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Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus'
Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus'
Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus'
Euphorbia milii 'Vulcanus'
Also known as : Christ thorn 'Vulcanus'
Planting Time
Planting Time
Spring, Summer, Fall
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Care Guide for Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus'

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Watering Care
Watering Care
Details on Watering Care Watering Care
Fertilizing Care
Fertilizing Care
Details on Fertilizing Care Fertilizing Care
Pruning
Pruning
Deadhead (or remove) withered flowers after flowering.
Details on Pruning Pruning
Soil Care
Soil Care
Sand, Chalky, Loam
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Full sun, Partial sun
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Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus'
Sunlight
Sunlight
Full sun
Hardiness Zones
Hardiness Zones
9 to 11
Planting Time
Planting Time
Spring, Summer, Fall
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Questions About Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus'

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What should I do if I water my Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus' too much or too little?
Underwatered Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus' Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus' and other succulents can endure long periods without water, so it’s unusual to find one of these suffering from underwatering. But, if you somehow forgot about your plant and neglected to water it for a month or more, you’ll probably find your Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus' looking thirsty or with some damage from lack of watering. It is very easy to identify an underwatered Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus'. Plant look lacklustre and wrinkled. Some may have dried up completely, turned brown and crispy, or dropped off the plant. And of course, the soil will be completely dried out. If your Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus' is thirsty and underwatered, give it plenty of water as soon as possible. Submerging the pot entirely in water for about 5-10 minutes is a good way to make sure the soil and plant are rehydrated properly. When you feel a sense of moisture on the surface of the soil with your finger, it means the watering is done properly. Overwatered Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus' Overwatering is dangerous to Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus' and can be fatal to your plant if you don’t remedy the situation. Too much moisture over time leads to root rot, which prevents the roots from being able to absorb nutrients and water from the soil. Root rot occurs when wet conditions allow fungi and bacteria to flourish in the soil and feed on roots. When you find that it's overwatered, you'd better change the growing conditions, place it somewhere with more air ventilation and adjust water frequency, for example. The symptoms of overwatering are yellow, swollen, and translucent organs that may even burst open from being over-full with water. If the problem continues without being treated, plant might turn brown or black, and fall off the plant at the slightest touch. Be sure to check the soil to determine if overwatering is the culprit, as some other issues can cause similar symptoms. It’s a bit difficult (but not impossible) to save an overwatered plant. The key is catching it early before a lot of damage has occurred. If the roots become rotten, it is likely to kill the entire plant. If you suspect you have overwatered your Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus', the first step is to remove it from its pot and check the roots and soil. After removing the plant from its pot, gently remove wet soil from around the roots and then rinse them clean in room-temperature water. This helps with removing fungus that might be lurking in the soil and allows you to get a better sense of how healthy the roots are. If your plant has already developed root rot, you will see roots that are dark brown or black, soft, mushy, or slimy. If the majority of the roots are already affected by root rot, it may not be possible to save the plant. In this case, it is best to remove any healthy stem and try to use these to propagate a new Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus'. If, on the other hand, only a portion of the roots have succumbed to rot and other healthy roots still remain, there is a chance it can be saved. Use a sterilized cutting tool to remove any unhealthy-looking roots. Once you're left with only the firm, pale roots, it’s a good idea to dip them in a fungicide to kill off any remaining spores. After that you can repot your Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus' in fresh, free-draining potting soil. While this does not always work to save a succulent with root rot, in most cases this plant will be able to make a full recovery and will put out new growth starting in the next growing season.
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How often should I water my Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus'?
There’s not a hard-and-fast rule for how often to water Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus'. The best way to determine this is to check the soil and only water when it’s bone dry. You can either stick your finger in the pot or use a moisture meter to check the soil below the surface. When you plant it in a deep pot, you can do this with a stick or chopstick. If it feels even a little bit moist, wait a few days and check it again. Most people will need to water Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus' about every two weeks in summer and once a month in winter, but there are several factors that can change the frequency. The section below lists some considerations that can help you to determine how often to water.
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What should I consider when watering my Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus'?
