The Q&A Archives: Yellow Spots and Shrivelling Stems On Impatiens

Question: I have planted your impatiens from seed for over 20 years in the same large bed. It's a mass planting in front of a 100ft fence in front of a pool fence. I used to plant Blitz, but you no longer offer it. So I've tried various varieties over the years, but for the past 2 years, something is very wrong. The plants grow beautifully from seed and after setting them out, they develop yellowing of the leaves and the stems seem to shrivel and die off. I plant over 150 plants and all seem affected except the ones in the deepest shade. Most are in sun for a large part of the day, but I never had this happen before. I suspect it's some type of fungus or bacteria, but wonder if I can ever plant Impatiens in this bed again. I haven't ordered my seeds yet as I'm at a loss as to what to do. This large bed is a focal point of my property and I need advice.

Answer: Unfortunately it does sound as though the problem is transmitted through soil and/or perhaps contaminated tools and seed starting equipment. Verticillium wilt, among other possibilities, might be the cause of the symptoms you have described. You might wish to contact your County Extension for a more specific diagnosis and recommended control measures, if any.

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