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Best Fungicide for White Powdery Mildew?

KP Devlin
2 months ago
last modified: 2 months ago

I recently found some grey/white dusty looking stuff on one of my Crassula sp. plants. Looked just like pics of the white powdery mildew I've seen online. I pulled off the affected leaves (all of them), stopped watering for awhile and then when the leaves started growing back it looked great. For a few days. And I now just noticed the fungus is back on a few of the leaves. Additionally, on the other side of the room, my big Pachypodium had several yellowing leaves, which on closer inspection also had the white powdery mildew on them. All affected leaves have been removed. We've had quite a bit of humid weather here lately, so maybe that is to blame?


In any case, I need to get rid of this crap NOW. I don't see any evidence of it on any of the other plants here (Euphorbia, Senecia, other Crassula, etc), and these plants are all located in between the two affected plants. I imagine I should treat each plant thoroughly with a fungicide, yes? What is the best fungicide to use? I see all kinds of opinions online about copper, baking soda, liquid soap, etc., etc. What would be most effective ane efficient at putting the kaibosh on this stupid fungus's dastardly plans?

Comments (70)

  • Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.)
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    KP, no problem. Let me know how they do, ok.

    Mike)

  • KP Devlin
    Original Author
    last month

    Just an update... So far the powdery mildew has not reappeared on the first jade or the Pachypodium since treatment with Daconil last week. The Pachypodium was actually left out on the patio after being sprayed because it weighs about 100 lbs in its pot and I just couldn't do anymore heavy lifting that day.


    Inside, most of the plants look fine, but - and I'll post this here since it might be a related issue - I just noticed these black spots on my Euphorbia lactea. Pic posted below. Is this also a fungus? What the heck is going on here? I've kept Euphorbia and jades for 30 years and never had any problems with them. They've gprwn like weeds, I've taken cuttings and started new plants, many cuttings have grown into huge plants at friends' houses... And now, summer 2021 comes along and all this is happening. In doing web searches, most of what I'm reading says that the black spots are some sort of rot that occurs in cold weather, particularly when a plant has been outside and exposed to the elements. This Euphorbia is in a sunny window and we're in the midst of a hot July. It HAS been very humid, but not that much more humid than a normal NYC summer. Just wanted to post this pic and see what you folks thought. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.




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  • KP Devlin
    Original Author
    last month

    Is it possible these are burn marks on the plant? I sprayed the Daconil in a shady spot and left them to dry. But perhaps I moved this guy back to his sunny window too soon and he still had some droplets on him that caught the sun and burned the plant? I'm hoping that's all this is.

  • Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.)
    last month

    KP, looks like mechanical damage or burn marks..Is that the only spot with those marks? Is it the side the sun hits? Also, do you spray your plant with water a lot at night? I know it's been raining for weeks here. How about there?

  • KP Devlin
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Thanks, Mike. I hope you're right. There are a few marks on other parts of the plant, but 90% of it is on that side. I rotate the plant every few days so I don't remember what side was facing the sun, but it could very well have been that side. I'll get a few pics of the other marks in just a sec...

    I guess if it starts to get worse, I'll pick up some of the Bonide Infuse you mentioned and if it starts improving I'll be a happy man! :-)


    edit - and no, i never spray the euphorbia with water. It has been a very rainy and humid July though.

  • KP Devlin
    Original Author
    last month

    One more pic where you can see a few other marks. Still think it's sunburn? These look a little different, but I can imagine blops of the Daconil pooling there in those spots and then getting hit with sun.





  • Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.)
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Did you have these spots before you sprayed? Was it flowless then? Or did you notice them devolving then used the stuff?

    It looks like disease this latest pic, like a fungus from too much rain, but let me know. You can always halt any of that with a good systemic like I just showed you. But the key is to use it asap, as soon as you notice a problem.

  • KP Devlin
    Original Author
    last month

    I hadn't noticed those other spots before spraying. I guess I'll pick up a bottle of the Infuse tomorrow. The systemic sprays - is it as important to cover every inch of the plants?

  • Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.)
    last month

    Oh yes. Make sure you cover the entire plant and let it dry before placing it back in the sun. At least this one burns nothing. I use it on my roses, perennials, all my cactus and jades, succulents and shrubs. Make sure to read the instructions on how frequent)

    KP Devlin thanked Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.)
  • KP Devlin
    Original Author
    last month

    OK will do. If I can't find this particular product locally is there another systemic fungicide you'd recommend? Otherwise I'll just order from the link you sent and wait a few days for it to show up. Thanks again - I really appreciate the quick replies!

