Similar to how people burn when they are exposed to the direct sun for too long, Orchids will burn as well. You will notice sun damage as yellow/brown/white spots on the leaves of your Orchid. The leaves may also begin to bubble. Sun damage most likely occurs in the summer when your Orchid is placed near a window with no protection from the strong mid-day sun. Although it certainly isn’t good for your Orchid, it should be able to recover from some sun damage if it is moved to a spot with less direct sunlight.
You will notice cold damage as browning or wilting of roots and leaves, or rapid wilting of blooms. Cold damage can start to occur when temperatures drop below 15 degrees Celsius, or when your Orchid sits near a cold draft. Cold damage can cause your Orchid’s blooms to wilt and drop, but if you move your Orchid to a warmer spot, away from any drafts, you should be able to salvage the blooms that are left, and keep your Orchid alive.
Physical root damage to a few roots hanging out of the pot normally is not too concerning. Your Orchid should have a strong enough root system inside its pot to recover.
Water damage to your Orchid’s roots can have serious consequences. Usually water damage is caused by letting your Orchid sit in water for too long. This causes the roots to “drown” and begin to rot. Once rotting, your Orchid’s roots can no longer absorb moisture and nutrients. If your Orchid does not have enough healthy roots, it will not be able to support itself, and will very quickly wilt and drop its blooms. If caught in time, your Orchid may recover, and begin to grow new roots. It is important to allow your Orchid to thoroughly dry out when it has been left sitting in water.
Physical leaf damage can have serious consequences. Physical damage to one of the small bottom leaves is not too concerning. But, significant damage to one or more of the large upper leaves is serious and tough to recover from. The upper leaves of your Orchid are largely responsible for supporting the plant. Without them, your Orchid will not be able to support its blooms or new growth. Damage to the leaves usually occurs during transport if the plant is being mishandled, or simply by accident.
Significant damage to your Orchid’s stems can cause the stem to die and its blooms to wilt and drop. Damage to the stems usually occurs during transport if the plant is being mishandled, or simply by accident. Although your blooms will fall off, your plant will still stay alive if you continue to care for it.
Typical causes for dropping of buds are:
- The Orchid is too close to a heat source or AC draft: too much airflow of a different temperature than room temperature (a door opening and closing to the outside, or draft from an open window or AC vent)
- The Orchid is too close to ripening fruit. Ripening fruit is a source of ethylene, a natural plant aging hormone in gas form. Ripening cut flowers like roses can have a similar effect. The slightest exposure to ethylene could be harmful to the buds of an Orchid.
- The Orchid has been exposed to temperatures that are just ok for the existing flowers to stay, but too cold for the young buds... (this could have happened in transition from the truck to the store, from the store to your car, etc)
- General lack of care – insufficient light, not watering for multiple weeks, or overwatering.
Spiders – most spiders are not harmful to your Orchid, or to you. In fact, in our greenhouse they help protect our Orchids from other bugs. We introduce harmless, beneficial insects to our crops as part of our biological crop protections system. Our Orchids may have some residual spider webs on them. These can be easily wiped off. Occasionally a small spider may travel with your Orchid from our greenhouse to the store, and from the store to your home. This is an acceptable consequence of growing Orchids chemical free!
Mealy-bug: our Orchids are 100% guaranteed mealy bug free. We grow our Orchids from the youngest stages, all in house and we don’t bring any plants in grown by third-parties. Our hygiene protocols are very strict and our production processes don’t allow for mealy bugs to have a chance of entering our facilities. However: the residual spider webs from our biological crop protection programs sometimes clump up to a white fuzzy clump that is sometimes confused for Mealy-bugs. These small white fuzzy clumps are thus not moving, not alive, and can simply be wiped off.
Although there are types of parasitic funguses, many are saprotrophic, which just means that they feed on dead organic matter. This means that they feed on dead roots, decaying potting material, insects etc. and then release the material back into the soil in a way that can be used by the plant as food.
White fungus on bark – this fungus often originates in the bark itself and may begin to thrive in warm and humid conditions. It is not harmful to the plant. It can however compete with the orchid roots for water and nutrients - when it grows excessive. The good news is: Your Orchid can handle drought better than the fungus! So, one way to kill this fungus is to keep the Orchid dry for a few weeks.
Mold on the bamboo sticks – once in a while a bit of mold can form on the base of the bamboo stick holding your Orchid stable. This happens due to moisture in the pot. This is of no concern. If you like you can easily wipe this off.