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Old 04-21-2013, 06:50 PM
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Virus or nutrient deficiency???

Hey everyone, long time no see

My Phal. violacea has developed some spots on one of its leaves and some mottling on another. Both are the two newest leaves on the plant. I've been bad the last couple months and have neglected my brood somewhat...

This guy was pretty dehydrated so I set up a little terrarium with live moss and coir to give him some R&R. After a few weeks in there he looked great! but then started developing these spots

Do these look like the symptoms of a virus beginning to show its ugly head or perhaps a nutrient defienciency? (I haven't fertilized this one in quite a while.) I'm really hoping for the later as this is one of Norton's blue strains...

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Old 04-21-2013, 07:03 PM
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Hard to say, perhaps been hit with a cold spell as well, hope they do not develop in black rot spots.
I would give it a dose of Epsom salts to get it greener and back on a good regular fertilizer program

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Old 04-22-2013, 12:48 AM
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I'm more on the deficiency trend. Calcium and Sulfur are likely suspects, I'd go for a complete fertilizer myself firsthand.


Viruses would occur on old leaves and it's too light a symptom to tell it is them. And only a test can assure the case.
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Old 04-22-2013, 01:33 AM
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If you suspect calcium or sulfur deficiency, try dissolving some gypsum (tsp/gal) in water, and water with that occasionally. Gypsum dissolves slowly, but will dissolve. Calcium deficiency often shows as leaf tip burn or failed growths on sypodials; if you are seeing that on your Cattleyas, that may support the Ca and S deficiency theory.

I am from Indiana (Indy) originally, most of the state has hard water and OK calcium, so I would not suspect calcium problems unless you are watering with rain water or RO water, or something similar.
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Old 04-23-2013, 12:48 PM
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I have about two dozen phals and about half of them have these spots, ranging from scattered to severe. I thought it was virus at first, but now I'm leaning to "mesophyll cell collapse." On the middle leaf you can see a depression on the leaf surface. Generally this is caused by exposure to cold temperatures or cold water. In my case, I think it may have been caused by the extremely hot summer we had last year. Other orchid people I respect have suggested the same thing. The phal you have is a warmth-loving species, so it could be cold-related.

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Old 04-23-2013, 01:42 PM
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Mesophyll collapse is usually not associated with the yellowing, as it is the release of fluids from the cells underlying those containing chlorophyll.

No diagnostic pro here, but I am leaning toward a bacterial or fungal spotting. While it is not a 100% correlation, that CAN be due to a calcium deficiency.

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