Unhealthy Orchid Roots: Diseases, Treatment, Prevention

Unhealthy Orchid Roots

If the roots of orchids begin to blacken, then the owner of the plant needs to take urgent measures to save the flower. Otherwise, it will soon completely rot. First, dots appear on the roots, which then move to the stems. After that, the whole orchid turns black – at this stage, it will be difficult to save it.

Prevention of diseases in Orchid after purchase

Even if after the purchase of an orchid no visible signs of the disease were detected, it is necessary to isolate it from the rest of the flowers for up to 1 month, during which it is necessary to monitor its condition.

During this period, you need to closely monitor the orchid. And it is advisable to soak it for 15 – 30 minutes in Fitosporin, which fights many diseases and is an excellent means of preventing them.

It is recommended to place a new orchid in a different room. If it is not possible, you should put the pot with it as far as possible from other plants. Read also How To Care For Orchids When Flowers Die?

What do unhealthy orchid roots look like?

Here is this picture of unhealthy orchid roots look like.

What Do Unhealthy Orchid Roots Look Like
unhealthy orchid roots look like

Why are my orchid roots dying? Most Common Root Diseases

The most common root diseases are divided into 3 types.

  1. Viral diseases. Such a disease completely affects the plant, and small stripes and spots appear on the surface of the roots. In order to preserve other plants at home, it is necessary to destroy the affected orchid (burn). Such diseases cannot be treated.
  2. Bacterial diseases. Ulcers appear on the roots of the plant, from which liquid flows. The roots soften. In this case, it is necessary to remove the affected parts and treat the plant with a fungicidal preparation. It is necessary to strictly adhere to the instructions on the package, do not exceed the dosage. This procedure will need to be repeated several times to consolidate the positive effect and speedy recovery.
  3. Fungal diseases. They are characterized by a yellow/pink bloom on the roots. Fungal diseases occur due to abundant watering of the orchid or stagnation of liquid. To solve the problem, it is necessary to remove the infected roots and treat the sections with ash powder, charcoal, cinnamon or hydrogen peroxide 3%.

Orchid Root infections

Signs of bacterial disease are many darkened roots and leaves.

Bacterial infections can provoke various spots on the roots and leaves in plants, as well as cause wet rot.

The reasons are high humidity, stagnation of liquid in the ground and high room temperature. Bacteria can enter the plant through various injuries, wounds and stomata on the leaves.

It can also become infected from another plant if it was not isolated on time. An orchid can become infected through water if several plants are watered with the same water or through a substrate containing bacteria.

Various insects, which are carriers of various diseases, can become the cause of infection with a bacterial infection.

Bacteria develop very rapidly and destroy plant tissues. The earlier treatment is started, the more chances for the plant to recover completely.

At the first symptoms, it is necessary to fence off the diseased flower and disinfect the surface that is adjacent to the pot.

Drugs for treatment

The damaged areas are cut off with a pre-disinfected tool, the cut sites are treated with brilliant green, iodine, cinnamon or hydrogen peroxide. After the wounds have dried, you can treat the plant with a copper-containing bactericide, fungicide.

If spots appear at the base of the stem, it is necessary to remove the plant from the substrate, cut off the damaged parts at the root and stems. And also treat the cut sites with a disinfectant and dry a little. 

Then treat with a drug that is designed to fight infectious diseases and bacteria.

Drugs for treatment – “Fundazol”, “Fitosporin”, “Trichodermin”, “Baktofit”, “Gamair”, “Green Soap”, etc.

You must strictly follow the instructions on the package and do not exceed the dosage of the drug.

You want to know What is Orchid Keiki Paste?

Varieties of mold on the Orchids roots and in the ground

Mold On The Orchids Roots

Mold on orchid roots occurs when the room is too hot or humid. Abundant watering, frequent spraying also leads to the appearance of mold.

And also often mold occurs if the plant stands near a stream of warm air from an air conditioner that is turned on for heating the room.
Sometimes the mushroom can be brought home directly from the flower shop if the plant has been watered frequently to improve its appearance.

White mold can often be seen on the roots, which is caused by frequent watering in a poorly ventilated area. Also, stagnation of moisture in the soil contributes to the appearance of white fungus on the roots and in the substrate.

