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Worried about root rot, use peroxide?

Posted by ltecato 9 (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 2, 08 at 15:53

Hi. I know very little about orchids, but recently I told relatives I'd like some for my 49th birthday and suddenly I've got seven -- four dens and three phals.

My wife got me the phals. They must have been on sale for Easter, because they came in a basket with fake grass on top. They were just sitting in the basket indoors for about a week while I shopped for suitable orchid pots. When I finally took them out of the basket, I discovered they'd been grown in sphagnum, probably a semi-hydro method. Sphag was sopping wet.

Problem was, at least one of them looks like the roots have started to rot. In the new pots they'll be growing in a combination of orchid bark, pumice and charcoal. Of course, I'm not going to water them for a while.

What I'm wondering, though, is if I should try giving them a dose of drug store hydrogen peroxide. Not straight out of the bottle. I'd use about a tablespoon per gallon of water.

If I don't do this, what else should I do to give these phals a fighting chance?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Worried about root rot, use peroxide?

Hi, ltecato. Peroxide can be used to aerate roots that are in a medium that's too wet. But there's not much point in using it if you are going to re-pot. Just take the plant out of the pot and remove the too-wet medium -- that will aerate them pretty thoroughly :)

To give your phals a good chance, read the thread still on this page titled "I pcan'd a phal". There's a discussion there of using rooting hormones to revive phals with compromised roots that you might find helpful. Several of us swear by them for reviving failing phals.

I would also suggest you check out the culture notes at the Canadian Orchid Congress. They have excellent advice about care of phals. See url below.

Here is a link that might be useful: COC culture sheets


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RE: Worried about root rot, use peroxide?

Hi. Welcome to the orchid obsession (oh yeah, and the forum)!

In general, though I've never used it, I believe hydrogen peroxide should be applied directly out of the bottle. I hope someone can back me up on that. 1 tablespoon per gallon will do absolutely nothing (it's basically just water).

Unless your orchids have very very few roots, I would just cut off any rotted roots (squishy and brown) and lightly dust the cut ends with cinnamon (natural fungicide). Then pot them up and give them plenty of light (east or west window) and warmth. They should take off like a charm.

If your worst off orchid has almost no roots and the leaves are starting to get wrinkly, you may try to revive it using the sphag and bag method. This is described very well in the faqs.

> Of course, I'm not going to water them for a while.
I hope you won't wait too long. New bark is not very water retentive at first. Some people like to pre-soak their bark ahead of time so that it holds moisture better from the beginning. With new bark you should probably be watering every 4 days or so depending on pot size. The best way to tell if it's time to water is to use the skewer method: stick a wooden skewer or pencil into the medium, when you think it's time to water pull it out and touch it to your cheek or the back of your hand. If it feels moist, don't water, otherwise give your orchid a good soak. After a while, you'll get a good feel for when its time to water.

Hope that helps,
~Jem


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RE: Worried about root rot, use peroxide?

Mehitabel and Jem: Thanks very much for the advice and link.

I am totally confused by the peroxide concentration issue. I've read some sources that seem to say you should dilute about an ounce of 3% peroxide in a gallon of water, others say just apply 3% peroxide. The stuff in drug stores is probably already diluted to about 3%, but I'm unclear about whether it needs to be diluted more.

I found dozens of posts about H2O2 here and elsewhere, and a couple of Web sites claiming that peroxide is the most miraculous chemical of all. One guy even said he "inhaled" it every day and it cured all his allergies and colds. He also advises adding it to bath water. Obviously there is a bit of a peroxide cult thing going on, so I'm trying to get info from reliable sources, but it's hard to get Google to separate the nuts from the experts.


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RE: Worried about root rot, use peroxide?

You can (and I would) use it straight from the bottle to treat some specific issue, such as suspected root rot, or leaf/crown rot, etc.

You can also add it to water to use as a drench/soak/spray which, at worst will boost the oxygen level to the benefit of the plant and likely kill certain spores/pathogens. At best it will be a miraculous paradigm-shift in your life whereby all your dreams will come true and you will live happily ever after. I'd take the risk.


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RE: Worried about root rot, use peroxide?

I wouldn't worry too much about the hydrogen peroxide. I think your orchids will do fine without it. If you want extensive information I would suggest reading the wikipedia article.

In general Hydrogen Peroxide H2O2 breaks down into Water (h20) and oxygen (02) by a process called oxidation. This process breaks down the enzymes in bacteria (or your skin cells) thereby killing them (or your cells protecting your wound from further infection).

In orchids it's commonly used to try to kill pests in the medium and add some extra air when the medium is not good. Since you are taking the medium off of your plants, you can just rinse the roots in the sink and not worry about the hydrogen peroxide like Mehitabel said. After all, it's not like it's going to make the plant grow new roots for you :)

Good luck.
~Jem


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RE: Worried about root rot, use peroxide?

Our entire yard has root rot! Vegetables first got it and have been dying off for a month or so. A week ago our Acuba plant died... now other plants are showing signs... butterfly bush, dogwood tree, vibernam

Is there anything we can do?


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