  • KP Devlin
    Original Author
    last month

    Ah - never mind. I ordered a bottle of the Bonide Infuse and it should be here by Thursday. I'm feeling good about this now. Gonna eradicate this crap!

  • Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.)
    last month

    I would use nothing else. I have been in the landscaping business for years treating plants, and then just for personal use. And the only one that works as good as this one is the Infuse. I have found no other after years of losing plants and spending tons of money. The only other good product which is an organic one but does not treat systemically is 'Serenade". I use that for fruits and edible fruit only.

    I can't risk using my succulents and other other non edible plants so that is my go to. I order mines Amazon if I am too lazy to go out and get it. It is a common product at my local greenhouse garden centers. In fact because it is such a great product there is a back order locally because most use this on their lawns to prevent mold and mold on their grass,. Keep me posted and you can even e-mail...

    KP Devlin thanked Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.)
  • ewwmayo
    last month

    Looking forward to hear good results! In the USA there are so many good products. In Canada we just get sulphur only now.

    KP Devlin thanked ewwmayo
  • KP Devlin
    Original Author
    last month

    Got a bottle of the Infuse today. Soaked every inch of every succulent I own, let them dry off and brought back inside. Closer inspection of one of the jades revealed lots of fungus on the trunks and branches - this is the plant that had been dropping leaves like crazy the last few days. I chopped it back a bit so I could get better access to the trunk and soaked it as best I could with the spray. Fingers crossed I got it all. Will watch closely over the next few days to see if the leaf drop stops and maybe I'll even see some signs of improvement.

  • ewwmayo
    last month

    It's actually a good idea to rotate fungicides as well, just like other pesticides. Hope it continues to improve for you.

  • KP Devlin
    Original Author
    last month

    Thanks! I do have more Daconil on hand and will be watching these plants like a hawk. The jades were definitely affected the most. Growth on them had been almost nonexistant this year and now I believe I know why. Hopefully that will turn around now.

  • KP Devlin
    Original Author
    last month

    Any idea why the E. lactea would look like this the day after being sprayed? This is the same side that I photographed in the first pic. The Pachypodium's leaves are also covered with black/brown spots and splotches today. Could this be the fungus dying? Or is something else going on now? Did I spray them TOO heavily?



  • KP Devlin
    Original Author
    last month

    To have happened this quickly I have to think that these spots/streaks/splotches are just residue from excessive spraying. Most of the plants have it. I'm going to just assume all is good and watch for some vigorous new growth! Thinking positive! :-)

  • Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.)
    last month

    KP, that is crazy!! I was looking at mine yesterday and thank God none of them developed disease, well one did. I had to toss it. I forgot to spray that one all along. I am so upset, so I feel your pain.

    Who knows what happened on that. I hope it only gets better. This rain is killing a lot of things even though we need rain. How ironic. Keep us posted ok.

  • KP Devlin
    Original Author
    last month

    Could the fungus have spread that quickly? Does that look like what has happened? I guess I'll just have to watch and wait.

  • KP Devlin
    Original Author
    last month

    Attached are several pics of plants today. Yesterday none of this was anywhere near this bad. And on the Euphorbia here, nothing was noticeable at all yesterday. Is it possible that the fungus was there for awhile and I just didn't see it? And I just caught it too late? 3 weeks ago everything seemed very healthy except for one jade that had the powdery white mildew on it. I never thought much of that - never encountered this in over 20 years. I really hope I don't have to toss any of these. I've had some of them since the 1990s. The Pachy and jades all grown from seed or single leaves. Ugggghhhh.






  • Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.)
    last month
    last modified: last month

    KP, did you spray your plants with Neem as stated above? Those in particular?

    And, are you all of a sudden getting hot sun?

  • KP Devlin
    Original Author
    last month

    They did all get sprayed with Neem oil, yes. Sun has not been out a bit but certainly not blazing sunshine. Have I just sprayed them with too many things that might be having adverse reactions on the surface of the plant foliage?

  • Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.)
    last month

    I ask because that is exactly what happened to many of my succulents when I use it, They burnt and turned brown even in just bright light... I am so sorry. But they will be marred but will probably be ok.

    I guess it will be a wait and see. Remember, even if your plants got just a bit of afternoon sun, even on cloudy days, the ultra violet rays are enough to burn many sensitive plants and especially white ghost.

    Many will use Neem at a very weak does, I mean weak, then stick their plants in shade for at least a week. Many even wash their plants off of the oils before sun exposure. I will never use Neem on mine again.

    Infuse is much safer and that is what I use without burn at all. Serenade is another one all organic. I have not tried the others so I do not have any opinions of those.

