Phal Virus Quandry

redphal(7b)March 11, 2011

Just this year I started collecting phals--grocery stores, flower shows, mail order, garden centers. When I started I didn't know about how prevalent CymMV and ORSV viruses are in phals, and amassed a substantial collection (50+ plants) without doing any testing, except visual inspection and spraying. The phals are all healthy in appearance, from root to flower. I've repotted almost all of them to semi-hydro, and treat them with Physan 20 and other good stuff.

However. After reading on the forums about CymMV and ORSV, I got some of the Agdia strips in order to test some new phals I'd just bought. And the majority of the new phals, which I'd had quarantined, were infected with both viruses. Again, they were outwardly healthy, but I still returned the phals. I bought more tests, and started checking my main collection, but I have a *lot* of plants and it will take a lot more tests to get through every single one. And just from a quick sampling I found two out of three tested plants are infected.

So here's my quandry: do I try and weed out all the infected plants, knowing it could easily be half or more of them, for the sake of the uninfected plants? Or do I just accept that there are infected plants and ultimately accept a virused collection? I have no intention of doing any breeding or trading, these plants are just for my own enjoyment. But I do want healthy plants that will bloom again for me next fall, and I would feel just awful if the viruses ended up killing everything.

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albertan(Florida (10))

It is true that many phals entering the country are virused, show no signs of virus and are passed by aggie agents at customs. If you are not hybridizing, stop worrying and enjoy your investment. With proper care they will rebloom and continue to give you beautiful blooms for years.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 10:36PM
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It all depends of where you want to go with this hobby. If you are content to get most of your pants from HD or Lows, enjoy them and toss them if they fail to perform, which they will in time. If on the other hand you wish to expand the hobby, possibly get into species and begin to buy plants from reputable orchid vendors either directly or at shows, then toss the virused plants and start all over.

Phals don't really do it for me but occasionally I see a nice intergeneric Onc at HD but resist the urge and never buy from the big box stores. I would not test all of my plants but from observing their leaves and flowers am pretty sure that the incidence of virus is fairly low. However once a plant is ID'd as virused it has to go, no way around that.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 8:45AM
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