Costa Farms Fights Downy Mildew

Check out the impact downy mildew had on these impatiens.

Costa Farms, a bedding and indoor houseplant grower in North America, is working to get ahead of the downy mildew disease that is infecting Impatiens walleriana or standard garden impatiens.

“Downy mildew is only infecting Impatiens walleriana,” explains Dr. Kate Santos, director of research and development for Costa Farms. “Gardeners can be assured it is not infecting other plant species like New Guinea impatiens and SunPatiens.”

Plasmopara obducens, the type of downy mildew that’s attacking impatiens, has been reported in several states and made its first appearance in the Palm Beach County area of Florida in late 2011. At this time, downy mildew cannot be cured after it is detected; prevention is the only way to protect impatiens from the disease.  

“The best defense is a strong offense, so we at Costa Farms have initiated a three-prong approach to alert people about the disease, prevent infestation and provide alternatives to have healthy, beautiful plants in their landscape,” explains Santos. “We’re determined to help contain and minimize the spread of this disease.”

Know The Symptoms
The time from infection to the appearance of symptoms varies from about 5 to 14 days. To protect your crop, know how the disease is spread and be on the lookout for early leaf symptoms of the disease, especially in young plants and new growth.

According to Laura Sanagorski and Bill Schall, environmental and commercial horticulture extension agents at the University of Florida’s IFAS Palm Beach County Extension, young plants and new growth are most susceptible to the disease.

“The signs are yellow or light green foliage with speckling on the infected leaves, and then a white, downy-like growth composed of spores visible on the underside of the infected leaves,” Santos says.

Santos also warns that the first sign might be a downward leaf curling. If unchecked, eventually the leaves and flowers will drop, resulting in bare stems with only a few tiny, yellow leaves remaining, she says.

Weather also plays a role in the spread of downy mildew. “Cool temperatures, moist air and wet foliage are ideal conditions for the disease that is spread by air or water movement,” says Santos.  

Protect Through Prevention
Sanagorski and Schall also suggest that prevention is the most effective management strategy. They recommend eliminating nighttime watering and excessive fertilization to help avoid or reduce the occurrence of the disease.

“If infected impatiens are discovered, immediately remove the entire plant-roots, leaves and top part of plants, put into a plastic bag, tie it off and dispose,” Santos says.

Costa Farms is currently utilizing preventative measures that will protect its crops from downy mildew for several weeks after leaving the farm.

“Consumers can feel confident that Costa Farms is employing every measure to protect the plants prior to leaving the farm,” Santos says. “We’d like to remind consumers to only plant impatiens in beds that have not previously shown symptoms of downy mildew.”

Find Flower Alternatives
The good news is there are plenty of bedding plants that are ideal replacement for standard impatiens.

“If your impatiens are in the shade, you may lean to begonias or New Guinea impatiens, and if your garden is in the sun, plant SunPatiens, phlox and petunia or lobelia,” Santos says. “Remember to check your bedding impatiens, and use alternative flowers to create that wow color you love for your garden this year.”

For more information or to see a gallery of alternative flowers, visit CostaFarms.com.

Leave a Reply

More From Annuals...
Feature image The 2015 Perennial Plant Of The Year, Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo.’

August 27, 2015

The Perennial Plant Association’s Regional Symposium Will Be This October In Dallas

The Perennial Plant Association plans to hold its Regional Symposium October 5 in Dallas, Texas, in conjunction with the All-America Selections/Home Garden Seed Association's Summer/Fall Summit held October 5 to 8.

Read More
september_grow_rodale institute

August 25, 2015

Hospitals Are Getting Into The Organic Food Business

Growers investing in the organic food movement could serve a growing new area with vegetable transplants and starts, as well as produce, as hospitals begin to prescribe healthy diets and nutrition, and even go so far as to grow their own food. As part of a new phenomenon among progressive hospitals, health professionals are beginning to realize that without health and nutrition, programs and techniques may be done in vain or worse — obsolete. As more patients seeking a healthy diet turn to nutritionists, who recommend sugar-free, alkaline diets to prevent disease and aid in recovery, hospitals recognizing this trend are taking action. St. Luke’s Hospital in Bethlehem, Pa., recently contracted with the nearby Rodale Institute to manage an organic farm, established in 2014. The hospital, part of a six-campus network, aims to provide excellent healthcare, part of which includes educating patients about the benefits of a plant-based, organic diet. […]

Read More

August 21, 2015

Proven Winners Announces Roadshow Events For 2015

Proven Winner's Roadshow Events, held across North America, provide growers and retailers with the opportunity to learn how to grow Proven Winner's newest varieties and receive information about industry trends.

