Orchids forum: Orchid has black spots on leaves?

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Los Angeles
Apr 24, 2017 7:34 PM CST
Hi, there are weird black spots are on an orchid I recently adopted. 3 questions:

1) Do you know what type of orchid it is?
2) Do you know if the black spots are a trait of the plant and/or are they an indication of something potentially harmful? If so, how do I treat the plant?
3) Also, what's the white stuff on the orchid mix? Is that contributing to the spots?

Thank you so much!

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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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Apr 24, 2017 8:13 PM CST
Hello Rachel, without a tag it is rather hard to know the name of your orchid, but I would guess it probably is a member of the Oncidium Alliance. As to the black stuff, if it is not spreading, I just ignore it. Some orchids are so prone to that depending on cultural conditions it is growing in at times. The white stuff to me looks like accumulated salt residue. Did you just acquire this plant? The pseudobulbs looks too dry, which to me says it is unable to drink properly, so if it were mine, I would inspect the condition of the roots.
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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Apr 24, 2017 8:16 PM CST
Hi and welcome, Rachel. I think what you have there is an Oncidium type orchid, and yes they do tend to get black spots on the leaves for no apparent reason. I wouldn't worry about the spots. The white stuff on the bark is very likely hard water deposits or fertilizer residue. A good flush, or even a short soak in some plain water (room temperature) might help with that but it's not any great worry either.

But if it were mine, I'd take out some of the bark mix that is covering the base of the pseudobulbs. What I'm trying to say it maybe it's planted a little bit too deep. Orchids generally like to have lots of air around their bases and air getting to the roots. Lots of orchids tend to stick their roots up into the air, and grow over the edge of the pots almost like they're trying to escape. Although Oncidiums do like to be kept more moist than some other types of orchids so you don't have to worry as much about over-watering with them, it's still a good idea to let the air circulate around the base of the plant.

Hope you don't mind, I'm suggesting this thread be moved over to the Orchids forum so my other friends and orchid nuts will weigh in with their opinions.

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Apr 24, 2017 9:45 PM CST
Yes, an Oncidium.

The bark doesn't appear to be breaking down so no need to repot at this point. Sometimes the bark gets white because of leaching salts but sometimes it just means the bark is a little too dry. Don't try to water until the pseudobulbs flatten out tho' - those wrinkles are supposed to be there.

The pseudobulbs do seem a little deep - was it just repotted? If it has been living with the pseudobulbs that deep, I wouldn't worry about it.

Overall, your plant looks really good.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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