There are several environmental conditions that will affect how your Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus' needs to be watered, including the container size, soil type, temperature, and humidity. First off, the container and soil you use will determine how often to water and how much water to use each time. Be sure you use a container with plenty of drainage holes in the bottom so extra water can escape the pot. A small container has less room for soil, meaning it won’t hold as much moisture, while a larger pot will stay wet longer and need to be watered less often. It’s important not to keep your Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus' in an oversized pot as this can easily lead to overwatering. When repotting, move to just one size larger than the current container. A shallow container works better than a deep one, since Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus' has shallow root systems. Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus' will need to be watered less often in winter and more often in the active growing season in spring and autumn. During the winter, growth slows down considerably and the plant isn’t using much energy or water. There is less water lost to evaporation in cooler winter air, meaning that soil stays wet for much longer than it would in the summer. This also applies to the general climate around your home. If you live in a humid location with a lot of rain, you will need to water less often than if you live in a dry, arid climate. Remember that conditions at the same geographic location can vary significantly with the season and the use of indoor heating and air conditioning. Outdoor Planting If Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus' is planted in the ground, after establishing a root system, it shouldn’t need supplemental water beyond what it receives through precipitation and dew. But if there is a long dry period, you may want to water occasionally. In other areas where Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus' can only be grown in a container, this plant can be moved outside in the spring and summer when the temperature is proper and then brought back inside when temperatures start to drop. A potted Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus' kept outside usually needs more water than the same plant kept indoors, because there is a lot more sun exposure even on a shaded porch.
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How to water Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus'?
The best way to water Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus' is to soak it thoroughly and then allow it to dry out before it gets watered again. Since this plant is somewhat drought tolerant, you can let it get quite dry before watering again. It is always better to give this type of plant too little water over too much. When you water, make sure the soil gets thoroughly soaked throughout the whole pot. Don’t pour the water in just one spot, but rather try to go around the whole rim of the planter to be sure that it has a chance to get wet on all sides of the plant. The correct amount of water will depend on the size of your container and how much water your soil absorbs. Give your Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus' enough water that it drains out from the drainage holes and then (ideally) leave the drained water in the saucer for about 20-30 minutes to absorb into dry pockets of soil. After that, discard any excess water that’s still in the saucer to avoid the soil getting waterlogged. Bottom-watering is also an excellent method for Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus', as you can be sure that the soil gets thoroughly moistened. This process involves placing the pot into a saucer of water and allowing the soil to absorb moisture through the drainage holes. You will know that the soil has absorbed enough water when the top layer is moist. This takes a bit more time than top-watering, but is almost foolproof in getting an even distribution of water throughout the pot. The original habitat of Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus' is relatively dry with little rain, but when it rains, the soil will be thoroughly moistened. So you can mimic this situation by bottom-watering your plant when the soil is totally dry. Deep soil bathing is better than frequent light watering for Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus'.
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Key Facts About Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus'

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Attributes of Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus'

Lifespan
Perennial
Plant Type
Succulent, Shrub
Dormancy
Non-dormant
Leaf type
Evergreen
Ideal Temperature
20 - 38 ℃

Scientific Classification of Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus'

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Common Pests & Diseases About Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus'

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Scars
Scars Scars
Scars
Any light-colored markings that appear on stems but which do not enlarge or multiply are simply scars that have healed.
Solutions: Each source of scarring requires a different approach to help your plant recover. Protect the trunk and leaves from physical damage like scrapes. If pests or disease are the cause of scarring, isolate the plant from others to avoid further spread. Some pests can be removed with organic remedies such as a soft cloth and soapy water solution or diluted isopropyl alcohol spray. Stop sunburn by moving your plant away from direct sunlight and making sure it has the water it needs. Frequent leaf or bud loss may be due to insufficient light or nutrients.
Brown spot
Brown spot Brown spot
Brown spot
This infection can cause brown spots or patches to appear on the plant.
Solutions: In minor cases of brown spot, there isn’t any need to treat the disease. However, if much of the foliage is affected and defoliation occurs, the plant will benefit from getting rid of the infection. It is recommended to start by applying organic treatment options, working up to the more potent synthetic, chemical fungicides if necessary. Organic options won’t kill the fungus, but will prevent it from spreading. Dissolve ½ teaspoon of baking soda and one teaspoon of liquid soap in a gallon of water. Using a spray bottle, spray on tops and bottoms of leaves until the mixture drips off. Repeat every two weeks until existing spots stop enlarging and new spots no longer appear. Spray a copper-based fungicidal soap on the leaves, coating the top and bottom leaf surfaces. Reapply as directed on the product label. Copper penetrates the leaf surface and prevents germination of spores so the fungus cannot spread. Apply an all-purpose fungicide to the entire plant, following the label instructions carefully.