In the fight against mold, it is enough to change the substrate to a more aerated one and ventilate the room more often.

Blue mold also occurs due to high humidity, too frequent watering, or the presence of spores in the bark that have grown during further watering of the plant.

Changing the substrate and watering regime is necessary to further prevent blue mold.

There is another type of fungus in the form of small white balls that are in the ground. It is often called “Snow Fungus” as it looks like grains of snow.

This type of fungus also occurs due to waterlogging. It grows rapidly. It does not harm the orchid itself, but it can take nutrients from the soil. Therefore, it is better to get rid of it. It is necessary to change the soil and treat the plant with antifungal drugs. And of course, change the watering frequency.

Do not confuse “Snow Mushroom” with granular fertilizers, which also have the form of balls. 

Manufacturers often add it to the soil for better plant growth and development.

This type of fertilizer has a prolonged effect and will not harm the flower in any way. Some orchids live long and some are not How Long Do Phalaenopsis Orchids Live?

The consequences of fungal infection for a plant

If the mold was found on the plant in the early stages of its development, then it is easy to remove it from the stems and leaves. If the owner of the plant does not do anything, then the fungal infection will affect the entire flower, which will lead to its disease, drying of the roots. As a result, the plant may die.

If the fungus has infected the roots of the plant, then the situation becomes more complicated. Mold destroys the root shell, which weakens the orchid.

How do you get rid of mold on orchid roots?

  1. remove the plant from the substrate;
  2. using warm water (30-35 degrees), rinse the root well (especially the affected areas of the plant);
  3. prepare a weak solution of the fungicide (1/4 or 1/6 of the concentration prescribed on the package); Fundazol (for 1 liter of water – 2 g of the drug)
  4. soak the roots and stems of the orchid for 15 minutes.

You can also use the microbiological preparation “Fitosporin”, which is intended for the treatment of bacterial and fungal diseases. You can treat the plant with green soap or vitriol solution. These funds also have a positive effect.

It is necessary to repeat the treatment at least 4 times with an interval of 5 – 7 days.

It is recommended to get rid of moldy soil. Before planting the orchid in the renewed substrate, the soil should be soaked in boiling water, leaving it for 15 minutes. Then you should wait until it is completely dry, and then fill it with a container for the subsequent transplantation of the plant.

It is necessary to put tree bark or 3 pre-crushed activated carbon tablets into the substrate.

After the orchid is planted in a new substrate, you need to refrain from watering it for 4-5 days. As a result, the damaged areas of the plant will heal quickly, new problem areas will not appear.

What not to do

For the period of treatment and rehabilitation, orchids are unacceptable:

  • excess moisture;
  • abundant use of chemicals (there is a risk of causing burns to the plant);
  • finding the plant in direct sunlight.

Prevention of fungal diseases in Orchids

It is better to carry out preventive measures every month than to treat the plant later.

To prevent mold in pots, follow these tips:

  1. The pot must have a drainage system, and it is advisable to add large expanded clay to the bottom of the pot.
  2. Once a month it is necessary to water the flower with a weak solution of potassium permanganate, “Fitosporin” or 3% hydrogen peroxide diluted in water (2 tablespoons per 1 liter of water).
  3. Sharp temperature drops are unacceptable – they risk leading to the formation of fungal colonies both on the orchid and on the ground.
  4. It is helpful to loosen the orchid soil from time to time so that more oxygen flows into it.
  5. To prevent the occurrence of fungus, it is necessary to water the orchid with a solution of citric acid 1 time every 14 days (for 1 glass of water – 0.5 tsp. Of the product).
  6. To prevent the penetration of spores into the substrate, it is necessary to lay out a dry citrus peel on the soil surface for 2 days.
  7. Leaving a clove of garlic in moist soil can quickly and easily get rid of the fungus in it.

At the slightest sign of disease, the plants must be treated immediately. Otherwise, there is a risk of death and infection of other plants.

Black Orchid roots

Black roots are often observed in orchids. If by pressing on the root, the owner breaks the fabric or hears a crunching sound, it means that the root has died. With timely treatment of the disease, there is a chance to prevent the death of the entire orchid.

Why are my orchid roots turning black?

