SO Gardening — August 12

Sunday, August 12, 2018

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Dear Orchid Doc:

My Cattleya is in bloom. Do I still need to fertilise it?

Andrew R

Dear Andrew R:

Yes. In fact, it needs the fertiliser now, more than ever. However, your plants will need to be fertilised with a product appropriate to the medium in which they are being grown. A balanced fertiliser will generally do, but one high in nitrogen is preferred for plants in a bark-based mix.

Dear Orchid Doc:

My aunt went abroad and left her Phalaenopsis in my care. I accidentally forgot it on the porch when I left for the country last weekend. On returning I noticed a few white patches and dark rings. Are the leaves sunburnt, and what do I do?

Shanna G

Dear Shanna G:

Yes, it does sound like you have a case of sunburn on your hands, as Phalaenopsises sunburn easily. That said, note whether the scorched spot is contained to a small area or widespread. If it is contained to a small area, leave it alone and allow the plant some time to recover. A new leaf will replace the damaged one. If, damage is extensive, and especially if there is evidence of rot, these leaves should be removed immediately as the rot will spread.

Dear Orchid Doc:

My husband bought me a new Cymbidium last month, to add to my collection. But, since last week, I have noticed some strange spots all over the leaves. How do I address this?

Sandra K

Dear Sandra K:

It would appear your Cymbidium may be affected by the Cymbidium mosaic and Odontoglossum ringspot viruses. These spread throughout the infected plant in a number of weeks. Ensure you sanitise your pruning equipment in between plants as the viruses are spread mechanically.Unfortunately, there are no cures for orchid viruses, it is therefore recommended that you isolate the infected plant, or get rid of it altogether.

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