disease killing my gesneriads

egk47(Z6 OH)October 5, 2013

I had been growing various gesneriads for years. About 3 years ago, my few gloxinias, began to die. There leaves looked like they were a little sunburned, the plants became stunted, then died. My African violets began to die also. (it looked like root rot.) When I tried to start new plants, the leaves would not root. My columneas' leaves began to died also, and I lost a few plants. Finally my achimenes are stunted. Some of them have had the same sunburnt look to the leaves. My one strep is hanging on, but no blossoms for 2 years and the leaves tend to die

Any ideas? I use new soil and I believe I clean the pots out well.


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Ed, it is possible you have mites. From what you are describing with stunting and looking like sunburn it is a very good possibility. Did the violets and gloxinias show damage in the center of the plant and stunting? Also, are you finding the strep leaves are dying on the tips of the leaves and the leaf looking grayish? These are signs of mites. You can see them if you have a strong magnifying glass if you use a very bright light. They don't like bright light and will run.

If this is the case, at this point I would discard any plants left. The insects will just go from one plant to another infecting the health plants. My best advise is to start over, toss any remaining plants.

Irina usually is around. I would watch the responses to see what she thinks maybe going on. If you can give answers to my questions this will help Irina and anyone else who might have have any ideas.


    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 9:05PM
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egk47(Z6 OH)

Thanks for your help!

Yes the centers did seem damaged and stunted. The strep and columnea leaves die first at the edges then the entire leave turns gray.

Year ago I had a mite infestation and I treated it with systemic, a power that was mixed in the soil and poisoned the mites. Could that work again?


    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 10:02PM
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Yes, it could Ed. It will be a process though. You also run the risk of another infestation. If you do not have many plants I would opt to toss them all and start over.


    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 11:39PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

I am thinking that Dave is correct. Toss the sickies, clean everything with Clorox solution - pots, shelves, windowsills - and give it some rest.

There are 2 possible issues - mites and INSV virus. INSV - it hopeless - trash can is the only solution. It stunts the plants to the point that they succumb to the root rot etc. Signs - concentrated burn looking spots on the florist gloxinia leaves, distorted flowers, variations in color on AV leaves.
Mites - they kill plants when they feed because of the poison in their saliva - and dead tips, diminished and distorted leaves on AVs, muted colors on flowers are their signs.

I do not know about any anti-mite systemic that works through soil. I know several that work when you spray.

If you are really into finding out what's wrong - you can check with your county extension office if they look at your plants under microscope for mites and can run a test for INSV.

You can get rid of the mites relatively easily - the spray I would recommend is Forbid 4F, you can get a small amount from ebay 1/4 oz for $18.50. It is a systemic and will kill them off in one spraying.
If it is a virus - you will be wasting your time. If you post some pics with more typical damage on this forum - we can probably be more specific.

good luck

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 1:16PM
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