The end of Busy Lizzies?
Having lost one of two Busy Lizzies myself this year I was sad to read this in this mornings papers.
‘Mildew that threatens to wipe out busy lizzies after arriving from imported cuttings
One of Britain’s most popular plants is in danger of being wiped out by a virulent disease.
Busy lizzies, a hanging basket favourite, are at risk from a fungicide-resistant strain of mildew.
Known as impatiens downy mildew, it was first identified in the UK in 2003 and is thought to have arrived from imported cuttings.
It spreads on airborne spores and appears as a white powder on the underside of leaves, causing them to yellow and fall off.
Amateur gardeners across Britain are seeing their infected plants reduced to bare stems.
Until now it has been controlled by metalaxyl fungicide, which is only available to commercial growers.
But horticulturalists warn it has thrived in the wet, mild summer, and is now resistant to the fungicide.
Now that nurseries are failing to eliminate the disease, it is breaking out in more and more gardens.
Dr Phil Jones, of the Food and Environment Research Agency, said the spores can survive for ten years.
He said: ‘Something different happened this year on imported cuttings, so they are metalaxyl resistant.
‘The issue in parks and gardens is that they can produce resting spores which can survive happily over winter even in extreme conditions.’
Andrew Tokely, of Thompson & Morgan, one of Britain’s longest-established plant and seed firms, said: ‘There is no cure. It could be the end of busy lizzies.’
The Royal Horticultural Society is urging gardeners to destroy any plants displaying symptoms.
They should dig up infected plants and avoiding replanting busy lizzies in the same ground for at least a year’.
- 13 Aug, 2011
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