Prevention and care of house plant diseases

Elvis Elvis

Fungi are the chief causes of house plant diseases. The diseases are passed from house plant to house plant by your hands, infected soil and flower pots, and air circulation.

Strangely, a fungus is a plant, but one that is not welcomed in our homes. It’s a primitive plant that produces spores. These spores florish in dark and damp areas, resulting in different types of house plant diseases. Lack of sanitation and poor indoor environmental conditions weaken plants and set the stage for the propagation of house plant diseases.

Poor sanitary and environmental conditions are:

  • Overwatering,
  • Inadequate light,
  • Insufficient ventilation,
  • Extremely high humidity,
  • Use of unsterilized potting mix,
  • Dirty pots,
  • The presence of destructive insects.

House plant diseases and attacks by house plant insects can destroy all your plants. Very importantly, some house plant insects create the medium for the growth of fingi which lead to the propagation of house plant diseases. For more details about the destructive insects’ contribution to the presence of house plant diseases go to House Plant Insects.

Prevention and care of house plant diseases

Damage to plants caused by house plant diseases are:

  • Plant tissue rots, becoming soft and pulpy.
  • Leaves turn brown or yellow; or are marked by spots, bands or depressions.
  • Vital plant functions are disrupted – the photosynthesis process is hindered because absorption of light into the plant tissue is blocked; the absorption of water by the roots is slowed down.

Bacteria also cause house plant diseases; such as, leaf spots.

Damage Caused by House Plant Diseases and Their Treatments

House Plant Diseases Most Susceptible Plants Identifying Symptoms Control & Treatment
Anthracnose – a fungus Aglaonema, Citrus, Ficus, Kalanchoe, Oleander, Palms Depressed spots on the leaves have dark rims and dark, dry centers. Leaf tips shrivel, turn brown and leaves may have dark strips. Remove damaged leaves. Water infested plants just enough to keep them from wilting. Use a fungicide to prevent the infection from spreading to other house plants.
Botrytis – a fungus African Violet, velvet leaf and hairy-leaved plants A gray-white mold growing on the upper leaves of the plant Cut out and destroy the infected foliage. Water less and increase the ventilation.
Crown and Stem Rot – caused by fungus African Violet, Aglaonema, Begonias, Cacti, Dieffenbachia, Geranium, Gloxinia, Philodendron Crown and stems get soft and pulpy from overwatering, excessive humidity and very high or low temperature. Cut out and destroy the infected parts. Dust with a fungicide. Water less and adjust the temperature.
Damping Off – a complex of several house plant diseases Seedlings Seedlings rot off at the soil line. Sow your seeds in new pots with sterilized potting soil mix.
Leaf Spots – bacterial or fungal infection African Violets, Dracaenas, Geranium, Gloxinia, Ligustrum, Roses Spots have yellow margins with white, brown or black centers. Infected leaves fall off. Remove the infected leaves and treat the rest of the plant with fungicide. Improve ventilation and humidity. Water the infected house plants less.
Mildews – parasitic organisms Ficus, Roses and plants kept in damp areas The parasitic organisms coat leaves with a gray substance which prevents the absorption of light into the thin leaf tissue. Remove the infested leaves, lower the humidity and increase the ventilation. Use a fungicide if the problem continues.
Molds – a variety of fungal infections Ficus, Roses and plants visited by the ‘sucker’ insects The sticky honey dew substance excreted by ‘sucker’ insects encourages the growth of a sooty black mold. The mold prevents the absorption of light. Overwatering leads to a gray-white substance forming on the soil. Wash away mold with lukewarm soapy water. Determine which insect; aphids, mealybugs or scale; is causing the problem and treat accordingly. Use a fungicide on moldy soil. Water the infected house plants less.
Root Rot – caused by fungus African Violet, Aloe, Begonias, Cacti, Gloxinia, Kalanchoe, Palms Leaves will get brown, wilt and fall off leaving bare stems. Remove the infected plants from the flower pots and gently brush soil away from the roots. If root rot is present, the roots will be discolored, shriveled and limp.

Dutiful application of the treatments reccommended above would give you great relief from infectious house plant diseases. Not total elimination, just a pleasant relief. Now, to maintain the healthy and green appearance you have attained for your plants and to keep house plant diseases in abeyance, get a low toxic alternative plant food from Victorpest.com.

A final note of caution: Always remove the sections infected by house plant diseases, using a sharp knife, and isolate the affected plant from the rest of your beauties, while you apply the appropriate treatment.