Is this botrytis blight?

2 months ago

Hello everyone! I’m new to this forum. I’m a sixteen year old kid who is crazy about African violets. I’ve been growing them for the past four years and have been reading this forum for just as long. You guys are very knowledgeable about violets, so I was wondering if you could help me determine whether my violets have botrytis blight or powdery mildew. The blooms on my Optimara Montana II have always had a tendency to get white powdery mold, then translucent brown spots that would spread to all the flowers and make them dry up prematurely. The flowers look like the color is getting sucked out of them. It has never affected any of my other plants for four years until the same thing happened to the blooms on my Optimara Michele today. The Optimara Michele has the same symptoms except it has one patch of darker gray mold instead of white. The leaves are unaffected on both plants. They are currently quarantined in another room. I have looked up the symptoms many times before but I cannot decide which mildew it is as there is not much information about botrytis blight. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance and have a nice weekend,

damask_rose_5 : )

Comments (8)

  • judy musicant

    Hi Damask Rose,

    I've been waiting for some of the true experts to respond to you, but I thought I'd weigh in with a couple of thoughts. I did a little research on botrytis, (never having heard of it) and what you describe and show in your photos seems to match some of the symptoms. However, you say that your O. Montana has had this for quite a while and you don't say you've treated it with anything. If that's the case, what I read about botrytis suggests the plant would have died by now. I've had a lot of powdery mildew over the years, and I've treated my plants with Spectricide Immunox, and more recently, with Topas, which I purchased on Ebay, as recommended by Irina, our resident expert on all things African Violet, and that seems to have helped the most. Whatever your plants may have, I suggest you treat them with a fungicide, if you haven't already. That shouldn't hurt them, and certainly may help. Good luck, and keep us posted.


    damask_rose_5 thanked judy musicant
  • damask_rose_5

    Hi Judy!

    Thank you so much for your advice! I will treat my violets with some neem oil tomorrow as other fungicides may not be safe for my cat. After hearing your input I think it is probably just a bad case of powdery mildew, but the only thing that is getting me worried are the translucent brown spots on the petals. I will trim off the brown flowers and hopefully the neem oil will take care of the rest. Thanks again for your help and I will definitely keep you guys posted.

    Have a nice evening,

    damask_rose_5 : )

  • irina_co

    I agree with Judy. Botrytis is usually tied to a very high humidity. PM - with cold nights/warm days.

    Regarding Neem Oil - it is not super efficient, more a preventive than cure. Remove all open blossoms on these plants, not only the ones that are evidently damaged.

    Regardiing your cat - if you spray your plants in a bathroom, let them dry before putting back - he will be OK. If he - or she likes to chew on leaves - put them higher. You can add some Tabasco or take somefresh orange peels and squeeze them to sprinkle on the leaves. Cats hate the smell of orange peels. My cat chews on some gessneriads - Streptocarpus, Sinningias, Kohlerias, Smithianthas - and leaves the rest alone - so I keep them up.

    Have fun and many blossoms to you.

    PS There some plants that are PM magnets... and some that bloom very close - but are much more resistant. So may be you think about getting something else instead.

    damask_rose_5 thanked irina_co
  • aegis1000

    " PS There some plants that are PM magnets... and some that bloom very close - but are much more resistant. So may be you think about getting something else instead."

    Tagging along to Irina's helpful comment above, ... there are so many similar looking AV varieties, ... that you almost never have to put up with a particular varieties drawbacks.

    For instance ... a good variety that looks somewhat like your white-based blossomed plant ... is "Heaven's a' Calling". It grows well, blooms a lot, and doesn't have the PM problem. I've had it for awhile now ... and haven't been able to kill it.

    "Heaven's a' Calling" is, typically, available from ebay seller PJ's Violets.

    damask_rose_5 thanked aegis1000
  • damask_rose_5

    Hi Irina and Aegis! Thank you so much for your help! I'm glad to hear that it's just a case of powdery mildew and not botrytis blight. For some reason neem oil seems to work well for me to treat powdery mildew, maybe it is the different growing conditions. I tend to use more than the label says so that may be why as well. Yesterday I removed all of the open blossoms and sprayed the plants. Hopefully that should get rid of the mildew. Also, thanks for the tips for my cat Irina. They are mischievous little creatures aren't they? He is an outdoor cat because he is feral (we are working on getting him accustomed to coming inside) and my mom won't let me spray fungicides or pesticides inside the house, so that is why I usually opt for the kitty-safe plant products. He does have a habit of shredding the primroses in my winter flower bed. Do you think Sriracha would deter him? I'm not a fan of Tabasco sauce : ).

    "Heaven's a' Calling" is a stunning violet! It really does look Heaven sent. I will add it to the top of my wish list. There are so many beautiful African violets available for purchase online but buying violets online can be a bit pricey for me so I usually stick to the Optimaras from the big box stores. The problem is I'm short on space as well. I have five African violets and even then it's one too many. Between my violets, my peace lily "Domino," and my giant bird's nest fern, my room has turned into a jungle. (Not that that's a bad thing.) My policy is there's always room for one more...even if there isn't. Maybe I can swap some of my standards for miniatures if someone does a Round Robin this spring. I've always wanted to try miniatures, especially ones with fantasy or fantasy puffs. Or variegation. Those are to die for! I'll take any really. I love them all!

    Thanks again for your expertise, and I wish you all perfect rosettes and plentiful blossoms!

    damask_rose_5 : )

  • irina_co

    Neem oil will work - but you need to do it once a week = and you need to make a fresh batch every time. Use hot water and add a drop of dishwashing soap. Ivory, Dawn...

    Probably the wandering cat will not be interested in a Neem oil as well. I think there is a special solution for chewing pets you can purchase in a Pet supply store - Bitter Apple. Supposedly
    tastes super bitter. Outside= I would grind some orange peels and sprincle around Primulas.


    BTW - outside animals are pretty much covered with fleas - so treat your buddy with antiflea medication - several drops on his neck where he cannot lick. Otherwise they will invade your house - and flea bites are no joke.

    damask_rose_5 thanked irina_co
  • damask_rose_5

    Hi Irina! Unfortunately the brown spots have spread to the flowers of my Optimara myDelight. I will spray my African violets once every week until the powdery mildew is gone.

    As for my cat, sorry I didn't specify, but he doesn't really eat the primroses, he tends to shred them when he is playing and he also uses the winter flower bed as his litter box. He was completely uninterested in the plot before I planted anything there, but as soon as the flowers went in, it turned into kitty wonderland for him. Oh well, that's cats for you. Can't live with them, can't live without them. Also, the little guy is flea-free right now, but we will give him anti-flea medication in the summer months when he is out and about.

    Thanks for your help and have a nice day,

    damask_rose_5 : )

  • irina_co

    You have a plan!

    I would try orange peels on primroses still. May be the kitty will move his playground somewhere else....

    damask_rose_5 thanked irina_co

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