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Is my orchid suffering from stem rot?

February 26, 2018


I would really appreciate it if someone could help me since im not sure if my orchid has stem rot or not and if so what is the cure....I received it about a month ago....it is growing in sphagnum moss...about four days ago it dropped it's lower two leaves and now two of the flowers are beginning to shrivel...the leaves it dropped were quite plump but brownish yellow in colour....Please tell me if it is infected or not and if so how can I save it?....would really appreciate the help.This is the picture of the orchid and this exposed part on the stem is from where the leaves fell off

Comments (15)

  • laticauda

    Hard to say without taking it out of the sphagnum moss. The loss of flowers cluld be a natural thing, they begin to fade after a period of time. Are they the oldest flowers (nearest to the leaves)?

    I would recommend taking it out and removing the sphagnum moss as much as you can and see if you.find any mushy bits under the substrate.

    If it's mushy, it's rotting. If it were mine, I'd repot it regardless of what's going on. I can't keep sphagnum moss planted plants happy. I'm trying though.

  • suzabanana (6b Boston/N. Shore)

    I would not repot while in bloom. I WOULD let that sucker dry out though. It is too wet. It should only be that wet on the day that you water and then not watered for at least a week, probably 2 weeks in that moss. You can tell if you have crown rot by gently squeezing the base where those leaves fell off. If it's squishy - like a ripe avocado - or smells funky, you very well may have rot.

  • laticauda

    Phals aren't as picky about being repotted in bloom and if it's rotting or soaked (why I don't like sphagnum moss), then not repotting it will kill it.

  • suzabanana (6b Boston/N. Shore)

    I agree.

    But, presumably this orchid was purchased for it's lovely blooms. Repotting in bloom is awkward and difficult, especially if you've never repotted an orchid before. Letting the moss dry out achieves the same result in the short term while minimizing the chance of further destroying or damaging the blooms. Orchids die a slow death. Enjoy the blooms and repot when they die. Waiting a week or so, provided you don't continue to over-water, isn't going to make or break your plant.

  • shenayzaman

    Thank you so much for responding guys :)....yes they are the last two flowers but there is bud at the top that hasn't bloomed yet....I watered them initially when they arrived then after 10 days and next after 15 days....should I spray hydrogen peroxide on the that exposed stem part and then put powdered cinnamon as a precautionary measure. ...I do see some fresh green roots through the clear plastic pot and some dead ones....if I repot it then can I use any bark from any tree because I don't get orchid bark potting mix in my area?.....I am more interested in keiki and saving the plant

  • suzabanana (6b Boston/N. Shore)

    Your roots look ok. I would not use just any bark of any tree. You need to buy orchid bark. Can you buy online?

    Alternatively, you can keep it in moss, but should transplant into a terra cotta pot with drainage.

    Where in the world do you live? What are your growing conditions?

    Here is a culture sheet for Phals which may help you understand your plant's needs http://www.aos.org/orchids/culture-sheets/novice-phalaenopsis.aspx

    ETA: don't spray with peroxide or use cinnamon right now. One thing at a time. If you choose to repot, cut the bloom stem and dust cinnamon on the end. Then repot. Find a spot in your home or outside with temps 60-80F with 50% or more humidity in bright, indirect light. See how it responds. Keikis are not desired - that means the plant is dying.

    shenayzaman thanked suzabanana (6b Boston/N. Shore)
  • dannie317

    One thing that would help that orchid right now, without doing any major damage, is to remove out at least HALF of the moss in that pot. It would add a lot of circulation around the roots and give them a few days of being dry, which they will appreciate. I bet you can pull the whole thing out and it will hold its shape, and you can pull off lots and lots of moss, then slip it back inside the plastic pot pretty easily.

  • shenayzaman


    I took the plant out....the stem is not mushy but has some blackening, also some of the roots have a blackish tone where they join the stem....and I live in Pakistan. ..lol, the stores do have coconut chunks but no bark or any other mix...there could be another option to put it in water culture. ...what do you guys think about that?...I will try to search for any online store that might supply. ...Here's the picture of the roots

  • sydney626

    I don't have any answers for you except it looks like you did a great job of getting rid of the moss while protecting the roots!

    shenayzaman thanked sydney626
  • laticauda

    You could always grow it bare root but you'd have to water it frequently. I rot stuff in water more than I'm able to root stuff in water (unless it's a filtered fish tank, constantly running water) so I can't personally recommend water culture for orchids.

    You can always try semihydro, many people are quite successful with that.

    shenayzaman thanked laticauda
  • dannie317

    I don't do full water culture and doubt that I'll ever be convinced that it's a superior, or even decent, way to grow orchids (I'm not interested in arguing with those who do it, do what you like with your own plants). My personal advice would be to plant it in bark or go semi-hydro. In a nutshell: I am pro-media. Pick one and figure how best to water in what you plant it in.

    shenayzaman thanked dannie317
  • shenayzaman

    hey guys!...I re-potted it with half the amount of moss, it has been more than a week now and nothing bad has happened so far except for the flowers falling off ....so I'm quite hopeful ....thanks for all the help and the culture sheet was a big help as well :)

  • shenayzaman

    Hello guys!

    I need your help again.I would really appreciate if someone could hep me identify the pests on my orchid. They are tiny and off-white in colour and appear the day I water my orchid. I am very confused as I can't figure out if they are spider mites or thrips or something else? I have attached below a picture, please help me save this orchid :(

  • dannie317

    Looks like a springtail ... they are beneficial bugs. However, if there are tons of them, this is a sign that you need new media. They like rotting stuff.

    shenayzaman thanked dannie317
  • shenayzaman

    Thanks once again dannie317 :).Really appreciate it.

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