Herbs

Elf spur - recognize and fight diseases and pests

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The elf spur is a popular container and balcony plant that is actually very robust. In the event of maintenance errors, however, pest infestation can still occur.

© ChrWeiss - Fotolia.com

Diseases and pests are quite rare on the elf spur (Diascia). However, maintenance errors can lead to general damage to the plant, which makes it more susceptible to disease.

Pests are also easy to use. If maintenance errors are recognized in good time, the plants can usually still be saved by courageous intervention.

The most common maintenance mistakes at a glance

care errorsConsequences on the plant
water too little▶ If the plant does not receive enough water, it leaves the leaves and flowers hanging and gradually dries up.
pour too much▶ Too much water damages the roots.
▶ The moist environment is a breeding ground for fungi and bacteria.
▶ If the waterlogging persists, root rot will result.
stand too dark▶ If the plant is too dark, it grows very sparsely and will also have no or few flowers.
unprotected location▶ If the location is not covered and there is persistent downpours and storms, the flowers are kinked and the planters are quickly under water, which causes waterlogging.

Gray mold on plants that are too wet

If the elf spur is poured too much, gray mold can result. It is one of the most common fungal diseases found in plants. As a rule, only plants are infected that already have injuries or are weakened, for example, by incorrect watering behavior. Plants that have been planted too densely or that receive too little light are also at risk.

How can gray mold be recognized?

The disease is easy to see. The leaves are covered with brown spots. Leaves and flowers can be affected. Affected parts of the plant soon appear covered with a furry gray coating. As the process progresses, the leaves fall off and the flowers do not open, but also fall off. If you do not react in time, you risk the entire plant dying.

What to do in the event of an infestation?

All infected plant parts are removed generously.

➔ Attention: Infected parts of plants do not belong on the compost. The fungus can survive there and spread over the entire beds with the compost.

It should be acted quickly since the neighboring plants can become infected. It is better to dispose of more infested plants completely or treat them with a fungicide. In this case, the hobby gardener doesn't get very far with home remedies.

Gray mold in brief:

  • affects weakened plants that are too wet
  • leaves and flowers dry up and fall off
  • also spreads to neighboring plants
  • Do not dispose of infected plant parts on the compost
  • Disinfect tools after use
  • Discard plant or treat with fungicide

Help that molds potting soil

Not only the leaves, the earth can also mold. This can happen, for example, if the soil is too moist and comes into contact with fallen leaves and flowers.

What should I do?

If there is a moldy coating on the substrate, remove the soil from the planter.

➔ Attention: In order not to come into contact with the fungal spores, gloves and a face mask should be used.

Remove the infected substrate completely from the roots. The infested soil must be disposed of with household waste and must not be put on the compost. The roots should be cleaned thoroughly. This is best done under running water. The plants are then placed in fresh substrate.

➔ Tip: For safety, you can also take a new planter. Old buckets or boxes must be cleaned with a vinegar solution before they are replanted.

Home remedies for mold

home remediesapplication
activated carbon▶ The activated carbon is ground and sprinkled on the infested soil.
Tea tree oil▶ Tea tree oil can be added directly to the irrigation water.
▶ Likewise, tea tree oil soaked with a few splashes can be placed on the moldy substrate.
cinnamon▶ If the earth is generously cared for with cinnamon, this causes the fungal spores to die.

What can be done for prevention?

  • Loosen the substrate
  • Cover substrate with bird sand
  • pour less
  • Avoid waterlogging
  • Apply soil activator to substrate

Root rot due to casting defects

When the elf spur suddenly begins to wither, it is not uncommon for root rot to be inferred. This happens when the plant has been too wet for a long period of time, because too much was simply watered or the water could not drain off. Since the damage spreads from the root, the plant is usually already badly damaged when the symptoms become visible.

What should I do?

The plant must be freed from the substrate. All parts of the plant already affected must be removed. You can try to dry the roots and then put them in new substrate. In most cases, however, root rot means the end of the plant.

Aphids - annoying but harmless

There are few plants that the aphids stop at. The small pests are clearly visible on the leaves. A sign of pest infestation is leaf discoloration or deformed leaves. If you look at the underside of the leaves, you will discover a sticky coating when there is aphid infestation. It is honeydew, the aphid excretions.

What should I do?

Aphids are comparatively harmless and can be controlled using natural means. It is often helpful to treat the elf spur with a hard water jet. Soapy water helps with more infestation. The soap solution is sprayed onto the infected plant parts. Tobacco stock can also help.

Snails - voracious and persistent

The snail infestation will probably only become a problem if the elf spur was planted outdoors. Balcony plants and traffic light plants are usually spared. If the plants are checked regularly, the snails can be recognized and collected at an early stage. You can also use snail traps or use snail pellets or similar crop protection products in the case of heavy infestation. Beer traps are not recommended. This only attracts an unnecessarily large number of animals.

White fly - small but powerful

The whitefly is only a few millimeters in size and can still cause considerable damage. The elf spurs in plant boxes are particularly at risk. The insects are usually found on the underside of the leaf. The pest infestation does not usually go undetected, because when touched, the insects fly up. Yellow spots appear at the suction points of the moth-like pests. The leaves dry up and ultimately there is a risk of falling leaves.

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What should I do?

Yellow boards can be successfully used against pest infestation. The yellow tablets are placed in the planters, the pests are attracted to them and stick to the sticky surface. With parasitic wasps, whiteflies have natural predators. The wasps can be purchased from specialist dealers and are placed directly on the affected plants.

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