Orchids are one of the families of ornamental plants that people prefer to cultivate. The beauty of this group of plants lies in their great variety of shapes and striking colors. However, like any plant, they are also exposed to different pests and diseases caused by insects, bacteria, viruses or fungi.
When it comes to treating these diseases, we can help ourselves with products such as insecticides, bactericides or fungicides, both commercial and homemade. In Green Ecology we will focus on the homemade fungicides for orchids and on which are the most common fungi in orchids.
Main fungi in orchids
Fungi are one of the main threats to orchids, but we can successfully combat them if we detect them in time. They are usually seen as dark spots on leaves and flowers. They can also be detected as changes in the coloration of the leaves towards more brown, black or gray tones, depending on the conditions and the type of plant.
The appearance of fungi on plants is facilitated by excess humidity or water retention, high temperatures and poor ventilation. Some of the most common fungi in orchids are:
Black rot of leaves, pseudobulbs or roots (Black Rot)
The fungus that causes these diseases belongs to Phytophthora sp. either Pythium sp. and it manifests itself as a blackish spot surrounded by a yellowish halo in almost all parts of the plant (with the exception of the flowers). Once the disease progresses towards the pseudobulbs or the roots, it can even cause their death. In addition to high humidity, it is also spread by the use of poorly disinfected tools or open wounds.
Floral and foliar rots
These infections are mostly due to the fungus Botrytis spp. This fungus attacks both flowers and leaves. These infections are easily recognizable, since the affected tissues become soft and oval or round spots form on the petals.
The fungus that causes this disease is Glomerella spp. It is characterized by the presence of rounded and depressed dark spots on the aerial parts of the plant, which are separated by healthy parts.
They are produced by the fungus Fusarium spp. and is characterized by producing irregular black spots that converge to form necrotic areas on the leaves. This disease can cause a stoppage of plant growth.
Homemade fungicides for orchids
Although we can prevent the appearance of fungi in our orchids by favoring ventilation or disinfecting work tools, once the fungi appear, it is possible to treat them by applying fungicides. Many of these fungicides can be made from everyday substances at home. Some examples of homemade fungicides for orchids are:
Cinnamon is one of the usual products in the kitchen or that we can easily get. To treat infections, we can use it as a powder or make a paste with glue, which consists of mixing powdered cinnamon with liquid white glue to form a thick, brown paste. An alternative to using glue is cooking oil, although in this case you have to use more cinnamon.
This is another of the best homemade fungicides for orchids. It consists of placing a cup of cornmeal in boiled water. Let it rest for a couple of days and spray it to use as a spray.
Garlic is used to control fungi due to its high sulfur content. The preparation consists of blending 5 to 10 cloves of garlic in half a liter of water. Then we will filter and macerate the mixture for 1 hour, before applying it. It can also be applied every 15 days.
Sodium bicarbonate as a fungicide is very useful, because it manages to raise the pH of the medium. The preparation consists of mixing a tablespoon of baking soda in a liter of water. Then, we will add a splash of soap and another of oil and we can apply it on the plant. The mixture should be applied every week and after the rainy season.
Vinegar is another common element in kitchens. Its effect against fungi is similar to that of bicarbonate, only instead of raising the pH, it lowers it. The preparation consists of mixing a tablespoon of vinegar in a liter of water and applying it twice a week, after the rains.
How to add cinnamon to orchids
We have already commented on it in the previous section, but it is worth making a point to explain in more depth the method of cinnamon as a fungicide for orchids, among other things, because it is one of the most used.
The cinnamon application method to our orchids will depend on their shape. If it is cinnamon powder, we will apply it directly on the infected area. If, on the other hand, it is a cinnamon paste made with glue or any other substance, we will spread the paste well on the site of the infection. White glue, although it is soluble in water, withstands watering well, so there is no problem applying it to those orchids that are watered frequently.
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