Posts from the ‘diseases’ Category


Etiolation is the stretching of a plant which has been deprived of sufficient sunlight.

Both of these plants were purchased together and divided 6 months ago.  The first plant has been living in my patio and gets a lot of direct sunlight from dawn till sunset.  The second plant has been living in my boyfriend’s balcony which gets a few hours of sun light.  Notice the difference in color and style of growth.  The first echeveria is a bright green.  It has stayed short but popped out two babies on each side.  The etiolated echeveria has pale chalky leaves and has stretched out, growing upward.

Healthy Echivera growing horizontally with pups on each side


Echeveria Etiolation

Every Rose has it’s thorns and is super high maintenance!

Weird pattern generated from Black Spot fungus?

I had given up on roses since my failure to keep a rose alive and disease free about a year ago.  What I later decided was that the garden centers in San Jose sell roses that are inappropriate for San Jose’s weather conditions.  My conclusion stemmed from the fact that at the end of the gardening season (late fall) the roses that remained in the stores had all this powdery mildew and brown leaves.  So this observation led me to decide, never again would I purchase a rose!

In December of 2011, I discovered Rosa Californica, the California Rose.  I had to add this rose to my native California plant collection and give roses another go.  I made sure to place it in the sunniest spot in my patio so as to create the best conditions for it to thrive in.  I have carefully built my garden specifically to attract beneficial insects to dine on the aphids would surface.  Sadly today I found many aphids (green, black, and purple) on my rose.  I also found that my plant has the Black Spot fungus.  This is a symptom of the plant being in humid/wet weather for too long.  Well it has been rainy and very humid.  But as a native plant, this rose has really disappointed me so far.  I mean, there’s no one spraying fungicides on California roses out in the wild!  What the heck!

Rose leaves with Black Spot fungus

Browning leaves caused by Black Spot fungus

According to, “the fungus becomes active in a wet environment with a temperature of about 24 degrees Celsius (approximately 75 degrees Fahrenheit). It needs about 7 hours of these conditions to germinate and then symptoms will begin to appear on rose foliage within three to ten days. From then on spores are produced every three weeks. If unchecked, black spot can affect the entire rose garden leaving an unattractive appearance of many ‘bare-naked’ plants. Spores can over winter in the garden so autumn cleanup is crucial otherwise the entire cycle can repeat itself the following spring and summer.”

Black Spot fungus...a quite representative image

For the treatment Rose Magazine offers a solution:

” The worst case scenario can be avoided with some preventative measures, a keen eye and diligence. While plants are dormant in spring, spray thoroughly with fungicidal soap and wettable sulphur (both readily available at the local plant nursery). Sulphur is actually a historical remedy used for hundreds of years by farmers for their crops. It definitely has a place in the chemical-free garden. Fungal spores cannot germinate in the sulphur film and thus cannot get a chance to attack the plant. To be effective the sulphur must be on the plant and leaves before the spores land on them. Sulphur washes off in rain and so must be reapplied repeatedly. The product is sold in powder or liquid form and also works well against mildew and rust. Other preventative measures include keeping the leaves dry when watering (try soaker hoses or drip irrigation methods), water in the morning so that foliage has a chance to dry off throughout the day and pruning plants to improve air circulation.”

Greaaaat!  Where am I going to find Sulphur?!  I think for now, I’m just going to relocate the rose to the middle of the garden, and clip off the diseased leaves.  Then I’m going to have to coyly ask Henrik for my Fungicide back and I’m sure he’ll make fun of me since I sort of bashed his dudleya kind of recently…

The benefits of Beneficial Instects are visually apparent

I have been promoting planting flowers to attract beneficial insects since I attended the Master Gardener’s class .  Since moving to my apartment in August of 2011, I got involved with California Native Garden Foundation and learned the endless benefits planting Natives.  I purchased a Dudleya from CNGF that is a succulent with beautiful yellow flowers.  I split the plant into its two clusters.  I kept one cluster for myself and gave the other cluster to my boyfriend Henrik as part of a beautiful succulent arrangement.  He still gets lots of compliments from his friends over the arrangement.  I should state at this point that Henrik only has one other plant on his patio and that is the African Daisy.  And his plant’ is in a winter slumber at the moment with no flowers.  So basically he has no plants on his patio to attract Beneficial’s on his patio in the Fall/Winter period.  Well it’s been 2 months since we’ve had our Dudleyas and here are the results:

Bottom line: I haven’t had to use any pest control sprays of any kind on my patio this year!  The Neem Oil pesticide I had bought a year ago was promptly gifted to Henrik to control his Aphid infestation on the Dudleya.

White flies

I located these white flies and webs underneath my shamrock’s leaves.  I have had my shamrock plants since March and have never gotten any kind of disease till now.  I had moved my shamrock’s to my cubicle at work since they seem to prefer the indoors compared to the outdoors (where their leaves got burnt this summer).  I’m not 100% sure of this insect that had found a comfortable home underneath the leaves of my shamrock but my guess is that it was a “white fly”.  I’m sure I could have sprayed the leaves with an insecticide or Neem oil.  I just chose to remove the infected leaves instead.


Thank you UCCE Master Gardeners!  Here is their response to my inquiry.

Urban Horticulture Updates

I’ve repotted my mini fern and stunted rosemary into larger pots.  I love rosemary for culinary purposes, but have been so afraid to use it as it hasn’t grown in over a year!  I just hope the full sun and and larger pot just do the trick to letting it become a lushous culinary plant.



Strawberries are doing beautifully, but to reiterate I am definitely going to get a lot more plants next year because 3 plants just ain’t cutting it for our appetites!

Alpine Strawberries

“Welcomes” are in order for my first rose bud!  Unfortunately it’s covered in the powdery mildew fungus.  I found a fantastic article on this ailment about causes and remedies.

Rose Bud

Citronella is doing quite wonderfully!  The flowers smell amazing (as potent if not more than jasmine).  While I was out on the patio for 15 minutes today, I observed 3 bees go and take care of their business with the lemon flowers.

Meyer Lemon Tree

Meyer Lemons Flowers

Meyer Lemons

Dead Like Disco

I have slaughtered the aphids that almost sucked the life out of my demure and elegant rose!  In the following pictures you can see the aphids having expired, have fallen off the plant and lay dead.  🙂  I have also pruned the plant, because I did research on mildew and found that it was at the irreversible stage for the afflicted leaves.

Aphids and Mildew are taking over my rose plant

I finally decided to take action and do something about the nasty aphids covering my rose and the more recent fungus that has caused mildew (a white powdery dust) on the leaves.  Although there are home made remedies, I made an impulse purchase at Lowes today and got a chemical insecticide and fungicide for roses.  These are the most common problems one can face with growing roses.  I’ve never been good at keeping roses alive, but hopefully with more research I’ll do well with this plant.  I will be starting the medication tomorrow.  I’ll keep posting updates!

PS. I feel the same way about Aphids as I do the Honey Badger!

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