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Tips on orchid care

Q:  I have an orchid that has black and white spots on the side. What might this be?

 A:    Orchids that get a foliar disease often have black spots. This can be treated with a fungicide. White spots would be an insect such as mealybugs. Take a cotton swab and see if any of these spots come off. If they do, then it is an insect. These can be controlled with a soap spray. Try not to get the leaves wet when watering.

 Q:   I was given an orchid as a gift. Where should I place the plant?

 A:    Most orchids are native to a tree canopy. An area with bright but indirect sunlight is ideal. They need high humidity so group them with other plants to create a humid microclimate.


Q:   Can Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) be used to lower soil pH?

 A:   Although Epsom salt does contain sulfur it does not lower the soil pH in that form. It should only be used to supply magnesium.

 Q:   Should an edging material be used on shrub beds to keep the grass out?

 A:    Since St Augustine grass is the most common lawn in this area, edging does not really help. St Augustine grass will grow up and over it so you will still have to mechanically edge to keep the grass at bay. If you have Bahia or centipede grass, edging materials make more sense.

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