    Ah man, I wish you had know about Neem. Not all hope is lost though)

    I think they will recover. You may not like the looks of the damage and look for ways to cut off unsightly parts, but do not be so ready to toss them away.

    KP Devlin thanked Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.)
  • KP Devlin
    Original Author
    last month

    Oh thank you. I was hoping to hear something like that. I will not toss my plants but I WILL toss my leftover Neem oil. That does make sense when I think about it - it's an oil. What did people rub all over themselves in the 70s when they wanted to get all bronzed up at the beach? OIL. So I basically sent my plants to the beach, slathered in tanning oil. I guess I should have done more thorough research.


    Ok, I feel a lot better now. Hopefully the growth on the plants will be more vigorous now and those marred areas will just be a reminder of a mistake I once made. :-)

  • Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.)
    last month

    Nice comparison)))

  • KP Devlin
    Original Author
    last month

    I'm updating now purely for therapeutic reasons! I've gone from being the confident and proud owner of an army of healthy and thriving succulents to overseeing the saddest, greasy, sunburned bunch of brown stumps on the eastern seaboard.


    I had to completely defoliate all three jades this morning. All remaining leaves on all three plants were withered, pock marked and mushy. They also felt greasy to the touch. I guess that's the neem oil. I was hoping to be able to keep a few leaves on each branch, but they were all completely fried. The trunks are a darker shade of brown now too, but they still feel firm and the branches were all green in the center when cut, so I feel confident leaves will grow back on all three. And perhaps I can take this opportunity to reshape them a bit too.


    As I was feeling the greasiness of the leaves, something occurred to me... Would the coating of neem oil on the plants have been likely to shield them from the subsequent applications of fungicide? Perhaps the Daconil and Infuse weren't able to penetrate and just contributed to the gooey mess that covered all the leaves? I'm certainly not going to spray them again now, and since the leaves have all been removed there's no need to rinse them or anything. Planning to just watch them now and hope for the best when new foliage begins to sprout.

  • ewwmayo
    last month

    Since oil is not soluble in water, it probably prevented the fungicides from being able to reach the affected tissue. It's better not to create new openings for fungus to reach inside the plant and for sure it will not be in any position to have vigorous growth. Wouldn't recommend pruning as you may be asking for trouble!

  • KP Devlin
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Oh god... Well if I didn't kill them before I've done it now.

  • KP Devlin
    Original Author
    last month

    What should I do now? Each time I've taken it upon myself to make a decision here - using the neem oil and now pruning the dead sections of the jades - I've made a blunder.


    So the reality is, after torturing my plants for the past two weeks it is quite likely that they are still infected with the fungus, the jades potentially seriously so. They are already stressed as hell from my attempts to cure them... And now my choices are to watch them finish the process of dying or at least start showing signs of fungus again... Or subject them to further spraying? Since I realize now that I should not make any decisions without first consulting someone knowledgeable like you guys, I will wait for your advice.


    My inclination would be to do nothing at this point. Further spraying would seem to me to be stressing them further. My only hope is that the two applications of fungicide did penetrate the neem and that the plants just need to recover now. The feeling in my gut is that I will be throwing away about 15 plants next week and buying a few plastic ones to replace them.

  • ewwmayo
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Recommend to follow the instructions on the bottles for the fungicides. Separate the most affected plants from the ones that are still healthy. Try not to spread the spores and cause more damage. You have Daconil and Infuse which are highly effective products/tools, if used correctly.

    I understand that this is stressful. Might have to chalk this one up to the growing learning process. Some steps are not irreversible, which is unfortunate. Having a good plan in the start and then executing that plan is what I find best.

    The advice I received from Bikerdoc/Howard helped me save my collection when I had major fungal problems starting 2-3 years ago. It was a tough time in my life and my collection suffered as a result. Lost a huge number of very expensive and irreplaceable plants. However, I took his own experiences, performed my own research, and then created my own treatment/prevention plan from that.

    Overall, it is challenging to sort through the myths and maybes - my personal collection is large and quite valuable so I try to stick with things I am certain will work. For sure there are cheaper and alternative treatments, but for me cost and difficulty/process of treating my plants is of lesser concern.

    KP Devlin thanked ewwmayo
  • KP Devlin
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Thank you. You're absolutely 100% right. I guess it would have been nice to have encountered this fungus crap 10 or 20 years ago so I would have been prepared now. I never encountered it until this summer. And I should have posted here and gotten good advice before rushing on my Neem decision. Had I done that I would have used Daconil or Infuse first and probably would have a group of plants on their way back to good health. That one hasty decision proved to be very costly, and my poor plants are paying for it. I now know what to do in the future though, and will keep Daconil and Infuse on hand for future use.

