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Orchid Article



Orchid Problems:

Diseases - Viral


If you are growing more than one orchid plant, it’s important to monitor them for diseases because they can spread from plant to plant and kill all of your plants. Orchid diseases can be either Viral or Fungal, and the viruses are not common. There are about 26 different viral diseases but unlike funguses, viruses are invisible and it may not be obvious that your plant is sick.



Orchid Virus



Viruses are not transmitted from one plant to another but spread via sap to sap contact. This happens in the case of an aphid infestation or through using un-sterilized tools.


While the symptoms are subtle at first, they tend to mimic other orchid diseases. Notice a slight yellow or whitish streaking and later maybe some brown pitting on the leaf? In more severe cases the leaf may bleach out or hold a lot of brown pitting. The underside will be brown and black streaking and the damage might appear to engulf the leaf rather than stay on the surface.


Unfortunately, no cure for orchid virus is available today, and the plant should be thrown away before it can infect other plants. There are virus home testing kits available to be absolutely sure. Avoid orchid virus with some simple rules of thumb for your next orchid purchase:

  • Choose plants that look healthy and skip all marked down ones

  •  When cutting flowers or leaves always use sterile cutting tools

  • When dividing a plant, sterilize tools before and after

  • Use clean latex gloves when re-potting or dividing plants. Change gloves for each plant

  • Water orchids individually – do not use one bucket of water for soaking multiple plants

  • Repot orchids individually – place plant and growing medium on newspaper and do not reuse the paper for the next plant


There are really just a few factors involved in orchid care. Once these are addressed, even orchid types requiring very specific care are not as daunting. A successful grower of orchids is a good housekeeper – picking up dead leaves, removing dead plants, and isolating sick ones. Adequate bench room for each orchid plant is also an advisable precaution.


Esther Smith, author

No hard and fast rules can be set down for the beginner to follow when it comes to orchid growing. Indoors, the amount of each element in the light-heat-moisture-air formula will vary according to seasons, experiences, and varieties. There’s much to learn and you can find it all here=>