Style Observer

SO Gardening — Nov 4

Sunday, November 04, 2018

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Dear Orchid Doc:

With the ongoing water shortage, is it safe to water orchids with the water from the washing machine?


Dear Angella:

It would depend a lot on the type of chemicals used in the water. In general, plants are not fussy when it comes to water, but I would bear in mind the amount of chemicals that were put in the water… say, bleach, for example.

Dear Orchid Doc:

What can I do to prevent the lower leaves of my Dinah Shore vanda from going black? If they are already black, can the condition be reversed?


Dear Tash:

The Dinah Shore orchid is an extremely pretty red, which blooms up to six spikes at a time; however, there is a hereditary problem with the family. The black-looking streaks will always be a part of Miss Dinah Shore. To my knowledge, there is nothing you can do to stop or prevent it, so enjoy her with her flaws.

Dear Orchid Doc:

With the amount of rain we been getting, I have noticed a lot of powdery-looking little dots on the roots of my orchids. What are they, and how do I get rid of them?


Dear Ruby:

What you are seeing is the embryonic stage of a fungus. This is how a fungus starts, and if you look carefully you'll see that it is on a dried piece of the orchid's 'skin'. Please take off the dried parts as these harbour the fungus.

If it is still in this stage, use some diluted 50/50 water with some rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and wipe away the evidence of the fungus, after which you should rub a powdered fungicide like Ridomil on the affected areas.

If you can isolate the plant and protect it from the rains, that would be good.

Dear Orchid Doc:

Help! My orchids are sick. Under the dendrobium leaves are dark brown and it doesn't rub off. Can you tell me what to do, please?


Dear Joan:

You seem to have what is known as orchid rust.

Please use 2 teaspoons of Topsin with 1 teaspoon of Caprid in the same gallon of water. Spray once per week, preferably when it is cool (sun will cause the chemical to burn) for three to four weeks. After you have sprayed for four consecutive weeks, then you will start to do it once every two weeks for two months, then back to your regular routine.

Your plants should start getting better within four weeks. However, the old rust will not come off the leaves unless you pick them off.

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