Monday, May 4, 2015

Botrytis in Lilium in St. Louis

In the past week I’ve seen disease in lilies in my St. Louis garden. It may be botrytis, a fungal disease that lives in ground soil and, when weather conditions are right, it attacks lilies and other susceptible plants. Due to our long, cool spring of 2015 I believe the fungus has made an appearance in my garden.


Botrytis disease on lilies is characterized by brown spots on leaves and buds. So far, all of the lilies affected in my garden have shown the disease in their wilted tops. The top 2” – 4” flops over from diseased stem. It is smaller lilies less than 1’ high that are showing signs of this disease. All of my bigger lilies at 3’ – 4’ look healthy. So far, anyway!

Another factor that may contribute to this possible botrytis disease is lack of sunshine. I am seeing these wilted lily tops in my garden with a fair amount of shade. Lilies in other locations, those in full sun, all look completely normal and healthy.

A fungicide treatment will stop the spread of botrytis. To prevent continued infection, all leaf and stalk debris should be picked up in the fall. Lily bulbs themselves are not infected by the botrytis fungus, so it is unnecessary to throw the plant away.

Are other St. Louis residents seeing brown spots on lilies? How about wilted tops? Please comment and let me know how this cool spring is affecting your lilies.

B & D Lilies, a large grower of lilies in the Western United States, gives thorough advice about combating botrytis here: http://www.bdlilies.com/whatisbotrytis.html

--By Kim Peterson

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