Resources for Identifying Orchid Ailments

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for Identifying Orchid Ailments

and disease problems on their orchid plants and
flowers can obtain a diagnosis and possible solutions
from several sources.

Two resources within the orchid community are
commercial growers and local orchid societies.
Employees and members are often willing to examine
an infected specimen and suggest controls. Ask
an orchid-nursery employee or officers of a local
orchid society to determine if it is permissible
to bring an infected plant to a nursery or meeting
or show. If it is, slip the plant, or the infected
part, into a paper or plastic bag, or wrap it
in newspaper, to prevent contaminating other orchids.
(Avoid leaving a bagged orchid in a car during
the heat of summer or on a cold winter day, or
it will be cooked or chilled, respectively.) Information
on local Affiliated Societies of the American
Orchid Society, which hold meetings and orchid
shows, is available from Affiliated Societies,
American Orchid Society, 6000 S. Olive Ave., West
Palm Beach, FL 33405; telephone 561-585-8666,
fax 561-585-0654, website

Many states have County Cooperative Extension
Services that will make identifications at no
cost or for a nominal fee. They are often listed
under the name of your county in the white pages
of the telephone directory. If there is none near
you, an alternative is to mail the infected orchid
to the central extension office in your state
(see attached list). Each of these offices can
direct orchidists to a County Cooperative Extension

If it is necessary to mail a sample for examination,
ask for packing and mailing instructions to the
symptoms will not be altered during shipping.
Paper is recommended. Avoid plastic, which often
causes plant tissue to rot during transit.

Botanical gardens and horticultural societies
may also be able to offer advice or recommend
sources capable of identifying orchid ailments.

To receive an accurate and detailed diagnosis,
submit a sample of the plant and/or flower and
a written description that gives:

  • the
    plant’s name
  • where
    the plant was obtained
  • whether
    it is a seedling or a flowering-size specimen

  • day
    the sample was collected
  • when
    the problem was noticed
  • which
    parts of the plant are affected
  • if
    the plant is grown indoors or outdoors (describe
    the location)
  • soil
    and watering conditions
  • exposure
    (amount and kind of light received)

here for a list of Pest and Disease Identification
by State)

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