Friday, May 18, 2012

Fungus growing in psychopsis media

Mold growing in orchid media

     I noticed fungus growing all over my psychopsis media, which is a sign that the media had been spending too much time moist and with insufficient air circulation.  I needed to immediately treat the orchid roots with some fungicide and repot into better conditions.
     The orchid had very poor root health when I first bought it.  The month since then has not improved the conditions.  When I removed the orchid from its pot, most of the roots were clearly rotten, and I aggressively trimmed off all but a very few still-firm roots.  I wanted to make sure that I wouldn't bring more decaying root material into the new pot.

Few roots left on Psychopsis Mariposa after trimming off rotten roots

    Next I wanted to treat the plant with some sort of fungicide.  I did not have any commercial chemicals on hand, so I looked online for various home recipes.  One very helpful page I found was Rays' Home Remedies, which among other things, recommended using cinnamon for its antifungal properties.  I took about a teaspoon's worth of cinnamon, mixed it with water and microwaved the mixture until near boiling.  The result was a thick mucous orange liquid, which I diluted with some more water to cool it down.  I let my orchids roots soak in that for 20-30 minutes.

Orchid soaking in cinnamon water

     After the soak, I potted the orchid into the smallest pot which would fit its roots.  In this case it was the 3" clay pot which until recently housed my soph cernua.  I used fresh coarse bark as the media.  The small pot and the coarse media mean that the roots dry out daily now, which should be a lot healthier for the orchid. 

Psychopsis Mariposa 'Mountain' growing spike in 3" pot

     Will the orchid be able to successfully flower despite the poor root health?  I hope so.  The pseudobulbs are still plump, so the plant itself is not yet dehydrated from lack of roots.  I really have no experience with the psychopsis growth habit to be able to guess how much 'reserve' it has to tide it over until new roots grow.

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