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Old 10-27-2014, 07:20 PM
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Help! Mold problem?

I recently bought a clearance orchid from Fred Meyer because it looked healthy and there was a spike forming! This is a Sharry Baby or it was labeled as such. I was alarmed this morning to see this growth of what appears to be mold on this and a few of my phals. I haven't faced this issue yet, can someone help me? Also, my phals are in S/H if that matters.

The temperature in the room doesn't get lower than 65. It usually sits between 70 and 75 with a RH of about 60-65% and there is a fan blowing for circulation

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Old 10-27-2014, 08:40 PM
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Mold usually occurs when things are too wet combined with not enough light and good air circulation.
I had problems with mold when I tried to grow in bark and solid plastic pots. Now that I use basket pots and either red lava rock or Aliflor (expanded clay balls), I have not had trouble since. The basket pots provide better air circulation.
Good luck!
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Old 10-27-2014, 09:19 PM
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You mentioned that your Phals are in semi-hydro. Is this plant grown that way also? If so, what is the medium they are growing in? Mold on the roots sure looks like the plant is way too wet, as Leafmite said. I would pull the plant out of the pot immediately to see what it is planted in, if you haven't done that already. A move to a dryer medium would probably be helpful.
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Old 10-27-2014, 09:54 PM
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Thank you both for your tips. This oncidium is new to me, I gave it a cursory inspection before I got it but I haven't given it a further inspection. I'll do that when I get home but I knew the new one isn't in s/h. I don't know how to increase air movement or light, my oncidiums are all in a window sill that gets a few hours if direct sunlight each day and filtered light the rest. The phals are on a table not far away and get bright indirect light all day. I have a fan that blows on the plants, all of their leaves are swaying in the breeze it creates. Maybe I need another fan? Would an air purifier work to cut down mold spores?
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Old 10-28-2014, 07:38 AM
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Maybe a soak in peroxide and then a drying out period?
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Old 10-28-2014, 08:23 AM
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Mold tends not to grow on living tissue. Those roots are dead, so by keeping them moist, they provide the ideal environments for molds to grow.

Treating with peroxide will kill the mold that's there, but that's treating the symptom, not the problem.

Repot.
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Old 10-28-2014, 01:22 PM
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The basket/net pot will allow more air to reach the medium/roots which is where the problem is. I agree with Ray that you need to repot. I grow my oncidiums (and most other orchids) in either red lava rock or Aliflor, using the net pots, and water them frequently. These types of pots allow me to see the roots and help prevent the roots from rotting. For the phals and the orchids that like more humidity around the roots, I set the pots into a clear container that is a little larger than the pot.
Good luck!
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Old 10-28-2014, 03:44 PM
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I see that the pot has some air slots. You can add some holes with a heated nail or ice pick, if you want even more air to get to the roots. The repotting process should fix the problem. Once you get rid of its dead roots and put it into some fresh media, it will be a happy plant. It sounds like you have plenty of air movement.
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Old 10-29-2014, 06:11 PM
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Thank you all for your tips.

I purchased an air purifier to try and cleanse the air of the spores. I currently live in a room detached from the main house, it's hard to keep it heated and the air temperature outside is pretty chilly at the moment, about 50 during the day and 40ish at night.

Does anyone have any tips to circulate some fresh air into the room with minimal heat loss?

I also repotted the oncidium, though I feel that this issue has made me realize that I'm not bringing in enough fresh air.
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Old 10-30-2014, 06:33 PM
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My home only gets about 60'F in the winter so running a fan isn't an option for us, either. It is one of the reasons I use the basket pots and non-composing medium. A cold home and a lack of air circulation meant that the medium stayed very moist for a long time...and my roots would rot. Now that I am growing under lights, it would not be a problem as the lights provide enough heat to dry everything in a timely manner. I hope someone else can help you with this. Good luck!
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Old 08-15-2015, 08:46 AM
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I am surprised that so few people do not use the simplest solution. A pair of scissors and cut the infection off. Those roots are not doing anything so no loss. Also there are plenty of good roots in the pot.

I recognize the pot, the plant is grown by a northern California grower that grows everything in soil. Surprisingly they have the largest healthiest plants of any I have every seen. I buy from everyone in Florida and Hawaii with overseas shipment from Taiwan and Thailand as well as this grower. This potting has nothing to due with the mold on your plant. I mention it because they are very hard for a hobbyist to water unlike other growing mediums. They must be soaked.

You can re-pot into any medium you like at any time. When re-potting cut off all the top roots that are circling the pot. They chock the plant and prevent water from reaching the other roots. You will find plenty of healthy in the pot.
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