Should I just let it go? (Virus?!)

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Morja

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I saved this mini phal out of my best friend's windowsill in April, flew in home with me from Tennessee to Idaho, and then drove it across the country with the rest of my collection to Maryland this August 🤪
It's been struggling. It has one sketchy root. It did grow a new leaf in my care despite the root loss, but has absolutely no signs of new roots trying to come through. It's very easy to pull out of its pot so my toddler has unfortunately done that several times. Just rough times for this poor plant!
On top of that, I was poking around on the internet looking at orchid diseases, and realized the pitting on the old leaves may be sign of a virus. The new leaf looks okay, but honestly... my space is very limited. Would it be reasonable to just toss it? I feel guilty as I've always treasured every plant, but I'm realizing that long-time growers just take losses from time to time. My only real attachment to this plant comes from the bother of dragging it around with me, but I would rather start over with something healthy, as there are a million phals out there... you know? Especially if it's diseased!!! I guess I just need someone to agree with me so I can do it! Haha
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Imho so far I can't see any signs of a virus infection ... in my eyes the plant is infected by sucking pests e.g. thrips or mites. You can wipe the leaves with a solution of curd soap and spray the whole plant with an remedy against those pests. Repot the plant the best in pure sphagnum and keep humidity high e.g. by putting a transluscent plastig bag over plant and pot. Good luck!
 
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I am inclined to agree. Virus in Phalaenopsis in my experience is somewhat unusual.
Phalaenopsis have basic needs.
Pots with drainage holes. Standing water rots the roots. Old broken down media, bark mix or Sphagnum, kills roots by holding too much water. Orchids like Phalaenopsis need air movement/oxygen at the roots.
Your roots are clearly non-existing, gone by over watering. That is the likely cause.
I repot my Phalaenopsis faithfully once a year. They respond very well by producing new roots in 4-6 weeks.
But by ignoring them, keeping them in an ‘old’ mix, or the wrong mix will not allow them to recover. They will struggle mightily to survive. When in a weakened state, mites, scale, mealybugs can really take a toll!
Coco-coir or coconut chunks is a dry media. I see that moss is added but the whole thing looks very dry.
Does that container have drainage holes?
A silvery sheen and pitting are common in Phalaenopsis. Silvery sheen is left by false spider mites.
Unless you repot it the plant will continue going downhill. But that is so easy to correct. If you choose to repot, I also tell my ‘orchid students’ to choose a pot according to the size of the root mass, NOT according to the greenery.
 
I am inclined to agree. Virus in Phalaenopsis in my experience is somewhat unusual.
Phalaenopsis have basic needs.
Pots with drainage holes. Standing water rots the roots. Old broken down media, bark mix or Sphagnum, kills roots by holding too much water. Orchids like Phalaenopsis need air movement/oxygen at the roots.
Your roots are clearly non-existing, gone by over watering. That is the likely cause.
I repot my Phalaenopsis faithfully once a year. They respond very well by producing new roots in 4-6 weeks.
But by ignoring them, keeping them in an ‘old’ mix, or the wrong mix will not allow them to recover. They will struggle mightily to survive. When in a weakened state, mites, scale, mealybugs can really take a toll!
Coco-coir or coconut chunks is a dry media. I see that moss is added but the whole thing looks very dry.
Does that container have drainage holes?
A silvery sheen and pitting are common in Phalaenopsis. Silvery sheen is left by false spider mites.
Unless you repot it the plant will continue going downhill. But that is so easy to correct. If you choose to repot, I also tell my ‘orchid students’ to choose a pot according to the size of the root mass, NOT according to the greenery.
Yes, it is due for a water. It was already in pretty bad shape when I saved it from my friend's windowsill, and believe it or not this is a new potting mix, but it does tend to get very dry. I need a miniscule pot! This one does have slots in the side, but I believe it is too big. I will see what I can find, add more moss to the mix and stake it in!
 
