sick plant - Knowledgebase Question

tacoma, wa
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Question by onlyoneprinc
March 16, 2005
I have read the questions about the bougainvillea bot I could not find anything about a white powder on my leaves and stems. I live in the NW and purchased it last year. I brought it indoors last winter and was doing well until a couple of weeks ago. The leaves started to fall off but I did'nt worry becaus it has happened before.But this time it's gotten worse.The leaves are turning black and I discovered the powder. I've made phone calls to area nurseries but no help. thank you for your time.Felicia

Answer from NGA
March 16, 2005
What you describe sounds like powdery mildew, a fungal disease. Your Bougainvillea may be under stress due to insufficient sunlight. Couple that with dry air (common indoors during the winter months), and poor air circulation and you can understand how your plant might develop disease problems. There's not much you can do to control the disease other than removing the affected plant parts and changing the growing environment so your plant can recover. Your bougainvillea should spend the summer months outdoors so pruning now (in early spring) will get it ready for a trip out into the garden. When you bring it back indoors next autumn, be sure to provide direct sunlight (or supplement natural light with fluorescent lighting) and give your plant a shower every few weeks. This will rinse off any dust and discourage insect pests. It will also increase humidity around the plant (and make it think it experienced a rainshower).

Best wishes with your bougainvillea!

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