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Old 29-01-2004, 03:27 AM
Daniel Joyce
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Default Bacterial soft rot, novel treatment.

The orchid books say it's incurable...

I have a Phalenopsis that sits next to a door that goes to the cold
minnesota outdoors. It's not the best place for it, and I've now moved it.
A couple months ago, it apparently got shocked, and 2 leaves came down
with Bacterial Soft rot. One leaf, only the tip was affected, the other
leaf was rotten all the way to were it emerges from the heart of the

The partially rotten leaf, I sliced off with a sterilized knife, a good
1/2" above the rot. It scabbed over on the end, and has been fine since.

The really rotten leaf, well, was a conundrum. The fluid inside is chock
full of bacteria, and if I simply try to pull it out, it will rupture and
spill it's deadly load all over my plant. If I leave it be, the plant will

Idea! I sliced the leaf off as close to the heart of the plant as
possible. Then, I covered the weeping oozing stub with a heaping large
mound of Baking Soda.

Baking soda is a dessicant, and will dry things out. It was part of the
Natron salt mixture that Egyptians used to dry their dead for

Low and behold, it worked! The weeping stub of the soft rotted leaf was
sucked dry, and formed a crust. Being a very very dry and ionic
environment, any bacteria sucked out with the fluid would die instantly.

About a week later, after the stub was good and dry, I gave my plant a
thorough drenching, because Sodium/Salt Water can be bad for orchids.

The orchid had of course cut loose the dead stub, like any dying leaf, and
it fell away. I was worried the Baking Powder might suck the plant dry,
but no extra watering was needed before the big drench.

It's been 2 months, and my plant is now fine.

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