Impatiens Blossoms Fell Off And New Blossoms Are Not Blooming Leaves Have Black Swirls On Them

Question From: Coos Bay, Oregon, United States
Q: I have a double impatiens & a single impatiens planted together in a hanging basket, on the surface they look full & healthy, but the few blossoms that were on the plants have fallen off, new ones aren't blooming and the underneath side of the leaves have a light black swirl pattern on them. Everything I am reading about the downy mildew and the pictures I am seeing do not seem to fit what is happening to my plants, but I am at a loss as to what it is. If you could help me out I would really appreciate it.

A: Brenda, Your plants have one of several diseases that impatiens are prone to. Overcrowding, which cuts off air circulation is one problem and over-watering - sodden soil is another. Over fertilizing will make matters worse. You can try treating them with a fungicide. Organic gardeners use home made potions. Whole milk and water at a 50-50 mix is one. Another is a tablespoon of baking soda and a tablespoon of Murphy's Oil soap in a gallon of water. A good garden nursery will have a commercial chemical you can try. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy.