Answer: Based on your description it is difficult to make an exact diagnosis, but it sounds like your plant may be suffering from one of a variety of fungal or disease problems (the black) as well as possibly mildew (the white spots). Since some of these can be quite serious, you might wish to take a sample to your County Extension (644-4455) for a definite identification and suggested controls. In the meantime, avoid watering the foliage and pick up and remove and destroy any fallen leaves or stem or branch bits to reduce the chances of reinfection. I hope it's nothing too serious.
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