We’re pretty accustomed to seeing orchids as decorative houseplants, but of course, they grow outside too. They come in a bunch of varieties and are incredibly diverse; orchids add something truly special to our gardens. They’re aesthetically unique flowers, and best of all, they’re surprisingly low maintenance!
However, their existence isn’t without obstacles. Namely that of predators.
Annoyingly, orchids are the prey of many animals and insects. Today, we are going to be looking at exactly what they are and all you can do to defend against them.
So, what eats an orchid? Lizards, squirrels, rats, mice, snails, slugs, aphids, mites, beetles, weevils, cockroaches, and even caterpillars are known to eat orchids.
That’s 12 potential predators, and there’s likely more too.
So your poor orchid(s) are, naturally, quite vulnerable.
With this in mind, let’s delve deeper into these predators, along with tips on how you can deter them and salvage your orchids.
Besides, there are plenty of different and potential threats to be wary of, so it’s worth sticking around!
What Is Eating My Orchid?
You might be surprised with this one, especially depending on where you live. You may not even think they are a real threat.
The truth is, lizards can be found frequenting a variety of habitats, from grasslands and moorlands, and plenty of others!
They live in many different locations and in many different varieties, too.
Most of which are fond of flowers like Orchids.
When they spot an orchid shrub in their vicinity, they’ll happily eat it.
Whilst they’re predominantly interested in the roots of the plant, they’ll eat its flowers too.
Squirrels are another culprit, but a much more expected one.
They solely prey on the orchid’s flowers, leaving the rest of the plant intact. Hence, the damage caused doesn’t tend to be fatal.
Rather, they cause the most damage during their digging escapades.
Squirrels frequently burrow holes in which they store their winter food stash, and when they do so, no surrounding plant is safe!
Rats and Mice
Rats and mice are particularly dangerous to an orchid because they can eat a lot of it and fast to the point where your orchid may not be salvable.
Slugs and Snails
If the climate is cold and wet, you can pretty much guarantee that snails and slugs will be out to play!
If you have orchids in your garden or even inside on your window sills, the pesky bugs will undoubtedly come for them.
They’ll chomp their leaves but pose the most risk when they attack the roots, spreading all sorts of diseases in the process.
As a result, the orchid’s growing conditions become heavily compromised.
Aphids love most plants, and orchids are no exception.
They operate by sucking the nutritious juices out of the plant, which in turn leaves it all out of energy.
This is particularly true when they’re present in high numbers. Given that they reproduce tremendously quickly, this is often the case.
Like most flowers, mites are a common predator.
These generalist feeders are immensely small and hard to detect, though they stick around unless they are effectively removed.
Beetles and Weevils
Beetles or weevils love to eat orchids and are known to lay their eggs in the flowers. Once hatched, their larvae will begin to eat the orchid right away.
Beetles typically rest during the day and, thankfully, can be removed pretty easily, as we shall see in a future section.
Cockroaches are a common pest for orchids and do not spare any of the plants for eating.
They’ll go for the flowers, roots, and stems if not controlled, which is why it is essential that you do.
Caterpillars are yet another critter that is capable of inflicting considerable harm on our beloved orchids.
They eat the plant’s leaves and petals, chewing as much of them as they possibly can.
They work notably quickly too. Hence, stopping them as soon as you notice their presence is fundamental!
How Do I Stop My Orchid From Being Eaten?
Saving our orchids is a must, and fortunately, it’s possible. For ease, we’ve shared the most effective solutions below. Read on to learn more.
Scent deterrents are an effective solution too. By placing repellent scents on or around your orchids, you’ll ward off unwanted species!
If you have a squirrel problem, opt for cayenne pepper. To deter lizards, try black pepper.
And if you find yourself dealing with insect invasions, citronella should do the trick!
The scents are easy to get your hands on and easy enough to administer. Just remember to spray a couple of times a week for the best results.
Lizards prey on insects, so the fewer insects you have on your orchids, the fewer lizards you’ll have too!
A great way to deter squirrels is to install a fence around the perimeter of your orchids.
Make sure that the fence is about a foot in the ground to prevent them from digging the plants up and a few feet overground to deter them above the surface.
What better way to get a job done than to do it yourself? That’s why I recommend removing bugs such as caterpillars, slugs, and snails from your orchids by hand.
All you need to do so is a pair of gloves and a bucket of soapy water.
We appreciate that picking aphids, mites, beetles, and weevils off your orchids by hand is a pretty difficult, if not entirely impossible, task.
Did you know that the best way to remove aphids from any plant is to simply knock them off with water?
All you need is your hosepipe and a steady and powerful water stream.
With a thorough spray, they’ll be gone in no time!
If your orchids are the victims of insect invasions, you could pop to your local garden store and pick up an insecticide.
You’ll find that many are toxic and not so environmentally friendly, so keep your eyes peeled for a more natural, organic solution.
They do exist!
You can also terminate insects through the use of neem oil.
Simply apply it all over the orchid, and the moment that insects come into contact with it, they’ll suffocate and die.
Many gardeners prefer neem oil to store-bought insecticides due to its innately natural and non-toxic nature.
After all, neem oil is derived from nature itself – specifically, the neem tree.
How Do I Get My Orchid To Flower Again?
Getting your orchids to flower again will be tough if their roots suffer significantly. In such a case, an orchid replacement may be the only option.
Serious circumstances aside, by nature, orchids are low maintenance and relatively durable. So, keeping them healthy and flowering is straightforward enough.
Optimize Growing Conditions
In terms of their growing conditions, they need a lot of light but should be shaded from intense afternoon sunlight.
Their preferred climate is one that is humid, and they grow best when fertilized.
For best results, fertilize your orchids monthly during autumn and winter and fortnightly during their flowering season.
Prune Your Orchid
Additionally, pruning your orchid by cutting off its dead leaves and bulbs will make way for new healthy growth.
Finally, don’t forget the pest control! Our above-outlined suggestions will keep your orchids pest-free and in good shape!
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