Question From: Flagler Beach, Florida, United States
Q: Newly purchased Sunpatiens and some several months old from various suppliers (big box and local nurseries) in full sun and/or partial shade get red stems, leaves get dark green and practically overnight keel over and die. I've discarded dozens of plants, some have been transplanted using fresh potting soil and other die before I even get a chance to repot???? This is the first year this has happened? Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thank you. BTW - I took a dead plant to the University of Florida Extension Service, but haven't received any replies to my question. You may publish this email using only my initials -- erp and location.
A: Your plants have a fungal disease - could be stem rot or root rot. Do not replant in the same soil in pots or in the ground. Containers must be washed with a 10 percent bleach solution. Poorly drained soil and wetting of leaves is part of the problem. Your plants may well be infected when you buy them. Spray with Actinovate, being sure to cover the undersides of the leaves, every two weeks. It should also be used a soil drench prior to planting. Best Nancy