    All of my plants are in the same space, lining the very long and deep windowsill in our living room. And no real need to separate anything because every single plant is showing ill effects from the fungus and my well-intentioned but ill-conceived effort to fix things.

    Hypothetically... If I were to rinse all the plants with water to remove any Neem residue and then spray again with Infuse would that be a good move? Or would I only hasten them to their doom? My other choice is to just let them sit there and hope to get lucky and at least some of them start to rebound.

  • Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.)
    last month
    last modified: last month


    K P, do not feel bad, ok. We have all been in your place at one time. Trial and error but you will get much better rather than taken off guard)

    Ewwmayo, what is your treatment plan? I would love to know. Do you spray before signs of trouble to prevent them in the first place and with what?

    Much appreciated)

    KP Devlin thanked Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.)
  • ewwmayo
    last month

    Added note: In my plant journal I keep dilution ratio for spray bottle + tank sprayer and other key info on one spreadsheet tab. For each, I keep columns with X's to indicate which fungus or mold issues either is effective against.


    My journal also includes warnings for which are toxic to certain plant genus so I can set them aside. Electronic labels and safety info are kept in a dedicated folder on my computer as I find that easier on my eyes.


    Here is what the fungicide section looks like:



  • KP Devlin
    Original Author
    last month

    Thanks, Mike. I do feel bad, but you're both right - it's an experience to learn from. Now I'm curious to see how many - if any - of these plants make it.

  • Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.)
    last month
    last modified: last month

    KP, they can always be replaced in some way, certain ones that is. If you want a few cuttings and know how to root, I have plenty I can share with you. Let me know, ok

    A few unusal jades and others that might make you a bit happier. Many here know I have rare finds)

  • KP Devlin
    Original Author
    last month

    Oh, I know. I've had much worse things happen to me! This is a pretty fancy problem to have. :-) And thank you - everything I have is either from cuttings or seeds. When I rebuild my empire I'll likely do it that way again but with a few larger plants mixed in. I'm not giving up. Just feeling disappointed today. And thank you - that is a very nice offer!

  • KP Devlin
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    If there's one plant that I'd consider irreplaceable it'd be the 25 year old jade that I grew from a single leaf I rooted in 1995 or so. Huge 3" diameter trunk... Would you just leave it alone and see what happens... Or try giving it another spray of something? Is there any way to safely remove any neem residue from the trunk? I'm guessing this is just going to stress an already traumatized plant. But while I'm willing to leave the others' fates to the universe, should I try a last ditch effort on this one? What would you guys do?

  • ewwmayo
    last month

    I try to keep them drier as mold likes moisture. Spraying too much is a bad thing as well so be careful, whichever way you decide. Maybe the others who use neem can advise what they do.

    You can't even really buy neem here in Canada anymore.

  • KP Devlin
    Original Author
    last month

    I did have a few more questions... I tossed the E. lactea ghost and one other plant this morning. Both looked terrible and I don't think they were coming back. The top section of my E. ammak has shrunk considerably, has brown streaks an may be next to go...


    Anyway, my questions:


    1. I keep all of my plants in nice terra cotta pots. I'd like to keep the pots, so should I sterilize them with something? Bleach? Vinegar? Or just rinse in hot water and let dry? I don't want any lingering fungus to infect the next plants I put in these pots...


    and...


    2. We are about to move and I was planning to move my plants with us. I guess one bright spot with this is the move will be a little easier... So if any of the plants survive and start looking better, what are the odds they might still be carrying some of the fungus on them? I would rather just dump everything, call it a total loss, and start anew in the new house than bring something with us that will just start a whole new plague and kill my new plants...

  • ewwmayo
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Not sure the next steps, but complete sterilization is probably very difficult or impossible? Fungus lives in the environment, inside and outside, including where you buy your plants from. Fungal spores are extremely resilient, so maybe some research to see if those methods are actually effective?

    More importantly, see if you can improve your indoor grow conditions or watering technique/strategy to keep it under control and in check? You have two fungicides which work. Scorched earth wouldn't be my recommendation so all depends on your comfort level and personal decision.

  • KP Devlin
    Original Author
    last month

    Well, it's funny. I think my indoor growing conditions were fine for the past 25 years. Same place, same window sill, same everything. I always check with a wooden dowel stuck down in the substrate before watering. I use mostly very gritty bonsai soil, that drains super well. My plants grew like crazy and always looked wonderful. Until this year. Something triggered this outbreak this summer and I don't know what was different. Maybe the super rainy, humid weather we've been having. Maybe I overwatered a few times early in the spring when it was still chilly... I don't know.