The death of the root system occurs due to the following circumstances:

  • great age;
  • infection (fungi, bacteria);
  • too abundant watering;
  • lack of light, moisture;
  • violation of the rules of leaving.

Dots and spots on the roots

Black spots and dots of the plant indicate fungal infection. At the same time, many growers do not notice the first signs of the disease.

Blackness at the base

Usually the orchid rots at the base if it is in a cold room. Orchids do not tolerate low temperatures – with a long stay in such conditions, they develop black rot. Other causes are plant diseases.

Blackness of root tips

Orchid root tips begin to dry out and turn black under the following circumstances:

  1. a high concentration of fertilizer is used;
  2. too hard water is used for irrigation;
  3. the grower miscalculated the dose of plant growth stimulants.

It is necessary to place the pot with it under a stream of warm water, and then rinse it several times. Then soak in Fitosporin for 30 minutes.

Root rot

Rotting roots of a plant indicate that it is getting too much moisture. In this case, it is necessary to reduce the amount of liquid used for irrigation. With insufficient light and abundant watering, orchid roots often rot.

Another reason is an infectious disease, to get rid of which it is necessary to use antibacterial agents.

Roots dry

With insufficient watering and hot climates, the roots of the orchid begin to dry out and die off.

Another reason is a natural process, since the roots do not live forever. Life expectancy is 2 – 3 years. The orchid dries some roots and grows young roots.

It is necessary to transplant the orchid every 2 to 3 years and cut off any dried roots.

If the orchid is located next to the battery and its roots are blown through by hot air currents or if there is insufficient humidity in the room, then the roots wrinkle and dry out.

Dark Green algae on the roots, in the ground and in the pot

The reason for the appearance of dark green algae is the bark that is part of the soil mixture. It contains nutrients that algae, microorganisms, and moss consume. However, for an orchid, such companions are undesirable.

Green bloom occurs when there is sufficient moisture, light and heat. It also appears if the orchid grows in a too large pot, if the substrate has caked over time. As a result, not only the roots can grow green, but also the substrate, the walls of the pot.

If the orchid looks healthy, then you can leave the plant alone. But with its weak growth, a small number of roots and wilting of leaves, it is necessary to take measures to save the flower.

When a green bloom appears inside the pot, you need to transplant the plant, especially if they cover the bottom and accumulate on the inner walls in a dense layer – in this case, the plant’s breathing is difficult due to insufficient oxygen circulation.

To prevent the appearance of green algae in the pot, it is necessary to soak the orchid during watering for 30 minutes in water with the addition of hydrogen peroxide 3% (for 1 liter of water – 2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide).The two most common mistakes that lead to root disease are:High humidity when the owner tries to compensate for dry air with abundant watering. Irregular ventilation of the room.

To avoid many problems with the root system, you must:

  • observe the watering regime;
  • prevent the ingress and stagnation of liquid at the point of growth of the orchid;
  • make drainage holes in the pot;
  •  dry the soil between waterings, do not water the flower for several days;
  • use filtered water for irrigation, sometimes adding a weak (pale pink) solution of potassium permanganate to it;
  • add activated carbon, tree bark to the soil;
  • observe the temperature regime (22-25 degrees);
  • do not allow an excessively high humidity indicator (the optimal indicator is 40-70%);
  • place the orchid in a sufficiently sunlit place without direct rays;
  • sometimes carry out preventive measures to combat pests and various diseases;
  • use drugs that increase the immunity of the plant.

A weakened orchid often succumbs to disease. The owner must follow the rules for the care and maintenance of the flower, which relates to temperature, watering, light, fertilizers and substrate. Otherwise, fungal diseases, rotting and drying of the flower are likely, which leads to its death and contamination of other plants in the house.

I am an avid plant enthusiast and horticulture aficionado with a deep passion for houseplants. With years of nurturing green companions, my expertise in caring for indoor foliage is well-rooted. Through my journey, I've cultivated insights into optimal plant care, propagation techniques, and creating vibrant indoor ecosystems. Join me as we explore the verdant world of houseplants together. Let's turn your living space into a thriving oasis of botanical beauty. Connect with me on admin@houseplantspro.com and Facebook and explore more at Houseplantspro. 🌿🪴

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