Common Orchid Plant Diseases – Bacterial Leaf Rot

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Care and Culture, Diseases

There are several types of rot diseases that you should look out for when caring for an orchid plant. Some of the more common diseases affect not only the leaves, but the buds and roots as well. If left untreated your plant could be facing death, or worse, it could spread to other plants in your home or office (resulting in the death of several plants, rather than just the plant that it originated from). The best care is always prevention, so make sure that you are tending to your orchid plant regularly, and giving it the optimal care it needs to grow and stay healthy. Read on and learn about this specific type of rot, and how to spot, and treat it.

Bacterial Leaf Rot

  • Symptoms – One common orchid plant disease is leaf rot. This particular disease requires a quick response otherwise it will spread fast. The leaf rot is usually caused by fungi that are commonly classified as Cercospora or Colletotrichum (be aware of the watering and humidity guidelines). The bacteria usually starts out as a slight discoloration of the leaf; sometimes appearing as a yellowish spot on the leaf. If left untreated, the infected spots will start to spread, and increase in size, creating an irregular border. The spots turn from a yellowish color, to a brown or black. The infected areas then soften and become mushy.
  • Control – Using a clean and sterile tool or blade, cut the infected leaf back until you expose the healthy tissue (you may want to snip off the entire leaf; depending on how far the disease has spread). Treat the good edge of the leaf with a bactericidal solution. Be sure to place the orchid plant in an area where it can reach good air circulation; this is to ensure that the bactericidal leaf edge dries properly. You want to make sure that the solution dries quickly and creates a seal over the wounded area.
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