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Plant Diseases/Begonias spots


QUESTION: I normally don't keep flowers. However, while in Lowes this week I picked up a container of 4 begonia semperflorens because they were selling for only a dollar! In looking at it more closely I've noticed what seem to be white droplets in varying sizes from a pin head to dime size and mostly but not all, around the leaf edges on 2 of the plants.

Fearing it had a problem I did an image search and found something similar showing on only one of the leaves called powdery mildew.

However I'm not sure that is what this plant is entirely showing because most of the white spots are more distinct rather than gradually fading outward. It almost seems as if a whitish liquid was dropped on it at one time .  Yet other spots seem to be growing naturally within the smaller new leaf growth. Then again not all the leaves have any white markings at all.

My uneducated guess is there maybe a combination of things going on. The only photos I can find where some of the spots are similar are to my begonias are on this page...

(3rd,4th & 5th pics down)

Those photos lead me to believe I have a variety which is suppose to have those white spots. What are your thoughts? I can't help thinking they were being sold because they were diseased.

ANSWER: Christine:

I do not recognize your description as being a disease. Powdery Mildew often looks like someone dusted baby powder on the leaves, rather than distinct "droplets".  Mealy bugs (insect) looks like white "tufts" or lumps often seen on the stems. Another thing that is confused with a pest is a form of fertilizer called Osmocote.  These granules are round, about the size of a BB and will develop a liquid inside them over time.  Some people think they are eggs.  They are usually found in the soil around the roots.

If you have the opportunity, take and send a photo to help out.  Try to get as close as you can to take the shot.  Be sure it is in focus by reviewing it on your computer before you send.


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QUESTION: Steve, Here's the photo of my begonias. This pot came with 4 plants, one of the plants doesn't have any spots so I'm hoping that's not the only one I can salvage.

The other plants have leaves with small spots and red circles around them. Yet other spots are a white transparent or opaque; these are larger and without red edges. A few of them looks almost lacey.  Thank you so much for your help in identifying the spots!


Thanks for your photos! The spots appear to me not as an infectious problem, but more of an environmental issue such as a possible localized injury. May have been a contact type injury where something injured the leaves.  If practical, try removing the leaves with heaviest # of spots and monitor the new leaves coming on.  I expect the plant will probably "grow out" of the problem as new growth appears and that the injury was a one time thing.


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Dr Stephen Vann


Plant Diseases and Disorders of Lawn Grasses, Trees, Vegetables,and Ornamentals


Plant Diseases Identification and Management

B.S. Botany --- Miss. State Univ. M.S. Plant Pathology --- Miss. State Univ. Ph.D. Plant Pathology --- Texas A & M Univ.

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