The Q&A Archives: Mildew On Columbine

Question: HI,
I have a powdery mildew type of problem with my Columbine. I used Daconil weekly for two months last summer with no change. The emerging leaves are fine and then they develop a white type of mildew on tops of leaves only and then those leaves turn yellowish and die, but new leaves are emerging all the time. It started on one plant but has spread to all of the columbine in that planter but not to the other plants (hostas, ferns, alberta spruce and impatiens). The planter is in the shade and is very moist in the summmertime. But even now with our very mild winter the new leaves are being affected and the plant has not been watered much. Also, it has not affected the other columbine in my yard.They are fine for now. Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you, Michele Dorner

Answer: Columbine is prone to a fungal disease called powdery mildew. The spores spread through splashing water and travel on wind currents to infect other plants. Once established, powdery mildew is difficult to control. Most fungal diseases develop during rainy, wet weather, but powdery mildew develops when daytime temperatures are warm and nights are cool. The disease is not dependent on water on the leaves. You can help your columbines resist the disease by cutting back the affected plant parts (down to ground level if necessary), providing afternoon sunshine, and lots of air circulation in and around the plants. Best wishes with your columbine!

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