Pumpkin Leaves turning silver?

Erik777(9B)July 13, 2012

Hello Everybody,

New to the forum and new to gardening. I recently made the step from growing herbs in the kitchen to full garden in the backyard.

I planted pumpkin (jack o lanter and sugar) from seeds about a month ago. They're growing pretty well as far as I can tell but when I checked on them yesterday, some of the leaves are turning silver on just about every plant. See the attached picture.

It doesn't seem normal? But having never grown pumpkins before, I don't really know what normal is.

Thanks.

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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

I had a plant that might have been a pumpkin (lost the tag) and all its leaves were a beautiful silver. It bloomed, but never set fruit and then expired in the intense heat. It may be that it's just the leaves maturing and turning color. If you have the name of the pumpkin, google images of it and see what it looks like.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 2:36PM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

On a more ominous note, this could be powdery mildew. Can you wipe off the silvery stuff with your finger? Check out this link; you might want to cut off a leaf and take in to a nursery for a good dx.

Here is a link that might be useful: powdery mildew

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 2:45PM
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Erik777(9B)

Thanks for the replies.
I did read about the powdery mildew and tried wiping off the silvery stuff and it will not rub off.
I did stop by Baker Nursery on my way home from work this afternoon and show them the picture and they said it was "perfectly normal", but it sure doesn't seem normal to me.
I had been watering at night, with sprinklers nonetheless, which I've read is a no-no and one of the prime causes of the powdery mildew but I stopped doing that once I noticed the silvery stuff.
It's on at least one leaf on all 16 of the plants. Other than that, they look perfectly healthy and seem to be growing like weeds.
I suppose I'll take your advice and cut a leaf and bring it to the nursery to be sure.
Thanks again for the advice.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 9:06PM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

I checked on a pumpkin that I bought at Bakers a couple of days ago and guess what? One of the leaves is silver colored and there's nothing wrong. No mildew, no nasty little bugs; it's just silvery. I think it will be OK. Unless the heat does it in. I'm putting mine under some shadecloth.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 9:40PM
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Erik777(9B)

That's interesting. Did you buy a transplant or seeds? Mine are from seeds (Botanical Interest). And they are also under shade cloth.
I still think I'm gonna cut a leaf off and take it to the local nursery (I live on the westside, nowhere near Bakers) and see what they have to say. I'd hate to lose all these plants. Being new to the gardening, I've been fascinated and amazed by the growth of these things in such a short amount of time. Is there any cure for the powdery mildew or is it a lost cause?

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 10:35PM
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phxlynne

Same thing happened to me - on two different plants (spaghetti squash and zucchini). They ended up turning brown and dying, but now both plants are pushing out new green leaves.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 1:07AM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

Really? New green leaves? I may not pull that 'dead' plant out after all. I've been so disappointed that squash, of all plants, just could not stand up to the heat. When everyone else is talking about being swamped by zucchini, I've got zilch. :( I'd love it if the plants miraculously came back.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 1:35AM
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Razzby

I had this pop up on my zucchini and summer squash in the past few months. Are you noticing many white flies? For my garden, I saw a correlation. I found the linked article.

We obviously don't live in Alabama, but it sounds the same. We doused the garden with pesticide soapy water for a few days and the plants started putting on green leaves. If we don't treat the garden every couple weeks, the flies increase and the leaves start to silver out.

The white flies also don't like kelp/fish emulsion on the leaves and we use that, too.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Coosa County Agent

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 3:31PM
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Erik777(9B)

Hi Razzby,

That's interesting. I actually have noticed some very, very small white gnats/flies in the garden in the last few days...however not on the pumpkin leaves. They're all over my melon leaves which look perfect and have no signs of discoloration.

I ended up taking the picture to a 2nd nursery near my house and they said it looked like maybe I was over-watering. But said it definitely didn't look like powdery mildew.

Now I'm really confused. Guess I'll just wait and see what happens to it. If that thing doesn't make some pumpkins though, the kids are gonna be super disappointed.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 4:10PM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

"If that thing doesn't make some pumpkins though, the kids are gonna be super disappointed."

Well, so are the grown-ups!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 7:00PM
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Erik777(9B)

Haha...yes, they will.
Maybe I should have held off bragging to the neighborhood kids that they'll be able to come to my house to pick their own pumpkins this year.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 11:37AM
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lazy_gardens

That's a normal color change for squash grown in extreme heat.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 10:01PM
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captaininsano

Sorry to ad to an older thread but I am seeing silver leaves as well, the plant seems healthy enough, normal wilt during the hot part of the day but back to normal as soon as the suns recedes. I hope lazygardens is right, and it makes sense as I am in Peoria AZ. and the heat is extreme.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 1:23PM
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