Philodendrons are a versatile low-maintenance houseplant loved for their unique foliage. These plants usually do well with very little care from their owners but can develop problems like fungus infections. Your philodendron can get infected with fungi such as leaf spot, powdery mildew, pythium root rot, southern blight, or anthracnose.
To get rid of the fungal infection in philodendron, you must isolate your plant, prune the affected parts, and spray fungicide on the plant. You can mix Epsom salt with water and apply it to your philodendron. Apart from that, commercial fungicides are also an effective solution.
Fungal infection can be hard to treat, but you cannot leave it on the plant as it can be toxic for both the plant and the humans. So, be careful while treating fungus infections on your philodendron.
Fungicides will prevent the further spread of the infection, and pruning the affected areas might help you get rid of fungus on your philodendron. But if you don’t take action on time, the fungus will spread all over the plant, making it hard for you to save it.
In this article, we will go through the ways of getting rid of different kinds of fungus infections on your philodendron. This will give you a decent idea of how to deal with these stubborn fungi.
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Why does my philodendron have fungus on it?
There can be various reasons behind fungus growth on your philodendron. The main problem is that your philodendron is exposed to unfavorable conditions. But there can be other reasons also.
Let’s look at some common reasons behind fungus infection:
- Low light
- Excessive misting
- Contaminated soil
- Contaminated tools
- Other nearby plants are infected, and wind has carried the fungus to your philodendron.
What types of fungus are found on philodendrons?
Philodendrons are hard to kill, but fungus infections can kill the plant if not treated on time. Let’s take a look at all the fungus that can attack your philodendron.
Dactylaria leaf spot
If you have an overwatered philodendron, it can develop dactylaria leaf spot disease. It can often be confused with thrips infestation, but this is a fungal disease.
These are most commonly found in vining philodendrons. The young leaves of your vining philodendron plant, such as the heart-leaf philodendron, are susceptible to this fungal disease.
You will notice spots on young leaves if your philodendron has the dactylaria leaf spot disease. These spots turn yellow or tan over time.
The dactylaria fungus grows in the soil and slowly spreads to the plant from there.
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Powdery mildew infection is common in many plants, including the philodendrons. Some signs of powdery mildew infection are curling leaves or discolored foliage.
You will notice dusty white spots on the upper leaf surfaces of your philodendron. Powdery mildew grows fast in humid conditions, so if your philodendron lives in a cool and humid climate, it becomes vulnerable to powdery mildew attack.
Fungi such as Glomerella sp. and Colletotrichum sp. can attack your philodendron and cause anthracnose.
If your philodendron is going through anthracnose disease, the margins of the leaves will turn yellow and eventually become brown. If you don’t treat it soon enough, the leaves will fall off.
Southern blight is a deadly disease that can eventually take over the whole philodendron.
If the philodendron gets infected with the Sclerotium rolfsii fungus, it will develop the southern blight disease. This disease will first affect the roots and cause root rot. It can also affect the stem, causing stem rot.
But you will start noticing cotton-like growth near the infected areas of your philodendron. You will notice brown seed-like structures on the infected leaves or near the growth portion of the stems.
Pythium root rot
This is a type of root rot that occurs due to Pythium spp. attack. You will notice the common signs of root rot on your philodendron, such as yellow or brown leaves. If you have a vining philodendron, the leaves on the upper vine will start wilting.
If you take the philodendron out of the pot, you will notice that the roots have turned soft and brown or black.
How to get rid of fungus on philodendron?
We have discussed all the possible fungus infections on your philodendron. Now we will find out how you can treat these.
One way to get rid of fungus on your philodendron is to make a solution by mixing 1 quart of water and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and spraying this on the plant.
Get rid of dactylaria leaf spot
It would be best to start the treatment as soon as you notice the brown spots on the leaves of your philodendron.
First of all, isolate the philodendron from the other plants so that the infection cannot spread. Avoid misting the plant. Then you need to remove the affected leaves.
You can either use all-purpose fungicides available in the market or mix ½ teaspoon baking soda with 1-gallon water. This will create a mild solution that will not cause any damage to the plant.
If you are using commercial fungicides, don’t forget to read the label.
You can prevent leaf spot disease by placing your philodendron in a spot where it gets proper air circulation and avoid overwatering it.
Fungus thrives in a damp environment, and you need to keep your plant away from such conditions.
Get rid of powdery mildew
Get ready to prune the affected areas of the philodendron. Disinfect your gardening shears or pruners.
Now, identify the areas that have powdery mildew infection. Philodendrons love humidity, and so do the powdery mildew. You must not prune excessively as too much airflow between the leaves and stems can hinder the humidity.
So, be careful while pruning and prune only the necessary parts.
Cut all the infected parts with the disinfected shears and dispose of those properly. If the plant is heavily infected, you might need to remove the whole plant to save the other plants in the house.
You can create a fungicide by adding one teaspoon of baking soda to one quart of water. Spray this mixture on the affected areas of your philodendron. You can also use stylet oil. It is best to rotate the fungicides you use, as mildew can become resistant to the same chemical.
For this disease also, you must get rid of the affected areas first. You must prune and destroy the affected leaves.
You can opt for a copper-based fungicide and spray your philodendron with the same. However, be careful as copper can be toxic for microbes in the soil. So, avoid spraying too much of it.
You must buy healthy plants to prevent anthracnose because getting unhealthy plants will always have problems. Avoid overwatering the plant, and make sure to use a well-draining soil mix.
Treat southern blight
After reading till here, you must have guessed that the first step is to trim and destroy the affected parts of your philodendron.
Since a soil-borne fungus causes southern blight, it would be best to dispose of the soil and repot the philodendron in a fresh soil mix.
It will help if you spray fungicides to prevent the spread of this fungal disease any further. Make sure to wash the roots and get rid of the soil mix before repotting it.
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Treat pythium root rot
The treatment would be no different from how you treat root rot in your houseplants.
It would be best to repot the philodendron. First of all, isolate the plant from the rest of the plants. Prepare a fresh soil mix and get a new pot with proper drainage holes.
Take the philodendron gently out of its current pot and wash the roots by placing them under running water. Try to remove all the soil from the roots gently.
Take a pair of sterilized pruners and cut the damaged roots off with the damaged stems and leaves. Make sure to destroy these.
Fill two-thirds of the pot with the fresh soil mix and plant the philodendron in the new soil mix. Water your plant and place it in a bright spot that gets indirect sunlight.
If the root rot has done tremendous damage to your philodendron, you might not be able to save the plant, and it would be best to get rid of it. However, you can take a healthy cutting if you find one and propagate it to get a new philodendron plant out of it.
If you want to prevent Pythium root rot, you must provide the correct living conditions to your philodendron. The culprit behind root rot is overwatering, so you should avoid overwatering the plant.
You must keep it in a bright place that gets indirect sunlight and proper airflow.
Also read: How Do You Fix Root Rot On A Philodendron? (Signs, Causes+Solution)
Try to provide healthy and suitable living conditions to your philodendron so that it doesn’t become vulnerable to fungus attacks. It can get tricky to get rid of the fungus, and you might even lose your plant to it, so it would be best to prevent it rather than treating it.
Avoid overwatering the philodendron and maintain proper air circulation around it. Keep checking the pot’s drainage holes to make sure that they don’t get blocked. You can spray a mixture of baking soda and water on the plant to prevent any fungal growth.
Ref: Evaluation of Different Species of Philodendron Under Indoor Conditions, University of Florida, University of Vermont, ScienceDirect, Academia, Wikipedia, Britannica.
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