Flower Blight / Petal Blight

Petal Blight

Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series, Bugwood.org

Description

Flower or petal blight infects blooms in mild to warm, rainy weather and is caused by several different fungi. Petal Blight will eventually lead to brown, usually leathery flowers with drooping petals. Once infected, flowers drop prematurely.

It is common on camellias, azaleas, rhododendrons and others, but damage can vary by flowers impacted. Petals can turn brown or water-soaked, and white mold may appear. On camellias, petals turn leathery brown and flowers drop prematurely. Usually, Petal Blight starts as small areas of browning on some of the petals (not all) then spreads. It often infects blooms that have just opened. The petals will be leathery but soft, not crispy and sometimes accompanied by mold. Unaffected camellia or azalea blooms that are at the end of their lifecycle usually still have some of their color when they fall or fade all at once.

Cultural Solutions
  • Avoid getting plants wet—do not water from above.
  • Remove infected blossoms. Clean-up fallen flowers frequently.
  • Apply clean, fresh organic mulch (as needed) each year.
  • Rake and replace old mulch before bloom.