Powdery Mildew

Powerdry Mildew on Crape Myrtle

This is a Black Diamond Crape Myrtle called Pure White. I don’t think they meant the leaves, however. It, along with the one next to it, Best Red, were sent to me this spring as test plants to see about their hardiness. Unfortunately they arrived fairly battered so I’ve been growing them on in the pot to try to get them to a decent size for planting.

Each plant is affected by mildew. Nothing around them–annuals, tender perennials, and behind them are perennials and shrubs planted in the ground–are affected so I’m going to say that it is a particular characteristic of these plants that makes them susceptible. I am not amused. I don’t like finicky plants.

But maybe they’re not getting what they need. This is the “temperate East” as I persist in reminding folks and it has been way cooler than normal this summer. Maybe they need to bake. They are not baking this summer, although it has been a lot drier than normal. It just hasn’t been quite as warm as normal. Perhaps I ought to set them on the driveway where they’ll get more sun. Perhaps they’re not getting enough.

How will I treat them? Disease is a funny thing. Once plants have it, it’s hard to treat. And I’m not a huge fan of spraying stuff-any “stuff” whether it’s organic or not (despite the Spoiler’s latest transgressions) because whatever gets sprayed tends to affect insects that land while what you’ve sprayed is still wet. If I do spray anything, I’ll spray in the evening, and I’ll take these to a place where I hope there are no pollinators nearby.

And I might try my “old farmer’s remedy” first–milk and water–just in case. The Spoiler’s already done enough harm for 1 summer.

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3 thoughts on “Powdery Mildew

  1. It has pretty much worked on everything I have ever tried it on, including peonies, lilac, begonias & rosemary (talk about something you don’t want to spray!). I’m not much of a spray-er myself but this has to be treated. When I get test plants, I can’t just ignore issues.

  2. Oh, but here’s another thought for your phlox & monarda. Have you tried the trick from the Well-tended Perennial Garden of cutting the outer stems in half? I used to do that occasionally when I grew those plants. You’re in a more humid climate–not sure if it would work for you.

    The idea is just to increase airflow to the plant. You can also cut every other stem in half. It gives you a longer bloom time, while increasing air flow and ideally decreasing mildew.

    Good luck.

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