the leaves. The base of the orchid will turn a creamy yellow color and the other affected tissue turns brown. White fungal growth can sometimes be detected growing on the stems, pseudobulb, and leaves. If this disease is detected early enough, you can cut the affected areas with a sterile instrument and spray with a fungicide. This fungus thrives in a warm and humid environment, so in order to prevent this disease you can keep your plant in a slightly cooler, drier spot after you treat to help reduce the likelihood of further spread. If the collar rot is a severe case and is widespread throughout the entire plant, it is next to impossible to treat.

When trying to save your diseased plant, it is very important to never cut directly into the infected area and then cut into a healthy area, as this will spread the disease throughout the plant. Orchids are fairly tough plants and can be revived from many different problems as long as those problems are detected early enough. By inspecting your orchid periodically, you will be able to detect those problems early on and treat the issue at its source.

Next Steps: Where do you go from here?

A couple options:

#1 – More Free Orchid Tips!
At a minimum, I strongly recommending signing up for our orchid tips newsletter (it’s free!). That’ll give you some additional (more detailed) step-by-step tips you can start using with your orchids right away…

#2 – Get Access to ALL My Articles on Orchids…
If you’d like to learn everything you need to know about caring for ALL types of orchids we also have something called the Orchids Made Easy Green Thumb Club.

The Green Thumb Club includes a number of different benefits – including weekly lessons on all different orchid care topics delivered to you in a special, password-protected members area. You also get the opportunity to get YOUR actual questions answered in my weekly “Ask The Orchid Guy” column, which you can check out here.

The Green Thumb Club costs less than a meal at McDonald’s – and ALSO includes all sorts of ADDITIONAL benefits, including exclusive discounts at orchid suppliers from 20-40% off as well access to our “orchid diagnosis tool” which helps you identify what problem might be plaguing your plant.

Because the club is backed by a full 100% money-back guarantee for a full 30 days, if after checking it out you decide that it’s not for you or that you didn’t get value you out of what you learned – no problem! Simply send us an email to let me know, and you’ll receive a fast and courteous refund. Put it this way: If you’re not happy, I’m not happy!

(By the way, this link here will give you access to 50% off the cost of membership. A little “gift” for reading this article all the way to the end :-))

All my best,


Ryan “The Orchid Guy” :-)

IMPORTANT: To learn everything you need to know about caring for your orchids, if you haven’t already I strongly recommend signing up for the “Orchid Care Tips & Secrets Newsletter” my wife and I publish by clicking here.

It’s completely free – and the best part? You can even choose the type of information you’d like to receive (reblooming tips, basics of orchid care, etc.) Join over 20,000 fellow orchid enthusiasts young and old and sign up for our free orchid care newsletter today! :-)

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