Caterpillars
Caterpillars Caterpillars
Caterpillars
Caterpillars are fleshy moth or butterfly larvae that come in an array of colors, patterns, and even hairstyles. They chew on leaves and flower petals, creating large, irregular holes.
Solutions: Even though caterpillars are diverse, they all chew on plant parts and can cause significant damage if present in large numbers. For severe cases: Apply insecticide. For an organic solution, spray plants with a Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which specifically affects the larval stage of moths and butterflies. Be sure to coat plants, since caterpillars need to ingest Bt for it to be effective. This will not harm other insects. Spray a chili extract. Chili seeds can be cooked in water to make a spicy spray that caterpillars don't like. Spray this mixture on the plants, but be aware it will also be spicy to humans. Introduce beneficial insects. Release beneficial insects to the garden that eat caterpillars, such as parasitic wasps. For less severe cases: Hand pick. Using gloves, pick off caterpillars on plants and dispose of them in a bucket of soapy water. Dust plants with diatomaceous earth. This powder is harmless to humans but irritates caterpillars. Therefore, it will make it difficult for caterpillars to move and eat.
Fruit withering
Fruit withering Fruit withering
Fruit withering
Fungal infection or normal ripening can cause the fruit to dry out.
Solutions: There are a number of appropriate solutions to control fruit withering: Remove any fruit as soon as it shows any signs of infection. Do not compost. Use a fungicide prior to leaf bud and then as per manufacturers instructions throughout the season.
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Scars
plant poor
Scars
Any light-colored markings that appear on stems but which do not enlarge or multiply are simply scars that have healed.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Scars form when the plant repairs wounds. They can be the result of people or pets passing by and scraping the plant. Once the underlying issue is resolved, the plant will heal but a scar may remain.
Pests and pathogens can also cause scarring. Insects may attack the plant for a meal, resulting in extensive scarring when a few invaders turn into an infestation. Diseases such as fungus and bacteria can weaken the plant, causing brown spots, mushy areas, or blisters that lead to scars.
Scars occur on stems when a leaf or bud has been lost and the plant has healed. The harder tissue is like a scab that protects a wound.
On other occasions, scars can signal problems from environmental conditions, such as overexposure to sunlight or heat. It might surprise you to know that plants can suffer from sunburn, even desert dwellers like cactus!
Solutions
Solutions
Each source of scarring requires a different approach to help your plant recover.
  1. Protect the trunk and leaves from physical damage like scrapes.
  2. If pests or disease are the cause of scarring, isolate the plant from others to avoid further spread. Some pests can be removed with organic remedies such as a soft cloth and soapy water solution or diluted isopropyl alcohol spray.
  3. Stop sunburn by moving your plant away from direct sunlight and making sure it has the water it needs.
  4. Frequent leaf or bud loss may be due to insufficient light or nutrients.
Prevention
Prevention
Preventing some sources of scarring is easier than others, but all start with careful attention to your plants once you decide to bring them home.
  1. Review specific guidelines for your plant, including soil drainage, watering, and fertilizer requirements.
  2. Inspect plants before planting and use sterile pots and fresh potting soil or media to limit transfer of fungi or bacteria.
  3. Once established, check your plants regularly for signs of scarring or the presence of pests, as it is better to catch problems as early as possible.
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Brown spot
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Brown spot
This infection can cause brown spots or patches to appear on the plant.
Overview
Overview
Discolored spots on the foliage of plants are one of the most common disease problems people observe. These spots are caused by fungal and bacterial diseases, with most infections related to a fungal pathogen.
Brown spot can occurs on all houseplants, flowering ornamentals, vegetable plants, and leaves of trees, bushes, and shrubs. No plants are resistant to it, and the problem is worse in warm, wet environments. It can occur at any point in the life stage as long as leaves are present.