    But I understand what you're saying - don't go nuts sterilizing the pots, when the fungus is - and could be - anywhere at any time and given the right conditions will proliferate. And also good to know that you guys have armed me with the proper way to handle this if it comes back.


    OK, I think I'm good. Will rebuild bigger, better and with more knowledge. Cheers guys. Be well!

  • Stush2049 Pitts. PA, zone 6
    last month

    KP Devlin, Why didn't you take fresh cuttings off your E. lactea Ghost before tossing it. They are easy to grow from cuttings. They take a while to root, anywhere from 3 months to a year but then they grow very well. Same with your ammack. My E. ammack took a year to root but then rewarded me with over a foot a year growth. Place them upright in pure perlite and mist lightly after a few months but never let then sit in moist soil. Keep in bright spot but not in the sun. The following year re-pot or re-plant into cactus mix.



  • Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.)
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Stush great advice)

    K P, there are some of mines that never go outside for the very same reason. Many orchids do not either. Just too humid and moist for certain plants and it is not the roots that concern me in my good draining mixes. It is the top parts getting infected with disease that does. I feel your pain.

    Inside, it is always a better controlled environment verses outside where it can do anything at any time with temps and moisture.

    Certain plants can handle that and others, forget it.

  • KP Devlin
    Original Author
    last month

    Thanks, Stush. To be honest there wasn't much healthy looking growth on the lactea left to cut off. I'll buy another one soon. I'll be mixing up my own substrate going forward, and thanks to good advice from tapla, ewwmayo and others in my other thread, I think I'm going to have good results.

  • KP Devlin
    Original Author
    last month

    Meyermike - I've got a couple of nice bright (and dry) windows for Euphorbia and other succulents at the new house. Getting things set up here now.

  • KP Devlin
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    A few more pics. I've thrown out several plants because the black/grey streaks basically were extending over the entire plant. Here are some that I haven't been able to part with yet.

    First - I basically chopped the once 6 ft tall E. ingens and E. lactea rubra down to stumps. The tips where new growth had been had turned black and mushy and streaks of grey that I'm not sure if they were fungus or sunburn or what, but they didn't look good, so they all got chopped off. What are the chances these guys will recover from this and put out healthy growth at this point? I was prepared to lose everything so I'll just keep an eye on them and if they come back then that'll be a bonus:







    Two of my three jades are still here. They lost all leaves - mushy shriveled and grey/black by the time they fell off or were plucked off. One of them appears to have a few new light green buds coming out on a few of the top branches (see pics). Most of the other branches are shriveling up, some falling off with black tips. Is there hope for this guy?



    The other jade is completely bare and has no sign of buds anywhere. I'm assuming it's dead but will observe for awhile longer before pulling the plug. Here's a pic of one of it's trunks (four or five of its branches had also touched the soil and rooted, so it was like a miniature banyan tree. I think I see fungus inside the splits on the trunk, so I'm guessing there's no hope for this guy:



    And lastly, the Pachypodium. All leaves gone, there are some tender new leaves at the tips, but they look kind of curled. You can see that there is grey discoloration at the tops of each branch. Should I chop the ends of all branches back? Hard to tell but to me this one looks like it should bounce back.





    I'm prepared to just lose them all, but these are the ones I still have a little hope for. If they're still ok in a week or so, they'll get moved to the new house. My next question though would be... How do I know for sure that these plants are healthy and aren't still carrying fungal spores that could spread to new plants at the new house? I haven't ordered any new plants yet but am planning to soon. The new ones will all get potted in my new home made substrate of crushed granite, pumice and horticultural grade turface. This should improve the odds of avoiding this problem going forward.

  • Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.)
    last month
    last modified: last month

    K P ,

    I think they will all make a full recovery in a nice dry environment in a sunny window quicker than you think. It's not the roots that died but top parts that got marred and ruined)) Watch , within weeks you'll will be amazed at how resilient your plants are my friend. Please keep us in the loop on updates. I can't wait to see new growth op the way you like)

    I would not worry about the spores. As long as you don't make a habit of over watering and top watering the plants, they should be fine.

    Mike

  • KP Devlin
    Original Author
    last month

    Hey, Mike. Thanks! I like your optimism, and will cautiously maintain some of that myself! I may just chop the ends of the Pachy's branches to be safe. It'll be cool to get some more branching on it anyway. And it'll make it easier to transport that way too! The new location will be much drier. The house has excellent windows, as opposed to the drafty ones here... I will update soon. :)