Read More
Latest Stories
WavePetunias-GrowIt_contest_featured

June 18, 2015

Wave Petunias Sponsors Photo Contest Through GrowIt! Ga…

The gardening season is heating up and the Wave Petunias Team wants to see the #WildestWave. The popular plant brand has joined forces with the GrowIt! Garden Socially app to host a two week contest in June that encourages Wave Fans to share and rate photos of their favorite Wave Petunias. The grand prize is a $100 gift card to the garden center of the winner’s choosing. “We are excited to work with GrowIt! and see our Wave Petunias tagged in cities from coast to coast,” says Claire Watson, brand manager for Wave. “Seeing gardeners’ creative photography, awarding a winner, and learning what each region likes about Wave Petunias will be extremely useful as we further promote our ‘Wow ’em With Wave’ ad campaign this season.” Gardeners can place an entry into the contest by downloading GrowIt!, filling out a profile, and uploading photos of Wave Petunias. Placing the tag #WildestWave in the photo’s comments section […]

Read More
Salvia 'Ember's Wish'

March 11, 2015

Annual Salvias – Not Just Red Bedding Plants Anym…

Salvias are popular — and they need not all be the same. Here are a few you know well, and perhaps a few you do not. All are easy to grow and may be found through a broker or grower.

Read More

February 18, 2015

New Annuals For 2016 From California Spring Trials

California Spring Trials (CAST) is long past for 2015, but you still have the chance to see the new genetics that will be hitting the market in 2016. We asked breeders to share with us pictures and information on some of the great new annuals introductions they shared at CAST, so we could share them with you.

Read More

November 14, 2014

First Vegetatively Propagated All-America Selections (A…

All-America Selections (AAS) honors two vegetatively propagated impatiens with AAS winner status.

Read More

October 13, 2014

Growing Tips For Verbena

Rich Schoellhorn, product manager at Proven Winners, shares some tips for growing verbenas successfully.

Read More

October 13, 2014

Greenhouse Grower 2014 New Varieties Guide: Petunias [S…

Greenhouse Grower asked more than 40 breeders to send photos of new introductions they think are worth your attention. The result is the 2014 New Varieties Guide. See what petunias made the cut.

Read More

June 12, 2014

New Begonia Variety And Coleus Series, Plus Two Lobelia…

Terra Nova Nurseries introduces seven new varieties and one new series.

Read More

May 27, 2014

Two New Salvias Added To Southern Living Plant Collecti…

Two new salvia varieties are now available exclusively to growers from the Southern Living Plant Collection and Sunset Western Garden Collection.

Read More

May 9, 2014

New Petunias Making Their Debut In 2015

Take a look at the new petunia varieties that will be making their appearance in 2015.

Read More

April 23, 2014

Foliage Begonias May Be A Big 2015 Trend [Spring Trials…

A number of breeders debuted their rex begonia and begonia hybrid lines at 2014 Spring Trials.

Read More
Petunia 'Success Violet' from Benary

April 11, 2014

What’s New With Petunias For 2014? [Slideshow]

Breeders are rolling out great new petunia introductions for 2014. Take a look at the variety of petunias they have to offer.

Read More
Verbena 'Superbena Royale Whitecap' from Proven Winners

November 11, 2013

Three New Verbena Superbena Introductions From Proven W…

Three new varieties have joined the verbena Superbena line-up this year: 'Superbena Royale Plum Wine,' 'Superbena Royale Whitecap' and 'Superbena Violet Ice.'

Read More
Calibrachoa 'Mini Famous Double Blue' from Selecta

October 17, 2013

6 New Calibrachoa For 2013

Check out these lovely new introductions in calibrachoa.

Read More

October 10, 2013

Begonia ‘Silhouette Lemon Rose’ Doubles The Bloo…

Begonia ‘Silhouette Lemon Rose’ is a striking begonia hybrid with phenomenal basal and lateral branching. Plant sterility gives maximum continual flowering throughout the season with double the bloom number of a traditional non-stop begonia. Dark mahogany foliage with contrasting emerald green veining provides a dramatic contrast to the soft lemon yellow 1.5- to 2-inch diameter blooms that blush apple blossom pink in high light. This easy-care beauty is ideal for mixed pots and containers, hanging baskets or the summer border. For more information, visit PlantHaven.com

Read More
Petunia 'Flash Mob Bluerific' Burpee Home Gardens

October 7, 2013

18 New Petunias To Add For 2014

Tried and true, petunias are a garden staple. Here are some new introductions breeders are rolling out for your consideration in 2014.  

Read More
Verbena 'Hurricane Hot Pink' from Westflowers

October 7, 2013

New Verbena For 2014

Check out these eight new verbena varieties and consider them for your 2014 greenhouse production.  

Read More
Dahlia Dalaya Shari from Selecta

September 25, 2013

4 New Dahlias For Your 2014 Season

Looking for new dahlia varieties to incorporate in your crop mix? Here are 4 beauties your customers will love.  

Read More
'Wall Street' Coleus from Dummen/Red Fox

September 25, 2013

4 Colorful New Coleus For 2014

Gorgeous foliage makes these new introductions must-haves for next year.  

Read More