Orchid Quarantine? - Knowledgebase Question

nashville, Te
Question by athenarae46
March 14, 2010
I have 6 beautiful phal orchids from your store and others, I bought a 7th because it was beautiful and had an incoming leaf. It has 8 leaves and some have damage(cuts)/small black areas. How far do i keep it from others? Advice on leaf cutting. no Visible pests. Scared but want to save it without contaminating. Looks very healthy otherwise

Answer from NGA
March 14, 2010


You are wise in isolating your new orchid until you know the state of its health. I'd keep it in a completely different area of the house for about a week. Damaged leaves might simply be showing scars, or they might have a bacterial/fungal infection. You can safely remove the damaged leaves if you sterilize your pruning equipment and wear latex gloves so as not to introduce pathogens into the cuts. I just sterilize a razor blade and use a squirt of antibacterial (Purell)on my hands. But you can wear gloves and dilute one part of bleach or rubbing alcohol with three parts of water in a bowl. Soak the blade of your cutting tool in the bleach/alcohol solution for a few minutes then rinse and air dry or wipe the tool with a clean cloth. Now comes the surgery: Pinpoint the greenest (healthiest) part of the leaf, usually between the base of the plant, and past the line of discoloration. Cut through this point (well into the green), in a straight line across the leaf's width, completely severing the unhealthy part of the leaf from the plant. Apply a plant fungicide paste or cinnamon with a cotton swab directly to the cut, concealing it completely. (Yes, regular kitchen cinnamon acts as a fungicide!) Best wishes with your new orchid.

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