The Q&A Archives: Controlling Verticillium Wilt in Impatiens

Question: I am looking for suggestions for the management of verticillium wilt in a bed of impatiens. Are there any colors or cultivars that are less susceptible to verticillium wilt? Is there anything I can add to the bed to make it less conducive to the spread and survival of the Verticillium fungus? If impatiens must be abandoned entirely, what do you recommend as a colorful, shade tolerant, flowering plant that is Verticillium resistant? I save seed from year to year. Is that compounding my problem? Julie Steele Cardington, OH

Answer: You might want to try growing some of the more modern hybrid impatiens that tend to be less susceptible to wilt diseases. Once you have verticillium in the soil, it will remain there for a numnber of years. Avoid growing other wilt susceptible plants such as tomatoes, petunias and peppers. I'd rotate plantings, trying begonias, torenias or pansies in that location. Also, the seed saving could just be spreading the wilt to other areas. Consider growing these impatiens in a container with sterilized potting soil to see if they still have the symptoms. Then you'll know it's in the seed and you'll need to destroy the seed.

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