Small brownish spots appear on the foliage and enlarge as the disease progresses. In severe cases, the plant or tree is weakened when the lesions interrupt photosynthesis or cause defoliation.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
In most cases, brown spot only affects a small percentage of the whole plant, appearing on a small amount of the leaves. A small infection only puts minor stress on the plant. However, if left untreated and the disease progresses over numerous seasons, it will severely impact the health and productivity of the infected specimen.
  • Sporulation begins (reproduction of the fungal spores), and tiny spots appear on leaves.
  • Placement is often random and scattered as diseases are spread through raindrops.
  • May appear on lower leaves and the interior of the plant where humidity is higher.
  • Brown spots enlarge and grow large enough to touch neighboring spots to form a more prominent blotch.
  • Leaf margins may turn yellow.
  • Tiny black dots (fruiting bodies of the fungi) appear in the dead spots.
  • Blotches grow in size until the entire leaf is brown.
  • The leaf falls off the plant.
Severe Symptoms
  • Partial or complete premature defoliation
  • Reduced growth
  • Increased susceptibility to pests and other diseases
Disease Cause
Disease Cause
Brown spot, or leaf spot, is a common descriptive term given to several diseases affecting the leaves of plants and trees. Around 85% of diseases exhibiting leaf spots are due to fungus or fungus-like organisms. Sometimes brown spot is caused by a bacterial infection, or insect activity with similar symptoms.
When conditions are warm and the leaf surfaces are wet, fungal spores being transported by wind or rain land on the surface and cling to it. They do not rupture the cell walls but grow in the space between the plant plasma membrane and the plant cell wall. As the spores reproduce, they release toxins and enzymes that cause necrotic spots (i.e., dead tissue) on the leaves, allowing the fungi to consume the products released when the cells degrade.
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Caterpillars
plant poor
Caterpillars
Caterpillars are fleshy moth or butterfly larvae that come in an array of colors, patterns, and even hairstyles. They chew on leaves and flower petals, creating large, irregular holes.
Overview
Overview
Caterpillars can cause problems for home gardeners. If not managed, these insects can defoliate a plant in just a matter of days. However, home gardeners face a challenge because these caterpillars eventually turn into beautiful butterflies and moths, which are important for pollination and the general ecosystem.
There are thousands of different species of caterpillars and many will only target certain plants. If caterpillars are posing a problem, they can be removed by hand, or gardeners can use insect-proof netting to protect their valuable plants.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Caterpillars are the larvae of butterflies and moths. During the warmer months, butterflies and moths that visit gardens will lay their eggs on the underside of leaves.
When the tiny eggs hatch, the young larvae emerge and start feeding on the leaves of the plant. Depending on how many larvae have hatched, they can easily defoliate the plant in a very short period of time. Caterpillars will shed their skin as they grow, around 4 or 5 times during this feeding cycle.
Symptoms of caterpillars eating plants appear as holes in the leaves. The edges of the leaves may be eaten away as well, and flowers can be affected as well.
Some are easy to see, but others need to be searched for. This is because their bodies are often camouflaged to look like part of the plant. Gardeners need to look carefully along the stems of the plant as well as under the leaves. Also, look for tiny white, yellow, or brown eggs that can be found in groups on the underside of leaves.
Once the caterpillar is fully grown, it transforms into a pupa or chrysalis. Then, after a period of time that varies according to the species, a butterfly or moth will emerge from the pupa and the cycle begins again.
Solutions
Solutions
Even though caterpillars are diverse, they all chew on plant parts and can cause significant damage if present in large numbers.
For severe cases:
  1. Apply insecticide. For an organic solution, spray plants with a Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which specifically affects the larval stage of moths and butterflies. Be sure to coat plants, since caterpillars need to ingest Bt for it to be effective. This will not harm other insects.
  2. Spray a chili extract. Chili seeds can be cooked in water to make a spicy spray that caterpillars don't like. Spray this mixture on the plants, but be aware it will also be spicy to humans.
  3. Introduce beneficial insects. Release beneficial insects to the garden that eat caterpillars, such as parasitic wasps.
For less severe cases:
  1. Hand pick. Using gloves, pick off caterpillars on plants and dispose of them in a bucket of soapy water.
  2. Dust plants with diatomaceous earth. This powder is harmless to humans but irritates caterpillars. Therefore, it will make it difficult for caterpillars to move and eat.
