The next time you find yourself dealing with a pesky fungal or bacterial infection on your orchid, the answer to your problem might not be at your local garden center—it’s probably right in your home.
Believe it or not, the contents of your medicine cabinet or pantry can be used to help maintain healthy orchids. That’s because many herbal remedies have natural anti-fungal or anti-bacterial properties that can help protect against many orchid diseases.
Not only does it taste and smell good, cinnamon is a natural fungicide, which makes it useful for protecting your orchid plant from fungus and bacteria.
How to Use It: After you have trimmed your orchid’s leaves, stem or roots, sprinkle a little dusting of cinnamon over the areas. You can sprinkle the seasoning over the area you’d like treated or dip the area directly into some cinnamon. Just make sure the areas you’re sprinkling have been moistened to help the powder stick.
2. Isopropyl Alcohol
This common household staple is good for sterilizing things or cleaning wounds and it can help rid your plant of mealybugs. These little white creatures can infest your orchid, hatching and hiding in tiny nooks and crannies, leaving behind a sticky substance and chewing through your plant. Often horticultural oil or insecticidal soaps are recommended to treat a mealybug infestation, but if you don’t have any on hand, try isopropyl alcohol.
How to Use it: Dip your fingers, a cotton ball or a cotton swab in the alcohol and remove any mealybugs you see. Continue treatment by spraying the alcohol on the plant and removing any more hatched mealybugs that look like little yellow spots. To make sure you’ve gotten all the pests, pay particular attention to any crevices, folds or lips on your plant or pot.
3. Antiseptic Mouthwash
It can do wonders for the health of your mouth, and it can help fight bacterial infections and keep insects from invading your orchid.
How to Use it: Spray directly onto the affected area of the orchid and let sit for five minutes. Then tip the orchid so the remaining liquid drains off. You can also spray your orchid once a week to prevent any insect infestations. Be sure to only use the unflavored, or gold, version of the mouthwash as the flavored versions have extra additives that may be harmful to your orchid’s health.
Check your cabinets. You might just find you have everything you need for orchid care and maintenance right inside.