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Pest on phalaenopsis roots?

February 16, 2019
last modified: February 16, 2019

Hello! I’m back here again and hoping that some kind folks can help me.

While repotting a new orchid, I noticed some white crud on roots. I trimmed away desicated and mushy roots and what’s left are the viable firm ones - except for that white stuff! Not sure what it is. Any ideas orchid gurus?

Thank you!!

Comments (8)

  • PRO

    W/o an image, can only supply a SWAG. Does it look like root mealybug?

    There's potential for it being fungal/mold-related, too.


    ebrathedebra thanked tapla
  • ebrathedebra

    Thanks for the quick reply. I read about mealy bug and fungal infestations but I’m not sure which it is- which is why I posted a good photo! Of course you can’t tell anything without a photo- I mean you guys are good - but you can’t see what isn’t there! I’ll keep trying.

    Here goes again....

  • ebrathedebra

    Anyone? I have pics now!

  • Photo Synthesis

    Whatever it is, I wouldn't worry about it. The root is green and healthy. Often, whenever I go to repot my phals, I find that the roots will attach to the old mix and pieces of it will stay behind when you remove it. Overall, your Phal looks perfectly healthy. I'm not seeing any red flags. What do you plan on repotting it with? You can use the same clear pot that it came in, because phalaenopis orchids don't grow any bigger than they already are. Just be sure to give the clear pot a good cleaning before reusing it.

    Also, people use clear pots for phalaenopis orchids so that their roots can soak up much needed sunlight just like their leaves do. This is why some of these roots are green, because they photosynthesize energy as well.

    ebrathedebra thanked Photo Synthesis
  • jane__ny

    I have to agree with Photo. Not sure what the white is but it doesn't look like mealies.

    Could be a normal fungi or some perlite which broke down.

    Roots look good. Pot it up!


    ebrathedebra thanked jane__ny
  • Meyermike

    My sister just replanted hers with what looks just like that. Is it only on the one root?

    For my sister, it was salt reside that dried on the roots. Could be anything, but does not look like mealy bug to me either. If you rub the white, what happens? Does it come off? Does it seem like it's stuck to the root? Ingrained?

    Please, expalin. But the roots look healthy I'll agree. I just see salt damage on parts, you can usually tell when the tips burn and turn brown, and brown spots along the root mass.

    Do you use rain water? Reverse osmosis? Do you flush your orchids at all? Soak them? Do you use the ice cube technique or water with a sprayer? What is your watering technique in detail if you could. What do you use when you water your Phals?

  • ebrathedebra

    Hi! Thanks for the response! It was on 2-3 roots. The orchid is new - or shall I say- new for me. I brought it home from the discount cart of the local supermarket. It was discounted (as far as I could see ) because the blooms were on their way out. I bought several other orchids as well and no others have the spots. To water my plants I’ve used either tepid/room temp rain water or distilled. When I first got them I dumped old medium,trimmed off dead roots and sprayed roots with hydrogen peroxide. That’s when I snapped the above photo. I subsequently repotted in new orchid bark in the same plastic pot (although sterilized and aeration holes added if there were none there already - I don’t remember now). Then I soaked potted orchid in room temp rain/distilled water for 15-20 mins. Drained it and popped it into its cache pot. Now that I’ve said ALL of that— the white spots must’ve been there before i bought the plant. Oh- and for the record- NO ice cubes! :-)

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