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Clivia: Fungal Diseases


Fungi are found everywhere in nature. Many are useful, helping turn dead plants into compost. Some are pathogenic, infecting healthy plants and gradually reducing them to compost too. We need to control the pathogenic fungi if we want to keep our Clivia plants alive and healthy.

We do this in two ways:

  • 1. We use good culture practices to minimize the danger of fungal infections striking our plants.
  • 2. We control fungus once in our plants using fungicides.

There are two general kinds of fungicides:

  • A. Contact fungicides. These kill fungal spores on the surface of the leaves, preventing them from infecting the plant tissues. These fungicides do not penetrate into the tissue of the plant.
  • B. Systemic fungicides. These are absorbed by the plant tissues and control the fungus once it is inside the tissue.

Fungi are able to build up resistance to systemic fungicides, and you need to use at least two of them. Furthermore, they must belong to separate and distinct chemical families, if you are to slow the development of resistance.

Systemic fungicides are actually "fungistats" -- they stop the fungus from growing -- but not fungicides -- they don't actually kill existing fungi in the plant tissues. By keeping the fungus from spreading in the plant, it is gradually eliminated as old leaves die off. That can take a long time in Clivia!

I strongly recommend that anyone concerned with controlling fungal infections in plants read the material at the following web site:

While that site is focused on daylily rust, the general information on fungicides is of relevance to anyone growing any types of plants. There is no need to repeat here the detailed information you can find on that web site.

Jim Shields


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Last revised: 10 December 2004

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