The best way to avoid spreading fungus to your other plants is to:
NOT BUY ORCHIDS with issues.

Unglazed Orchid Pots, spiritlinepottery.com

FUNGUS HAPPENS. Especially in the Pacific Northwest!
Unless you're cultivating mushrooms, 
you don't want this in your home or greenhouse.


And strangers bearing gifts . . .
 (aka orchids that won't bloom for them)
Yes, and you know who you are...
Thanks a bunch for the this lovely oncidium and it's funny fungus.
Some orchid varieties are more prone to disease than others.
Phals are generally more fungus resistant, plus a great orchid for beginners.

The best way to avoid root rot is to NOT buy plants that have it!
I like the big box stores before mother's day...who can resist a nice new orchid?

Look for air roots that are plump, not shriveled, vibrant silver-green with pinkish-reddish tips.
Or, if they have pseudobulbs, look for smooth, firm bulbs that are not wrinkled.
In all cases look at the potting medium. Does it look fresh and smell clean?
Do the roots look healthy? Or do they belong at the bottom of a fish pond?

No matter the species...
Hold the plant up to the brightest light and look under the leaves for 
tunnels inside the leaves/stems, fuzzy white mites,
tiny red spiders, tiny spider webs,
micro "cotton balls", or brown fungus spots.

This healthy plant in the photo (below) is a phalaenopsis, or 'phal'.
The roots tell us it's an air plant, or a member of the epiphyte family.
One of it's air roots was pinched in transport, but is not diseased.

I was always confused by the variety vs species...but it's easy to figure out.
This baby phalaenopsis is an epiphyte.
'Moth orchids' big and small take water and nutrients
from air vapor with sponge-like roots.
The green roots act also as hybrid leaves --photosynthetic!

Let your phals be snug in their pots.
Clean polished rocks look natural and give them a sense of security.
Epiphytes do well snug in hanging baskets, or mounted to cork bark.

Space around the potted plant improves air circulation
and  adds room for the roots to go exploring.
Moth orchids like mist on leaves and wandering roots.
They like a bowl of clean water nearby.
A tray of aquarium gravel under the pot is a great way to add humidity.

Unglazed Orchid Pot, spiritlinepottery.com

UNGLAZED ORCHID POTS, spiritlinepottery.com

If you choose to nurse an orchid with lots of life left in it...
keep it away from your other plants.

I use a solution of 75% purified water and 25% rubbing alcohol on the leaves
for fungus and mite control.
Cotton squares help you see what's been eating your orchid.
Change the cotton squares often to avoid spreading disease.
If cutting fungus out of a leaf, use clean, sharp scissors.
Be sure to clean them again with the alcohol solution before moving on to your other plants.

When in doubt I read:
Is my go to book for disease control ideas.

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