Imho so far I can't see any signs of a virus infection ... in my eyes the plant is infected by nibbling pests e.g. thrips or mites. You can wipe the leaves with a solution of curd soap and spray the whole plant with an remedy against those pests. Repot the plant the best in pure sphagnum and keep humidity high e.g. by putting a transluscent plastig bag over plant and pot. Good luck!
Thanks! So it sounds like the general consensus is not a virus, but a pest of some kind perhaps. Since there isn't damage to the new leaf, and I can't find any pests visually, are they likely gone? I will wipe it down regardless just in case.
 
Mites are extremely small. Next to
Impossible to see with the naked eye. Instead we see their damage. Wiping down with 50-50 isopropyl alcohol and water does help. Or spraying a few times with Bayer’s 3 in 1 spray would help.
But when an orchids health is compromised, they become weakened and more susceptible to insect damage.
1811B007-4E49-4BAC-BE6B-5707777AC17D.jpeg
I included an image of my mix. I use it for 95% of my orchids. It has medium bark, seedling bark, perlite, charcoal, and Hydroton. If I am repotting a Phalaenopsis I take handfuls of the mix. If I am repotting an Oncidiums with a stronger demand for moisture I favor the smaller pieces.
All ingredients are in snap lid containers. I mix up my own media that you see in the image. Cattleyas, Phalaenopsis, Paphiopedilums all get basically the same stuff.
 
Mites are extremely small. Next to
Impossible to see with the naked eye. Instead we see their damage. Wiping down with 50-50 isopropyl alcohol and water does help. Or spraying a few times with Bayer’s 3 in 1 spray would help.
But when an orchids health is compromised, they become weakened and more susceptible to insect damage.
View attachment 42979
I included an image of my mix. I use it for 95% of my orchids. It has medium bark, seedling bark, perlite, charcoal, and Hydroton. If I am repotting a Phalaenopsis I take handfuls of the mix. If I am repotting an Oncidiums with a stronger demand for moisture I favor the smaller pieces.
All ingredients are in snap lid containers. I mix up my own media that you see in the image. Cattleyas, Phalaenopsis, Paphiopedilums all get basically the same stuff.
Thank you!! That visual really helps. This media was on Repotme.com and was one of two different options for phal mixes. I have a paph/phrag mix from them that I like, but I have not been happy with how dry this phal mix is. After my last couple of experiences with pre mixed media the time may be coming to have a system like yours. Maybe I can make this one work with a smaller pot, the biggest chunks taken out, and more moss. Or, honestly, my paph/phrag mix looks very similar to what you have- I may compare pictures and put it in that if it looks airy enough.
Edit to add: I didn't realize mites were so small! Getting on that ASAP
 
It is often a contest, how many angels, or mites, fit on the head of a pin!!! 🤪

I have been using the mix I described since 2009. From ‘74 until then, it was mostly two grades of fir bark. I was never happy with that.
But with working, raising 2 kids, I never really explored other mixes/ingredients as I should have.
I’ll give you another image. A Cattleya in a plastic net pot 3 weeks after repotting. Just look at the roots!
FC9C92FB-535E-400B-BBEF-127E15DDC896.jpeg
I am confident that this plant will do well for me!
 
It is often a contest, how many angels, or mites, fit on the head of a pin!!! 🤪

I have been using the mix I described since 2009. From ‘74 until then, it was mostly two grades of fir bark. I was never happy with that.
But with working, raising 2 kids, I never really explored other mixes/ingredients as I should have.
I’ll give you another image. A Cattleya in a plastic net pot 3 weeks after repotting. Just look at the roots!
View attachment 42980
I am confident that this plant will do well for me!
That is one happy Catt! I always imagine them in a big chunky mix so this is cool to see!
 
Well it is a little bit deceiving, that is a seedling really of a sib cross of two different clones of Cattleya leopoldii(tigrina). They can get to be a meter tall and flower as a smaller plant. But it is not a hulking big plant. That net pot is 41/2” wide.
 
