Pests and Diseases forum: Mini Sunflowers - were they done in by pest, disease, nutrients, or etc.?

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Sep 2, 2017 8:51 PM CST
Hi all,

Sunny Smile F1 (mini) Sunflowers, container grown in fast draining mix. Zone 6. Weather unremarkable. Fertilized weakly every other watering. Neighboring plants in the same containers are all fine. These sunflowers were in great shape for more than a couple of months, except for a few small holes noted in some of the leaves. A couple of weeks ago noticed the sunflowers ceased re-blooming and appeared very distressed.

Going by the photos, can anyone indicate exactly what happened? Very curious if it was likely pest or disease or nutrients or even a natural death of old-age, etc.


Thumb of 2017-09-03/jyzn6/391ace

Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Sep 3, 2017 4:47 AM CST

It could be a combination of things but compare with images of Septoria leaf spot on sunflower here:

Were they being fertilized with a product that contained all the essential nutrients, i.e. including trace elements such as boron, copper, zinc etc.?

Sep 4, 2017 8:30 PM CST
Thanks for the welcome!

The spotting does look similar to the Septoria helianthi you indicated (perhaps with a powdery mildew in addition?).

And yes, ferti-gated with a 3-1-2 ratio complete with micros. (The mix also had a small amount of CRF (with Ca) added, in case I missed a few days.) The sunflowers have been removed, but other varied plants cohabiting the same containers are still thriving.

The character of these sunflowers changed so fast, the main reason I asked was to try to get a hint what to look for early on if I grow them again next year.

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