Diseases orchids

Ornamental plants

The plant species now classified are many; in reality the distinction in ornamental and is not only unscientific, but also extremely subjective, in fact a plant is ornamental if we like it and therefore if we see it suitable for furnishing a place dear to us, which can be the home, the office or other. In this sense, even those widespread definitions that depict ornamental plants as those plants with reduced dimensions and capable of surviving in closed places do not seem right either; for heaven’s sake, it is a possible definition, but not the only one: there are people who love their garden and consider the maritime pine ornamental which they have been patiently and lovingly watching it grow for twenty years or more. The maritime pine is anything but small (over the years, it reaches and exceeds thirty meters in height), however it may very well be ornamental and, to be honest, it is certainly more universally recognized as beautiful than other ornamental plants which vary a lot with people’s tastes. Therefore, we do not want to criticize a typical classification of the market, but only to make it clear that if we like a plant and we see it well at home, then we don’t have to worry about it and we can put it without hesitation.


One of the plants that is really famous all over the world for its purely ornamental character and on which we cannot even discuss is the orchid: this plant of tropical Asian origin has had a worldwide success and diffusion thanks to the fact that it combines elegance with a great resistance and adaptability to the typical climate of closed domestic environments, i.e. little circulation of air, humidity and more or less constant temperatures during the year, little sun exposure. Yet this seems very strange if we think that the orchid was (but still is) the typical tropical undergrowth plant when it was discovered, that is, it sheltered itself from sunlight thanks to the tall and thick foliage of the largest plant species of the tropical forest located in the southeast of Asia; its “migration” to the homes of the peoples of China, of India, Malaysia began because of the simplistic beauty that this plant represents, very adherent to the typical concepts of Buddhism and other typical Asian cultures that saw its strength hidden behind an apparent thinness a true symbol of how much their discipline pseudo-religious preached. In reality, the orchid that we know is the result of a series of hybridizations, of “guided” reproductions carried out to enhance some characteristics of the plant and make it even more suitable for the market.

Diseases orchids

One of the main objectives of the strong hybridization that there has been towards orchids was precisely to improve their ability to survive once brought into the house or in any case in closed places typical of human life. In fact, even with the aforementioned resilience of orchids, the climate is too different. And precisely all this is at the basis of orchid diseases, which can be both bacterial and viral, or actually caused by organisms that attack the plant, and both by poor survival conditions, such as high humidity or other aspects that now we’ll see. If we want to grow our orchid we must consider that: we must never damage any part of the plant, not even by chance, as the “immune” defenses are low and a wound is a highway for diseases, furthermore, one must not miss a light ventilation to the plant for the exchange of air and nor must its parts remain wet during the night in how much stagnation, even minimal, is badly tolerated by the orchid; in the same way, the plant should not be watered in the hot part of the day because it has enlarged pores and the water would penetrate with all the bacteria.

Diseases of the plant

To mention all the correct behaviors to keep towards the orchid we would need a botanical encyclopedia, because there are so many; but in our limited space it is well to dedicate a part also to the diseases proper that affect the orchid: the insects that attack this plant most and that often cause its death are the Aphids, the cochineal and the red spider; they cause respectively, as symptoms, a general wilting of the plant with necrotic spots on the leaves, brown spots on the whole surface and instead the spider can be found thanks to its small cobwebs and also to some discoloration points that it inflicts on the orchid. But not only insects “love” to ruin our beloved plants, they also bring mushrooms, which affect the plant precisely because of the poor living conditions that we impose on it (with humidity, stagnation and little air exchange the strongest causes). In this case we can generally notice a rot of various parts of the plant, depending on the specific fungus. Instead, as a final analysis, there are virus diseases which for the orchid are reduced to two main ones, namely the “speckling” and “mosaic” virus, with the effects they cause on the plant.

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