Black stems on salvia

river_crossroads z8b Central LouisianaJune 23, 2013

Hi all,

I cut off stems with black on them from Coral Nymph and Purple Majesty next to it today. Leaves on the blackened stems were withered but the plants look healthy & the black on the stems does not scrape off. We have had a lot of rain (dangerous flooding in San Antonio) and probably my salvia is too close to each other. No easy solution on space as I have either too much sun or too little sun in other locations.

Purple Majesty probably on left and Coral Nymph on right - only these 2 with black stems so far.

Purple Majesty plant is peeking around pot on right

L to R below: Van Remsen, Coral Nymph, Purple Majesty (not in bloom)

Salvia has been blooming and looking good, see pictures of blooms on link. Coral Nymph is a local plant, Purple Majesty and Van Remsen arrived as beautiful specimens from Rich Dufresne last July, Amistad pictured arrived this April from Flowers by the Sea looking great.

Pictures on link - pot of Amistad is temporarily placed next to Purple Majesty for picture & color comparison - normally much more space between them.

WhatâÂÂs with the black stems? What should I do? Thanks so much, River

P.S. I have the plants staked. Maybe there was pressure on those stems? But other staked stems look ok.

Here is a link that might be useful: My salvia in bloom - see captions

This post was edited by river_crossroads on Mon, Jun 24, 13 at 8:40

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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

It's likely that your plants have Pythium infection (black leg). You need to improve drainage, especially with a lot of wet weather and heat.

Xeric and high altitude sages, such as those from the Andes, are especially vulnerable.

Here is a link that might be useful: Geranium-Phythium Blackleg

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 10:41AM
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river_crossroads z8b Central Louisiana

Shoot, it's serious. Thanks Rich, I really appreciate your expertise. Best, River

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 11:31PM
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hollie_z9(z9Santa Cruz CA)

I am so glad to see this post because I have the same problem with my May Night. I knew they weren't doing well by the leaf drop and poor blooming but had never checked for blackened stems. I checked and they were black.

So I pulled them out, fearing the disease would spread to the dahlias they surrounded. Now I see white moldy spores on the soil in the bed and wonder what to do about that? Do I treat the soil with something?

The article didn't mention whether this disease could spread to adjoining plants like Dahlias, does anyone know?

And how did I get this in the first place...the bed was not overwatered, the salvias were in their third year of bloom and kind of rangey.

Thanks so much for posting this.


    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 1:10PM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

Moldy spores (sclerotia) might be an indication of Southern blight, which is mostly indiscriminate. I've found a pretty thorough article on its description, symptomatology, and control.

Here is a link that might be useful: Southern blight

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 10:51AM
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