A Fungui Among Us? Botrytis?

The title may make light of this but I have a serious issue.  I first noticed some thing was not right  in November.  Some of the plants showing increased and premature death of the peripheral (bottom) leaves.  First it started with them going limp yet the watering schedule remained constant.  Also I noticed the containers with the plants affected appeared no not need watering.  They were heavier, as if absorption levels of the water were reduced.  Then it hit hard and fast.  First, almost over night pots of plants took on this look.  What appeared to be healthy leaves mixed in with dead or dying leaves.  The The dead leaves would be removed and the other leaves died.  The absorption rate of the plant was markedly reduced.  

Concurrent I had a number of suckers that I have been propagating that frankly were not progressing at all.  As if they were stalled.  For example here is a Shimai that I put in to root in late Oct.   I apoligize for the image not being in focus but I never planned to post the image (as this plant is no more) but the purpose was to give you the idea after 3 months in a 2 1/4 inch pot.  It just did not grow.



I then removed the cutting and to my grim surprise discovered  literally no roots after 4 months!   See image below.

As the weeks progressed the situation worsened. see the below examples. 

At this point I lost 60%+ of my collection and a couple of plants that I had for nearly 30 years.   There is a point when one starts to seriously think bout walking away.  I have been growing African violets for 30+ years and frankly was totally discouraged.  Now that said I decided all was lost why not research the issue and see what if any can yet salvaged something and maybe some thing positive can be taken away from this (no idea what), but who knows. I searched the web getting more discouraged as I read as most of the advice was just pitch the entire collection and start over.  I did find an interesting YouTube presentation how in a hydroponic situation when a rot fungus was active he added some 38% hydrogen peroxide to a gallon of the hydroponic solution.  So I started watering the plants with hydrogen peroxide.  Nothing positive was happening. So I started umping the concentration.  At one point OI was watering the plants with 32% hydrogen peroxide.  To my sheer amazement the plants were unaffected, yet they did not seem to improve and the infection spread.  A possible solution to halt the spread?
After the hydrogen peroxide did not work or appeared to not work quick enough, I did find a product on the web called Dithame M-45 which was a broad spectrum fungicide (as I was uncertain exactly what fungus I was dealing with).   It was a fungicide that was obviously made for agricultural purposes and the directions for preparation was if reference to making a batch of 50 gallons at a time.  After some quick calculations I needed 1.8 grams per liter of water.  

This material had in its direction packet that it can be used to control Botrytis blight in African violets.  It was used as a spray.  So I got a spray bottle and was set to give it a try.  

One a week now for 3 weeks I have strayed and watered with this material.   Literally drenching the plant.  So far the outcome has been a bit positive.  Plants with the early stage of this fungus appear to be stable and not progressing into the death spiral, but plants that were too far along the path we literally consumed and died.  As time progresses we will see.  But this entire experience has been most frustrating and really took the joy out of growing chimera African violets.  I will have more information in the months to follow as I am concurently tring to save certain plants that I really do not want to lose, mainly for sentimental reasons.

2 Comments

  1. Bobbi johannsen
    Posted May 12, 2017 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to hear. If you grow avs long enough, you will run into some kind of problem. The really dedicated av freaks will persevere, and hopefully overcome. Not necessarily an easy thing, but a learning experience. Good luck on hanging in there and figuring it out!

  2. admin
    Posted May 13, 2017 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the words of encouragement….I need them.

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