Mildew got you down? Seek out an alternative

June 26th, 2015 9:40 pm

First Posted: 5/23/2013

Local green thumbs might feel the pain caused by the fungus-like organism threatening impatiens.

This year marked the first that Tom Tobin, owner of Tom Tobin Jr. Wholesale Florist, 905 Wyoming Ave., Forty Fort, had heard of the disease known as impatiens downy mildew.

“We’re told that it isn’t actually in the plant, that it’s in the soil from the last few years,” he said. Gardeners planting impatiens in the same ground run the risk of their plants not holding up, he added.

Impatiens sales are down at his shop by about 80 percent this year, but New Guinea impatiens are not affected, Tobin said.

“It’s usually the most popular flower for planting around people’s homes. People are definitely aware of it, and the public seems to know more about it than I do,” he said.

Swoyersville resident and Plant Mechanix owner James Cerreta said that, without preparation, impatiens could be problematic for some.

“If you plant them in the same spot without dousing it with a fungicide, you’re going to have problems,” Cerreta advised. “One of my colleagues had a lot of loss with them last year.”

Replacing the plant in your home garden is easy, though.

“It’s a matter of taste, and there’s so much available,” he said.

Cerreta added that gardeners should look for other shade-tolerant plants to plant this year if the mildew concerns them.