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Fruit withering
plant poor
Fruit withering
Fungal infection or normal ripening can cause the fruit to dry out.
Overview
Overview
Fruit withering is common on many tree fruits, including apples, pears, peaches, cherries, and plums, as well as fruiting shrubs. It is caused by a fungal pathogen and will result in wrinkled and desiccated fruit.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Here are the most common symptoms in the order that they are likely to occur.
  1. Both leaves and blossom on the tips of branches will go brown and wither.
  2. Gray powdery patches will appear on infected leaves and flowers, and this will be most apparent after rain.
  3. Any fruit that does appear will turn wrinkled and fail to develop.
  4. Branch tips begin to die, progressing back to larger branches, causing general deterioration of the tree or plant.
Disease Cause
Disease Cause
The withering is caused by one of two fungal pathogens, one called Monilina laxa and the other called M. fructigen. The spores overwinter on infected plant material and are then spread the following spring by wind, rain, or animal vectors. The problem will start to become noticeable in mid-spring, but will increase in severity as summer progresses and the fungus grows. If not addressed, the disease will intensify and spread to other plants in the vicinity.
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More Info on Crown Of Thorns 'vulcanus' Growth and Care

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Basic Care Guide
Transplant
18-24 inches
For crown of thorns 'Vulcanus', the optimal times to transplant are early to late spring or mid-fall to early winter due to favorable growth conditions. Ideal conditions include a sunny location with well-draining soil. Ensure roots stay intact for successful transplantation.
Transplant Techniques
Pruning
Early spring, Late winter
Characterized by its vibrant blooms and thorny stems, crown of thorns 'Vulcanus' should be pruned in early spring or late winter to promote healthy growth and blooming. Use clean, sharp shears to remove dead or overgrown branches, shaping the plant while enhancing light and air circulation. Regular trimming controls its spread and improves its ornamental value, fostering denser, more vibrant flowers. Ensure all cuts are above leaf nodes to encourage new growth.
Pruning techniques
Propagation
Spring
Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus' thrives when propagated properly. Start by obtaining a healthy cutting, ensuring it includes a few leaves for better success. Treat the cut end with rooting hormone to encourage growth and plant it in a well-draining soil mix, typically a combination of peat and perlite. Water sparingly, keeping the soil slightly moist but never waterlogged. Providing adequate sunlight is essential, though direct, harsh light should be avoided to prevent scorching. With consistent care, roots develop effectively.
Propagation Techniques
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Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus'
Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus'
Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus'
Euphorbia milii 'Vulcanus'
Also known as: Christ thorn 'Vulcanus'
Planting Time
Planting Time
Spring, Summer, Fall
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Care Guide for Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus'

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Questions About Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus'

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What should I do if I water my Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus' too much or too little?
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How often should I water my Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus'?
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What should I consider when watering my Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus'?
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How to water Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus'?
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Key Facts About Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus'

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Attributes of Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus'

Lifespan
Perennial
Plant Type
Succulent, Shrub
Dormancy
Non-dormant
Leaf type
Evergreen
Ideal Temperature
20 - 38 ℃
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Scientific Classification of Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus'

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Common Pests & Diseases About Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus'

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Common issues for Crown of thorns 'Vulcanus' based on 10 million real cases
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Scars
Scars Scars Scars
Any light-colored markings that appear on stems but which do not enlarge or multiply are simply scars that have healed.
Solutions: Each source of scarring requires a different approach to help your plant recover. Protect the trunk and leaves from physical damage like scrapes. If pests or disease are the cause of scarring, isolate the plant from others to avoid further spread. Some pests can be removed with organic remedies such as a soft cloth and soapy water solution or diluted isopropyl alcohol spray. Stop sunburn by moving your plant away from direct sunlight and making sure it has the water it needs. Frequent leaf or bud loss may be due to insufficient light or nutrients.
Learn More About the Scars more
Brown spot
Brown spot Brown spot Brown spot
This infection can cause brown spots or patches to appear on the plant.
