Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2014 3:17 am

What is this White Growth that's Killing my Plants?

Hi guys
I'm a novice gardener so I could use some help.
I started a herb garden recently and vegetable garden recently. Ive noticed my veg plants are getting this weird white growtn first arounf the stem which soon spreads to the entire plant. My jalapenos and curry leaf have both got the same. it also has gone onto other flower plants as well.
Any ideas as to what this is and how I can control it? Thnx
plant pic.JPG

User avatar
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Sorry you didn't get a response. I didn't know and I hoped someone else would. When I saw your post was still sitting here I went looking. I think I found the answer, but unfortunately it is all bad news. I believe this is Southern stem blight, aka southern blight, white mold.

It is a plant disease that usually only occurs in warm areas (hence the southern). You didn't say where you are.

Here's one picture of it I found, looking pretty much like yours.

https://beanipm.pbgworks.org/sites/beani ... k=g983O5e1

It usually occurs like yours on the stem down near the soil, but can spread to any parts that are near the soil, such as if leaves or fruits are hanging down. And it spreads down into the roots.

It is pretty deadly and there is no real cure. They say as soon as you spot it on plants, you should remove and trash the whole plant (not in compost pile), to try to prevent it from spreading through your garden. Many plant diseases are specific to one type of plant or one family of plants, but unfortunately this one can infect over 500 different plants. So if you don't get it out of your garden, it can take over your whole garden. The spores and maybe other parts of the disease organism are in the soil, so you can try treating your soil. That would be with heat treatments, including solarization (look it up), soil drenches of fungicides, deep plowing, and then adding a lot of bioactive compost.

Most important is prevention, especially now that you know it is in your garden. It likes warm, moist conditions. So you want to keep your garden as dry as you can and with good air circulation. Keep your plants well spaced and pruned so as to promote air circulation. Water as little as you can (infrequent deep watering) and only water the soil. Mulch heavily to prevent soil from splashing up on to the plants.

All fungicides whether organic or chemical/synthetic work better as prevention than cure, especially for this disease. So start from the beginning of the season spraying all your plants with fungicidal sprays as well as drenching the soil. Respray the plants every couple weeks or so. Organic fungicides include hydrogen peroxide, diluted milk, baking soda, compost tea, Neem oil. You can rotate them to see what works best.

Sorry to have such bad news for you and sorry for the delay getting it to you. Keep us posted what you try and how it is going.

Posts: 13016
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:32 am
Location: Hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

It also looks a lot like white peach scale. Especially the rod shape looks like a male white peach scale.

If it is scale it will be possible to blast them off with water or with a toothbrush dipped in alcohol or soapy water.

They are not easy to control. I have had to destroy severely infested plants and prune out others. They like papaya, roses, and peppers. I have used neem and systemics on them, but what works the best is blasting them off with the water and a scrub brush. You will need to be diligent since they multiply rapidly.

Southern blight is a fungus in the soil that affects the roots and lower trunk first.

https://utextension.tennessee.edu/publi ... W289-C.pdf

User avatar
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

I'm no expert, but it still looks more fungal to me than scale insects. And I looked the white peach scale up and while there are a number of plants they attack, it looks like mostly woody stuff, trees and shrubs. Would it be likely to be on his peppers and curry plant?

Also OP said it is killing his plants. Southern blight will do that, fairly rapidly. My experience with scale is that it would have to be a major infestation to kill plants and then it would only kill them slowly.

Return to “Organic Insect and Plant Disease Control”