Suffering streps

amilder(z8 Central TX)September 30, 2004

Hi all,

My streps have really suffered this summer and I thought I'd ask here to see if anybody had seen this problem before. The ends of the leaves turn grayish and look a little fuzzy. It spreads most quickly along the sides of the leaf toward the center of the plant. I believe it is some kind of fungal disease? I've been chopping away, trying to remove the bad leaf parts, with some limited success. The leaf dies and stays grayish. On one plant much darker sections appeared, away from the ends. That plant got so bad I tossed it.

I have a bunch of other gesneriads, from an AGGS seed package, and they are all doing fine (except the strep seedlings, which died!) Actually I have one unifoliate (monocarpic) plant which may be a strep, and it is doing well. Lots of sinningias that are doing great also. An African violet has been blooming and growing all summer. Whatever this problem is, it seems to target the rosalate streps only (so far.)

Could it be heat related? Central Texas summers are long and hot. I keep the room around 78-80. The plant area near the window may get up to 80-84. It doesn't cool off much at night- plant area may get to 78 at night.

Could it be air flow? I have a ceiling fan in the room always running, but some shelves get more air flow than others. The shelf with the misc. gessies probably gets the most air flow.

I'm very careful with watering, I don't think overwatering is a problem. I could take a leaf sample to work here and look under a microscope- anybody know what to look for?

I tried Neem oil at one point and it may have helped- I will try it some more. (I'd use it more but having to mix it each time is bit of a PITA for a busy guy like me:) Also it stinks and the plant room is also my bedroom.)

It will start to cool off in a few weeks here- I hope that they perk up. It would be nice to see them bloom- some have tried to bloom, but the plants are so small and scraggly I've been disbudding them...

Sorry for the length- I wanted to give details but maybe went overboard.... Anybody got any ideas/comments? Want to see a photo?

Andy in Austin

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robitaillenancy1(zone 5)

Would love to see photos. Why not spray just before you leave for work in the morning so you won't be bothered with odor.

Andy, with the very hot room temperatures and humidity you have to be careful with streps who prefer cool temperatures.

Without seeing pictures I would suggest botrytis blight which will spread so do isolate this plant, unless it has already been sent to strep heaven.

Take the infected leaf in and look at it under the microscope. Without seeing the picture I wouldn't guess at what you have. But I would spray with Neem Oil and Benomil. Check other surrounding plants ever few days.


    Bookmark   September 30, 2004 at 10:46PM
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amilder(z8 Central TX)

Thanks for the help. You are right, I will try spraying in the morning once a week. I posted a picture in the gallery section but it didn't turn out so hot. My camera doesn't allow for close-ups. The gray fuzz is quite prominent on the right side from the cut on up, fading out as it gets closer to the plant center.

You mentioned botrytis- I looked it up and you are probably right. I was thinking Powdery mildew but that is supposed to be white and form circular patches, which I don't see.

Here is a link that might be useful: gallery posting

    Bookmark   October 1, 2004 at 9:08AM
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jon_d(Northern Calif.)

In my conditions I haven't seen what you describe so hopefully Nancy has it right. Streps come from mountains in South Africa, on the summer rainfall, dry winter side of the country. So, they actually do get some heat and humidity in their summers. But, they are up high so don't get high temperatures. I think anything below 80 should be OK--though I think they do like to cool down at night. AV's actually grow where night time temps are the same or higher than in daytime, by the way. Let us know how your treatment for botrytis or fungal problems works out.

For triming streps I recommend using "strep scissors", a term I invented. What they are in reality are Fisker's Ripple Cut scissors, one of many patterns of decorative cutting scissors, which can be found in art stores. I am sure that Austin, with it huge university should have good art supply stores. Other patterns might also work as well or better for simulating the pattern of strep leaves. For example, I also have a pair of "Chirita Scissors" (Fisker's wave pattern). When trimming with them you get a fairly natural look to a leaf.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2004 at 3:35PM
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amilder(z8 Central TX)

Thanks Jon,
I'm going to try Neem oil periodically, as well as a little more air movement. We're starting to move into cooler weather, so if I can lick it now, hopefully I won't have to worry about it again until next summer.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2004 at 11:50AM
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