I agree with the previous comments that there's no real visible sign of virus. The only way to be sure is to invest in a virus testing kit but your plant doesn't look that unwell. The potting mix looks very, very dry to me. I would repot it into some smaller bark that retains more moisture until the plant puts out new roots. Or you could use sphagnum moss but make sure it doesn't stay soggy. Put it into a baggie or a plastic dome (for example, from a store bought cake) to raise the humidity. This is absolutely essential for the plant to grow new roots. I salvaged an almost dead mini-phal earlier this year using this method and it's now back on my light stand growing well. Good luck!
 
I agree with the previous comments that there's no real visible sign of virus. The only way to be sure is to invest in a virus testing kit but your plant doesn't look that unwell. The potting mix looks very, very dry to me. I would repot it into some smaller bark that retains more moisture until the plant puts out new roots. Or you could use sphagnum moss but make sure it doesn't stay soggy. Put it into a baggie or a plastic dome (for example, from a store bought cake) to raise the humidity. This is absolutely essential for the plant to grow new roots. I salvaged an almost dead mini-phal earlier this year using this method and it's now back on my light stand growing well. Good luck!
Thank you! Will do.
 
I am inclined to agree. Virus in Phalaenopsis in my experience is somewhat unusual.
Phalaenopsis have basic needs.
Pots with drainage holes. Standing water rots the roots. Old broken down media, bark mix or Sphagnum, kills roots by holding too much water. Orchids like Phalaenopsis need air movement/oxygen at the roots.
Your roots are clearly non-existing, gone by over watering. That is the likely cause.
I repot my Phalaenopsis faithfully once a year. They respond very well by producing new roots in 4-6 weeks.
But by ignoring them, keeping them in an ‘old’ mix, or the wrong mix will not allow them to recover. They will struggle mightily to survive. When in a weakened state, mites, scale, mealybugs can really take a toll!
Coco-coir or coconut chunks is a dry media. I see that moss is added but the whole thing looks very dry.
Does that container have drainage holes?
A silvery sheen and pitting are common in Phalaenopsis. Silvery sheen is left by false spider mites.
Unless you repot it the plant will continue going downhill. But that is so easy to correct. If you choose to repot, I also tell my ‘orchid students’ to choose a pot according to the size of the root mass, NOT according to the greenery.
QUOTE

I don’t think this is virus either. Not sure where your phals came from, but in the US a very high percentage of phals are virused. It all depends on where they come from. Some unscrupulous large scale hybridizers do not wait to harvest the seeds until the seed pod opens naturally, but cut into the pod to speed up the process. No longer sterile seed... If plant is virused, seedling will be also. Also, a plant cloned by the normal process can pass on virus. (There is a reputable person in Florida who has a process for cloning virus out through several stages, which is being used on several classic cattleyas, but it is rare and pricey.) In my experience upwards of 80% of big box type store or grocery store phals are virused. They are cheap because they are mass produced. I don’t grow them anymore for that reason. Paphs are rarely virused, as are phrags but I have had a couple of virused phrags, so it can depend on the vendor.
 
Mites are extremely small. Next to
Impossible to see with the naked eye. Instead we see their damage. Wiping down with 50-50 isopropyl alcohol and water does help. Or spraying a few times with Bayer’s 3 in 1 spray would help.
But when an orchids health is compromised, they become weakened and more susceptible to insect damage.
View attachment 42979
I included an image of my mix. I use it for 95% of my orchids. It has medium bark, seedling bark, perlite, charcoal, and Hydroton. If I am repotting a Phalaenopsis I take handfuls of the mix. If I am repotting an Oncidiums with a stronger demand for moisture I favor the smaller pieces.
All ingredients are in snap lid containers. I mix up my own media that you see in the image. Cattleyas, Phalaenopsis, Paphiopedilums all get basically the same stuff.
You are so right about the size of mites on orchids. I was used to two spotted spider mites (and thrips) on roses , though small are clearly visible to the naked eye. I have a lighted magnifier that is 40x and unless I wipe a leaf with a Qtip with alcohol and the mites/thrips squirm I cannot see the tiny specks clearly. Menacingly tiny buggers!!
 
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