Orchids forum: White Fungus?

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Name: Verac
Vinton, VA (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America
Verac
Oct 6, 2018 5:55 AM CST
Hello all,

So I am enjoying my second Phal (this time I know a lot more so trying to take care of it).

It dropped all of it's flowers the other day and I cut the spikes down with a disinfected knife.

Now, I am noticing that one root in particular has white stuff starting to form around it. Some of the white stuff is taking on a green or turquoise color as well.

Is this some kind of fungus or mold? Is there action that I need to take?

My goal is to at least keep this alive through a new round of blooms.

Thanks in advance!


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Name: Verac
Vinton, VA (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America
Verac
Oct 6, 2018 5:56 AM CST
Also, realized I didnt include pictures of the other roots.

The other roots look nice and green. No white stuff around any of them but the one pictured. I keep it a bright windows (no direct sun) and water it based on when the roots start getting silver/grey.
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
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Ursula
Oct 6, 2018 7:28 AM CST

Moderator

This white stuff might be some Mealies, not fungus.
Name: Ted
Brea, CA (Zone 10b)
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Ted5310
Oct 6, 2018 9:32 AM CST
Or are we just seeing the velamen? Hard to see in these pics
Name: Verac
Vinton, VA (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America
Verac
Oct 6, 2018 10:55 AM CST
Let me see if I can get better photos. My phone has a hard time focusing up close.

It seems to go from white to teal

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Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Orchids Cactus and Succulents Region: New Jersey Region: Pennsylvania Native Plants and Wildflowers Greenhouse
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Ursula
Oct 6, 2018 12:14 PM CST

Moderator

I would vote for "Mealies on roots"! Smiling
Name: Verac
Vinton, VA (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America
Verac
Oct 6, 2018 12:49 PM CST
Gah, if they are mealy bugs. I should be able to see them yeah? Maybe I need to unpot it and try to clean them out? Just watched a few videos on mealy bugs.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
Oct 6, 2018 1:07 PM CST
I agree. It's root mealies. You can see them in the first pic above, about 1/3rd of the way down the root. I have taken them out of the pot, rinsed the roots and replaced the medium. Good luck saving the plant. I've had about a 50/50 chance when I've had them.
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Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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dyzzypyxxy
Oct 6, 2018 1:07 PM CST
Now that you point them out, I do see some mealy bugs. But some of the white stuff might just be the velamen on the roots attaching to the clear plastic of the pot.

I would certainly be thinking about taking that plant out of that pot, anyway. It doesn't appear to have any air holes, and the roots of your Phal need to breathe. They should be a healthy green like that when they're wet, but turn a sort of silvery grey to white when they dry out. The plant needs its roots to dry out between waterings to be healthy.

A good treatment for mealy bugs is a spray of diluted rubbing alcohol. It doesn't hurt the plant but it does cut through the wax coating on the bugs so they are killed by exposure to the air. Do it a few times in the next couple of weeks to get all the generations. Repeating treatment is important.
Elaine

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[Last edited by dyzzypyxxy - Oct 6, 2018 1:10 PM (+)]
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Name: Verac
Vinton, VA (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America
Verac
Oct 6, 2018 1:53 PM CST
Pics from the unpot. I went over the plant and couldn't find any adult mealies or anything that moved. But, some things definitely look mealyish


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Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Oct 6, 2018 8:37 PM CST
Trim off the dead roots.
The white stuff is the velamin that is starting to form around the root. The velamin serves 2 purposes. It allows for water to be absorbed and it protects the outer surface of the root.
Velamin turns from white to greenish as it absorbs water. A mealy bug would not turn white.
If you go messing around with the roots too much, you'll end up doing more damage to the roots then a mealy bug!
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Name: Alice
Ponte Vedra, FL (Zone 9a)
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ardesia
Oct 7, 2018 4:31 AM CST
A mealy would not turn white???
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Oct 7, 2018 5:04 AM CST
Oops!
When you water I meant to say a mealy wouldn't change color at all typically. My bad!
Once in a while I have seen a few so fat, so robust and full of plant sap that they actually change color a little. Reddish if the sap is red and so on.
"Our children are the messages we send to a time that we will never see."
Name: Alice
Ponte Vedra, FL (Zone 9a)
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ardesia
Oct 7, 2018 5:30 AM CST
Thumbs up
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Verac
Vinton, VA (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America
Verac
Oct 10, 2018 7:48 AM CST
So I trimmed off the dead roots, drilled some air holes into the pot sides, and repotted it with a bark orchid mixture that I found at my hardware store. Hopefully it does ok.
Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
Orchid Judge
Region: United States of America Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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BigBill
Oct 10, 2018 8:54 AM CST
Phalaenopsis typically respond well to repotting!
"Our children are the messages we send to a time that we will never see."

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