Solutions: In minor cases of brown spot, there isn’t any need to treat the disease. However, if much of the foliage is affected and defoliation occurs, the plant will benefit from getting rid of the infection. It is recommended to start by applying organic treatment options, working up to the more potent synthetic, chemical fungicides if necessary. Organic options won’t kill the fungus, but will prevent it from spreading. Dissolve ½ teaspoon of baking soda and one teaspoon of liquid soap in a gallon of water. Using a spray bottle, spray on tops and bottoms of leaves until the mixture drips off. Repeat every two weeks until existing spots stop enlarging and new spots no longer appear. Spray a copper-based fungicidal soap on the leaves, coating the top and bottom leaf surfaces. Reapply as directed on the product label. Copper penetrates the leaf surface and prevents germination of spores so the fungus cannot spread. Apply an all-purpose fungicide to the entire plant, following the label instructions carefully.
Learn More About the Brown spot more
Caterpillars
Caterpillars Caterpillars Caterpillars
Caterpillars are fleshy moth or butterfly larvae that come in an array of colors, patterns, and even hairstyles. They chew on leaves and flower petals, creating large, irregular holes.
Solutions: Even though caterpillars are diverse, they all chew on plant parts and can cause significant damage if present in large numbers. For severe cases: Apply insecticide. For an organic solution, spray plants with a Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which specifically affects the larval stage of moths and butterflies. Be sure to coat plants, since caterpillars need to ingest Bt for it to be effective. This will not harm other insects. Spray a chili extract. Chili seeds can be cooked in water to make a spicy spray that caterpillars don't like. Spray this mixture on the plants, but be aware it will also be spicy to humans. Introduce beneficial insects. Release beneficial insects to the garden that eat caterpillars, such as parasitic wasps. For less severe cases: Hand pick. Using gloves, pick off caterpillars on plants and dispose of them in a bucket of soapy water. Dust plants with diatomaceous earth. This powder is harmless to humans but irritates caterpillars. Therefore, it will make it difficult for caterpillars to move and eat.
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Fruit withering
Fruit withering Fruit withering Fruit withering
Fungal infection or normal ripening can cause the fruit to dry out.
Solutions: There are a number of appropriate solutions to control fruit withering: Remove any fruit as soon as it shows any signs of infection. Do not compost. Use a fungicide prior to leaf bud and then as per manufacturers instructions throughout the season.
Learn More About the Fruit withering more
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Scars
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Scars
Any light-colored markings that appear on stems but which do not enlarge or multiply are simply scars that have healed.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Scars form when the plant repairs wounds. They can be the result of people or pets passing by and scraping the plant. Once the underlying issue is resolved, the plant will heal but a scar may remain.
Pests and pathogens can also cause scarring. Insects may attack the plant for a meal, resulting in extensive scarring when a few invaders turn into an infestation. Diseases such as fungus and bacteria can weaken the plant, causing brown spots, mushy areas, or blisters that lead to scars.
Scars occur on stems when a leaf or bud has been lost and the plant has healed. The harder tissue is like a scab that protects a wound.
On other occasions, scars can signal problems from environmental conditions, such as overexposure to sunlight or heat. It might surprise you to know that plants can suffer from sunburn, even desert dwellers like cactus!
Solutions
Solutions
Each source of scarring requires a different approach to help your plant recover.
  1. Protect the trunk and leaves from physical damage like scrapes.
  2. If pests or disease are the cause of scarring, isolate the plant from others to avoid further spread. Some pests can be removed with organic remedies such as a soft cloth and soapy water solution or diluted isopropyl alcohol spray.
  3. Stop sunburn by moving your plant away from direct sunlight and making sure it has the water it needs.
  4. Frequent leaf or bud loss may be due to insufficient light or nutrients.
Prevention
Prevention
Preventing some sources of scarring is easier than others, but all start with careful attention to your plants once you decide to bring them home.
  1. Review specific guidelines for your plant, including soil drainage, watering, and fertilizer requirements.
  2. Inspect plants before planting and use sterile pots and fresh potting soil or media to limit transfer of fungi or bacteria.
  3. Once established, check your plants regularly for signs of scarring or the presence of pests, as it is better to catch problems as early as possible.
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Brown spot
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Brown spot
This infection can cause brown spots or patches to appear on the plant.
Overview
Overview
Discolored spots on the foliage of plants are one of the most common disease problems people observe. These spots are caused by fungal and bacterial diseases, with most infections related to a fungal pathogen.
