The Q&A Archives: Cleome Diseases

Question: My Cleome plants develop a problem in the stems after they are well established and mature. The a brown spot appears as if something was boring into it. (I have not been able to find a worm or insect.) The infected area grows as much as a few inches. It looks as if the stem is dried out. The flower dies from that point up and the stem falls over at the infected site. What is it, and how do I control it?

Answer: Cleome (Spider Flower) is susceptible to fungal infections, and is sometimes attacked by rust. These problems tend to develop during rainy seasons.Try to increase the air circulation in and around the plants, keep water off the leaves and stems as much as possible, and pinch out any affected plant parts before the fungi can mature and infect other, healthy tissues. There are no registered chemical controls, but careful inspection and prompt removal of leaves or stems that develop the problem should keep it under control.

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