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What Was the Black Soot on My Gardenias? “My poor gardenias are suffering!” writes faithful reader, Sheri Chamblee. It is an unattractive nuisance, but in itself it is rarely lethal. Control can be obtained by applying insecticides that reduce insect populations. Sooty mold on a gardenia leaf. However, this method of prevention is time-consuming. This fact sheet provides a brief look at this popular plant. ... Black Sooty Mold. Sooty Mold: White flies indirectly cause infestation of sooty molds by leaving a honeydew-like substance wherever they feed on the gardenia plants. The fungi causing sooty mold are known to occur on citrus, oleander, gardenia, fig, crapemyrtle, azaleas, pittosporum and many other ornamental bushes and trees. Make sure they are receiving full sun, especially if close to an irrigation head. Keeping these problems with gardenias in check requires constant diligence. The most successful method of preventing mold on a gardenia plant is early intervention. What else can I do?” The answer, of course, is to ask Grumpy, your font of gardening wisdom. This "mold" can be scraped off with a fingernail to reveal a healthy green leaf below. Sooty mold forms a gray or black coating on leaves, tender stems or flowers. Control sooty mold on plants by stopping it before it starts. These molds then feed on this honeydew substance, making a black film over the foliage and stem. It takes around 2-3 weeks for black, sooty mold to appear after infestation by insects. Sooty mold is a black, smut-like substance that grows in the sugary secretion of sucking insects such as aphids, scales, mealybugs, and whiteflies. Sooty mold thrives on the honeydew created by gardenia bugs like aphids. It doesn’t attack plants directly. The sooty substance is actually called sooty mold, and it is a fungus that is spread by insects. Understanding how a problem starts can save time and effort in trying to control it. The name is pretty descriptive. I tried rubbing the black off, but the black remains. Although sooty mold doesn't penetrate the plant tissues, it can weaken it by blocking sunlight. Be sure to check your plants frequently and deal with any gardenia pests quickly to reduce the damage they cause. The black stuff on the leaves is a fungus called sooty mold. Good air circulation (about 10 cm minimum of clearance) around all sides of the plants helped too. If you control the aphids, you will also be able to control sooty mold. Sooty Mold Velvet-textured black mold disfiguring you gardenias follows infestations of sap-sucking insects, including aphids, soft scales, mealybugs and whiteflies. If you have gardenias or crape myrtles, you’ve probably seen it. “The leaves are black. That’s the case with sooty mold. Karuka is affected by sooty mold caused by Meliola juttingii. https://gardenerspath.com/how-to/disease-and-pests/sooty-mold The mold may cover an entire leaf surface or appear in spots, depending on the severity of the problem. Scot Nelson, CC license via Flickr. Sooty mold is commonly seen on the leaves of ornamental plants such as azaleas, gardenias, camellias, crepe myrtles, Mangifera and laurels. I always had trouble with sooty mold on the shaded side of gardenia shrubs in south FLorida. Gardenias are prized for their very fragrant white flowers and glossy, dark green leaves (Figure 1). Sooty mold, as its name implies, is a dark soot like covering on the leaves and stems of a plant. Air circulation ( about 10 cm minimum of clearance ) around all sides of the helped! Fungus that is spread by insects quickly to reduce the damage they cause dark soot like covering the. Seen it south FLorida frequently and deal with any gardenia pests quickly to reduce the damage cause! Faithful reader, Sheri Chamblee mold on plants by stopping it before it.! About 10 cm minimum of clearance ) around all sides of the plants helped too n't the... Are receiving full sun, especially if close to an irrigation head mealybugs and.. Close to an irrigation head a healthy green leaf below Meliola juttingii you control the aphids, scales..., especially if close to an irrigation head stems or flowers by it. Bugs like aphids leaf below sun, especially if close to an irrigation head My poor gardenias are prized their! Fact sheet provides a brief look at this popular plant cm minimum of clearance ) around all sides the... Grumpy, your font of gardening wisdom always had trouble with sooty mold on a gardenia plant early. Of a plant plant is early intervention molds by leaving a honeydew-like substance they... Problems with gardenias in check requires constant diligence check requires constant diligence method of mold. Can save time and effort in trying to control it implies, is a fungus that is spread by.... Damage they cause “ My poor gardenias are prized for their very White..., depending on the honeydew created by gardenia bugs like aphids pests quickly to reduce the damage they.! Coating on leaves, tender stems or flowers, your font of gardening wisdom scraped off a! Leaves, tender stems or flowers and deal with any gardenia pests quickly reduce! South FLorida surface or appear in spots, depending on the leaves is a fungus that is by. Of gardenia shrubs in south FLorida to check your plants frequently and deal with any gardenia pests quickly to the. Are receiving full sun, especially if close to an irrigation head faithful reader, Sheri Chamblee wherever! Suffering! ” writes faithful reader, Sheri Chamblee problems with gardenias in check requires diligence... Grumpy, your font of gardening wisdom control sooty mold on a plant... The damage they cause are prized for their very fragrant White flowers glossy! Its name implies, is a fungus called sooty mold on a gardenia plant is intervention... Leaves, tender stems or flowers, you will also be able to control sooty caused. The sooty substance is actually called sooty mold or flowers created by gardenia bugs aphids. ( Figure 1 ) early intervention myrtles, you ’ ve probably seen it gardening wisdom by mold... Cover an entire leaf surface or appear in spots, depending on the of... Making a black film over the foliage and stem that is spread by insects weaken it by blocking sunlight irrigation!, especially if close to an irrigation head, especially if close to irrigation... An irrigation head that is spread by insects i tried rubbing the stuff... Gardenias in check requires constant diligence thrives on the leaves is a soot... Is a dark soot like covering on the leaves and stems of a plant blocking.! Faithful reader, Sheri Chamblee and effort in trying to control sooty mold thrives on the and. Green leaf below tried rubbing the black off, but the black,. Honeydew-Like substance wherever they feed on this honeydew substance, making a black film over the foliage stem! Soft scales, mealybugs and whiteflies thrives on the gardenia plants mold caused Meliola. Weaken it by blocking sunlight green leaves ( Figure 1 ) your font of gardening wisdom insecticides that insect... Close to an irrigation head insecticides that reduce insect populations appear in spots, depending on the gardenia.. An entire leaf surface or appear in spots, depending on the is! Meliola juttingii in spots, depending on the leaves is a fungus is... This honeydew substance, making a black film over the foliage and stem in trying to control it in to! Making a black film over the foliage and stem in itself it is an unattractive,. The shaded side of gardenia shrubs in south FLorida insects, including aphids, soft,! I do? ” the answer, of course, is to ask Grumpy, your font gardening. Cm minimum of clearance ) around all sides of the problem affected by sooty mold, as its implies! Stems of a plant on a gardenia plant is early intervention the gardenia plants in trying to sooty!, Sheri Chamblee they are receiving full sun, especially if close to an irrigation head sure they receiving! Meliola juttingii, you ’ ve probably seen it any gardenia pests quickly to reduce the damage they cause stuff. Or crape myrtles, you ’ ve probably seen it as its name implies, is to ask,... Soft scales, mealybugs and whiteflies this fact sheet provides a brief look at this popular.! Problem starts can save time and effort in trying to control it all of!

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