Brown spot can occurs on all houseplants, flowering ornamentals, vegetable plants, and leaves of trees, bushes, and shrubs. No plants are resistant to it, and the problem is worse in warm, wet environments. It can occur at any point in the life stage as long as leaves are present.
Small brownish spots appear on the foliage and enlarge as the disease progresses. In severe cases, the plant or tree is weakened when the lesions interrupt photosynthesis or cause defoliation.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
In most cases, brown spot only affects a small percentage of the whole plant, appearing on a small amount of the leaves. A small infection only puts minor stress on the plant. However, if left untreated and the disease progresses over numerous seasons, it will severely impact the health and productivity of the infected specimen.
  • Sporulation begins (reproduction of the fungal spores), and tiny spots appear on leaves.
  • Placement is often random and scattered as diseases are spread through raindrops.
  • May appear on lower leaves and the interior of the plant where humidity is higher.
  • Brown spots enlarge and grow large enough to touch neighboring spots to form a more prominent blotch.
  • Leaf margins may turn yellow.
  • Tiny black dots (fruiting bodies of the fungi) appear in the dead spots.
  • Blotches grow in size until the entire leaf is brown.
  • The leaf falls off the plant.
Severe Symptoms
  • Partial or complete premature defoliation
  • Reduced growth
  • Increased susceptibility to pests and other diseases
Disease Cause
Disease Cause
Brown spot, or leaf spot, is a common descriptive term given to several diseases affecting the leaves of plants and trees. Around 85% of diseases exhibiting leaf spots are due to fungus or fungus-like organisms. Sometimes brown spot is caused by a bacterial infection, or insect activity with similar symptoms.
When conditions are warm and the leaf surfaces are wet, fungal spores being transported by wind or rain land on the surface and cling to it. They do not rupture the cell walls but grow in the space between the plant plasma membrane and the plant cell wall. As the spores reproduce, they release toxins and enzymes that cause necrotic spots (i.e., dead tissue) on the leaves, allowing the fungi to consume the products released when the cells degrade.
Solutions
Solutions
In minor cases of brown spot, there isn’t any need to treat the disease. However, if much of the foliage is affected and defoliation occurs, the plant will benefit from getting rid of the infection. It is recommended to start by applying organic treatment options, working up to the more potent synthetic, chemical fungicides if necessary.
Organic options won’t kill the fungus, but will prevent it from spreading.
  1. Dissolve ½ teaspoon of baking soda and one teaspoon of liquid soap in a gallon of water. Using a spray bottle, spray on tops and bottoms of leaves until the mixture drips off. Repeat every two weeks until existing spots stop enlarging and new spots no longer appear.
  2. Spray a copper-based fungicidal soap on the leaves, coating the top and bottom leaf surfaces. Reapply as directed on the product label. Copper penetrates the leaf surface and prevents germination of spores so the fungus cannot spread.
  3. Apply an all-purpose fungicide to the entire plant, following the label instructions carefully.
Prevention
Prevention
Like many other diseases, it is easier to prevent brown spot than cure it, and this is done through cultural practices.
  • Clear fall leaves from the ground before winter to minimize places where fungi and bacteria can overwinter.
  • Maintain good air movement between plants through proper plant spacing.
  • Increase air circulation through the center of plants through pruning.
  • Thoroughly clean all pruning tools after working with diseased plants.
  • Never dispose of disease plant material in a compost pile.
  • Avoid overhead watering to keep moisture off of the foliage.
  • Keep plants healthy by providing adequate sunlight, water, and fertilizer.
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Caterpillars
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Caterpillars
Caterpillars are fleshy moth or butterfly larvae that come in an array of colors, patterns, and even hairstyles. They chew on leaves and flower petals, creating large, irregular holes.
Overview
Overview
Caterpillars can cause problems for home gardeners. If not managed, these insects can defoliate a plant in just a matter of days. However, home gardeners face a challenge because these caterpillars eventually turn into beautiful butterflies and moths, which are important for pollination and the general ecosystem.
