Orchids come in various shapes, colours, and sizes. As cut flowers they are the longest lasting of all. So, even though they tend to be more expensive per stem, they do offer the best value for money. Orchids are also popular as potted plants. Your local florist will often sell the cut flowers as well as potted varieties since both options are popular gifts. When buying orchids, it’s important to understand the kinds of conditions they prefer as well as how they should be treated. In addition, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for any pests that may damage the plant.
Different pests feed off the plant in different ways. Scale, Mealybugs, Aphids, Thrips, and Whiteflies all feed off the sap of the plant. Snails, slugs, caterpillars, grasshoppers, and even roaches will enjoy nibbling on all parts of the plant. Spider mites are also a problem.
If you notice chlorotic areas on the leaves, then you have a sever scale infestation. You should check the undersides of the leaves regularly to avoid the infestation from reaching this extreme. To get rid of these bugs, you can use a toothbrush (dipped in a pesticide) or an ear bud dipped in rubbing alcohol. Apply lightly and you may need to reapply after two weeks if the infestation has not been eradicated.
Mealybugs often hide in cosy places where the leaves meet the stem. They can cause the leaves to turn yellow and wilt. If you have a slight problem, you will need to use rubbing alcohol (apply with an ear bud) or a toothbrush dipped in an appropriate pesticide. You may need to repeat this after two weeks if the infestation is severe.
Aphids transmit diseases to the plant from which they feed. You can wash them away by squirting them with water. You can also spray a pesticide on the plant. Thrips often hide inside the flowers which can cause them to remain closed. The leaves could become pitted. Spray the plant with a pesticide suitable for orchids and reapply as directed. Several applications may be necessary.
Whiteflies are easy to notice. If the plant is disturbed and you notice tiny white insects rising into the air, then you know you’ve got a whitefly problem. You will need to spray the plant with a pesticide and reapply every four days until the whitefly infestation is gone.
Spider mites are typically red or brown in colour. They are usually found on the undersides of the leaves. Since they are feeding off the leaves, you may notice them turning brown or even becoming streaky or stippled. The plant needs to be sprayed with a special miticide and you will need to repeat this treatment as per the instructions.
Snails and slugs are easy to find to you will simply need to remove them. House plants don’t usually fall victim to these pests unless you plan on keeping yours outside. The same goes for caterpillars, roaches, and grasshoppers.