If you notice white, powdery fungus growing on your houseplants, you are most likely dealing with powdery mildew, a common problem for many varieties of household plants. Powdery mildew should be treated immediately to prevent destruction of your plants.
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Powdery mildew can come in many forms, each caused by a different fungi. This common gardening problem has been acknowledged since the ancient Greeks, and it can live on a wide variety of plants, including weeds.
Types of powdery mildew include erysiphe (which affects vegetable crops and flowers), sphaerotheca (berries), podosphaera (apples and stone fruits), and uncinula, which typically affects grapes.
Powdery mildew appears as a white powder on the surfaces of stems and leaves. It begins as small white spots that begin to converge as time progresses and the fungi takes over the plant. Some of the powder can be rubbed off.
Powdery mildew can cause leaves and stems to be misshapen and distorted. It can also cause yellow leaves, and in fruit plants, the mildew can cause a smaller yield.
Prevent powdery mildew by pruning regularly and watering in the morning, to give the plant plenty of time to dry out during the day. Avoid crowding plants together. To treat powdery mildew, remove all dead leaves and spray with a fungicide.
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