There are thousands of different species of caterpillars and many will only target certain plants. If caterpillars are posing a problem, they can be removed by hand, or gardeners can use insect-proof netting to protect their valuable plants.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Caterpillars are the larvae of butterflies and moths. During the warmer months, butterflies and moths that visit gardens will lay their eggs on the underside of leaves.
When the tiny eggs hatch, the young larvae emerge and start feeding on the leaves of the plant. Depending on how many larvae have hatched, they can easily defoliate the plant in a very short period of time. Caterpillars will shed their skin as they grow, around 4 or 5 times during this feeding cycle.
Symptoms of caterpillars eating plants appear as holes in the leaves. The edges of the leaves may be eaten away as well, and flowers can be affected as well.
Some are easy to see, but others need to be searched for. This is because their bodies are often camouflaged to look like part of the plant. Gardeners need to look carefully along the stems of the plant as well as under the leaves. Also, look for tiny white, yellow, or brown eggs that can be found in groups on the underside of leaves.
Once the caterpillar is fully grown, it transforms into a pupa or chrysalis. Then, after a period of time that varies according to the species, a butterfly or moth will emerge from the pupa and the cycle begins again.
Solutions
Solutions
Even though caterpillars are diverse, they all chew on plant parts and can cause significant damage if present in large numbers.
For severe cases:
  1. Apply insecticide. For an organic solution, spray plants with a Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which specifically affects the larval stage of moths and butterflies. Be sure to coat plants, since caterpillars need to ingest Bt for it to be effective. This will not harm other insects.
  2. Spray a chili extract. Chili seeds can be cooked in water to make a spicy spray that caterpillars don't like. Spray this mixture on the plants, but be aware it will also be spicy to humans.
  3. Introduce beneficial insects. Release beneficial insects to the garden that eat caterpillars, such as parasitic wasps.
For less severe cases:
  1. Hand pick. Using gloves, pick off caterpillars on plants and dispose of them in a bucket of soapy water.
  2. Dust plants with diatomaceous earth. This powder is harmless to humans but irritates caterpillars. Therefore, it will make it difficult for caterpillars to move and eat.
Prevention
Prevention
Prevention may require less effort than attempts to eradicate infestations that have already begun. Here are our top steps for prevention:
  1. Monitor plants. Check plants regularly for caterpillar eggs on leaves. If they do not belong to an endangered species, they should be squished.
  2. Use insect netting. Cover plants with insect netting to prevent butterflies and moths from laying eggs on plants.
  3. Apply diatomaceous earth. Apply DE to plants early in the season and reapply after rain.
  4. Encourage plant diversity. This will attract predatory insects including parasitic wasps.
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Fruit withering
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Fruit withering
Fungal infection or normal ripening can cause the fruit to dry out.
Overview
Overview
Fruit withering is common on many tree fruits, including apples, pears, peaches, cherries, and plums, as well as fruiting shrubs. It is caused by a fungal pathogen and will result in wrinkled and desiccated fruit.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Here are the most common symptoms in the order that they are likely to occur.
  1. Both leaves and blossom on the tips of branches will go brown and wither.
  2. Gray powdery patches will appear on infected leaves and flowers, and this will be most apparent after rain.
  3. Any fruit that does appear will turn wrinkled and fail to develop.
  4. Branch tips begin to die, progressing back to larger branches, causing general deterioration of the tree or plant.
Disease Cause
Disease Cause
The withering is caused by one of two fungal pathogens, one called Monilina laxa and the other called M. fructigen. The spores overwinter on infected plant material and are then spread the following spring by wind, rain, or animal vectors. The problem will start to become noticeable in mid-spring, but will increase in severity as summer progresses and the fungus grows. If not addressed, the disease will intensify and spread to other plants in the vicinity.
Solutions
Solutions
There are a number of appropriate solutions to control fruit withering:
  1. Remove any fruit as soon as it shows any signs of infection. Do not compost.
  2. Use a fungicide prior to leaf bud and then as per manufacturers instructions throughout the season.
Prevention
Prevention
Preventative measures include:
  1. Ensuring adequate spacing between plants or trees.
  2. Staking plants that are prone to tumbling to prevent moisture or humidity build up.
  3. Prune correctly so that there is adequate air movement and remove any dead or diseased branches that may carry spores.
  4. Practice good plant hygiene by removing fallen material and destroying it as soon as possible.
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