Unfortunately, powdery mildew can happen to even the most experienced gardener. The main causes are warmth and humidity. The problem with powdery mildew is that the spores can overwinter in the plant debris and will produce even more spores in the spring. These spores are usually carried (either via insects, wind, or water) to other plants, therefore spreading the powdery mildew.
- High humidity which causes dampness will causes powdery mildew. Areas that are hot, but low in humidity are usually spared.
- Plants that are too close to one another and crowded will impair air circulation, and therefore cause powdery mildew.
HOW TO GET RID OF POWDERY MILDEW
There are a few different ways to getting rid of powdery mildew, depending on how many plants were affected and how bad the disease has spread. The least desirable solution is to remove all plants. No gardener wants to get rid of their entire crop, but thankfully you don't have to.
- Using a pair of gardening shears or clippers, remove the infected parts of the plant. Do not compost to infected parts, and be sure to wash your hands and the shears with soap and water afterwards to avoid further spread.
- Using a fungicide can be an effective way of getting rid of powdery mildew, and thankfully, your local hardware store or nursery will have plenty of fungicides available. Before using, make sure the fungicide you choose is safe for your plant. Most fungicides will contain potassium bicarbonate, sulfur, neem oil, or copper.
- Alternatively, you can also make your own fungicide using simple ingredients found around your home such as baking soda or milk. Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of liquid soap in 1 gallon of water. Pour the mixture into a sprayer and spray the entire plant evenly at night. Use a 40/60 ratio of milk to water and spray plants evenly. Do this every 10-14 days to get rid of powdery mildew as well as prevent it. Most fungicides will need to be reapplied every 7-14 days.
- There are several ways you can also prevent powdery mildew. Improve circulation by making sure your plants are not over-crowded. Do this by thinning the plants regularly and pruning them if need be. Also, do not fertilize the plants if you see powdery mildew. Do not water plants from above, but rather right at the root. This can prevent the spread of spores.
HOW TO PREVENT POWDERY MILDEW
Although not always possible, there are ways that you can prevent powdery mildew, such as not over-crowding plants, as we mentioned above.
- : When purchasing plants, make sure they look healthy, and inspect them for any visible diseases or bugs. Then, make sure that you care for the plants properly, meaning give them water when they need it and don't let them dry out too much.
- : If you know you live in an area that's susceptible to powdery mildew, choose plants that are resistant to it. Some plants that are resistant to powdery mildew include bee balm, delphinium, geranium, lungwort, black-eyed Susan, sage, sedum, speedwell or Veronica, verbena, and zinnia.
- If you choose to grow resistant plants, be sure not to grow them in shaded areas where they could become damp and receive powdery mildew spores