Winter approaching, scared of powdery mildew!

Begonia2005(7)October 11, 2013

I would appreciate some ideas about how I can avoid powdery mildew this winter.
Last year a few of my plants got PM and I know fur sure it was because of the larger fluctuation of temperatures between day and night. I keep my plants in the breakfast nook/area because this is where we have lots of windows which makes this area the brightest in the house. The rest of the house really does not have enough light for AV-s neither do we have appropriate space anywhere else to place my flower stands.

Unfortunately, these windows in the breakfast area date back to the 80's so they are somewhat drafty. They have not been changed to thermopane so we have relatively poor insulation there and it can get pretty cold in the winter. We DO plan on changing the windows to the entire house but we are currently still renting so we can't do anything about it right now. We will have another winter where it gets chilly in the breakfast area, especially at night.

One of my stands (where I grow under artificial lights) sits against one window where I have placed a sheer curtain. This can help a little by keeping the cold/draft away but not much.

The other stand is a corner stand, more decorative/pretty and it sits right between two windows, in the corner of the room (I had a picture under the "what's in bloom" thread). This is where I place plants that are blooming - just for the "pretty" effect. When they are done blooming I take the plants back to the light stand - because the decorative one doesn't have lights. There is also no sheer curtain there.

I understood that it might help if I got a small fan to circulate the air. I am still, however, concerned with the fluctuation of temps we will have in this breakfast area during the winter - and I have no other place to keep the AV-s.

Moreover, I just recently wicked my plants. On the one hand, this is good for the winter because humidity will go down so you want to have water evaporating around the plants. On the other hand, if it gets chilly inside and you have temp fluctuations, all that water sitting around from the wicking might make things even worse.

Any advice would be welcome!

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Linda

Begonia,

I had PM last winter and placed saucers with sulfur around my plants. Worked like a charm. I also tried spraying Lysol, which didn't.

You can also try running your lights at night to bring up the temps. a bit. I run mine at night in the winter, to bring up the night temps., and the summer, to lower the daytime temps. Fluorescents don't give off much heat but it helps a little.

You can also use Physan 20. Here's a link:

Linda

Here is a link that might be useful: Physan 20 for African Violets

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 1:27PM
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Begonia2005(7)

How exactly do I use the physan, Linda?
Should I spray the plants with it, as preventative care ?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 9:51PM
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Linda

Begonia,

You can use it as a preventative and/or a cure. Read the sixth point on the attached site. It has the correct proportions for av's. I would try the sulfur first. I was amazed at how effective it was.

Linda

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 1:34AM
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Begonia2005(7)

Linda,

Just one more question: if I go with sulfur, where should I buy it from? Also, is it toxic?
Sorry to sound so ignorant but my chemistry is not necessarily stellar. :-)

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 8:29PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

i I saw horticultural sulphur powder sold in nurseries. And there is plenty on ebay. Even vaporisers for it are sold.

M best guess is too use is a light dusting - and make sure that during application you use something to cover eyes and nose and mouth - something you can purchase in Home Depot. I would be at least in my glasses and cover my nose and mouth with a cloth, hands - with latex gloves.
depending on the size of the collection - you can do it outside - and bring the dusted plants back.
It is not extremely poisonous, especially when it is dry - but you do not need it in your lungs, eyes and lungs - anywhere where you have any kind of moisture. After you are done - take a shower and wash your clothes.
I am doing it every time I use anything on my plants. Physan 20 probably the less dangerous of them all - it is a stuff they use in swimming pools.

I think you can use some kind of a soft brush - to shake above the plant. Or there are special dusters if you find one.

Irina

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 9:17PM
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Begonia2005(7)

I don't want anything toxic that would require all the ritual with the mask and washing clothes after, so maybe I'll go with the physan. Hopefully it is completely harmless but then again, nothing sounding chemical-ish seems to be completely so. :(

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 10:36PM
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Linda

Begonia,

I put a small amount in a plant saucer and set in among my plants. I have about three to a 4'' bench. It is a miracle solution! When I first read about this I thought, "Yeah, right. Nothing can be that easy." I was pleasantly surprised. I've even gotten it wet when watering. The water evaporated leaving the sulfur behind. I still had no problems so I am assuming the sulfur wasn't affected. It's worth a shot.
I got mine at Worm's Way. They have mail order of there's not one near you.

Linda

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 3:20AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

I would say the mask is recommended when you are dealing with perlite as well - the best if you buy a bag -is to rinse it on a sieve - outside with the hose - and only use it without fine dust. Plus - definitely cover your mouth and nose while transfering to the sieve. Is perlite poisonous - no - do we need a fine volcanic glass powder in our lungs - absolutely not.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 2:35PM
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