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Popular Flower Impatiens Facing Serious Threat From Mildew Disease

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(Photo credit: KENPEI via Creative Common license)

(Photo credit: KENPEI via Creative Common license)

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BOSTON (CBS) – A local nursery is telling people they may want to consider alternatives in their gardens this spring to one of the most popular plants in the United States.

A disease called Downy Mildew has spread nationwide and is causing major problems for Impatiens walleriana, the most common type of impatiens and number-one selling annual in the U.S.

The mildew spores leave black spots on the plants, turn them yellow, and eventually cause the plants to shrivel up and die.

Paul Waxman of Mahoney’s, which is based in Winchester and has several garden centers across Massachusetts, explained to WBZ NewsRadio 1030 that Downy Mildew is extremely invasive and is causing real problems.

“What happens is, if your plant gets it, you have to not only throw out that plant, you have to throw out the dirt the plant was put in; because otherwise it will stay dormant in that dirt until next year,” Waxman said.

Waxman says Mahoney’s has cut back on the number of Impatiens it normally grows.

The garden center is treating the ones it is growing with a fungicide that’s not definitely proven to work.

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