Straw flowers are robust plants with a high resistance to pests and diseases. However, illnesses occasionally occur even with good care.Straw flowers are robust plants Straw flowers, also called Helichrysum, are not only very robust, but also easy to care for. With the right care of the straw flower you will not only delight the plants during the flowering period, but also long afterwards. Straw flowers can finally be dried and thus used for dry bouquets. Provided there were no pests or diseases spread. Because then the decorative flowers can be seriously damaged. Usually, however, small changes in handling the plants are enough to breathe new life into them.
Prevention is the be-all and end-all
If you take a few preventive measures, you can prevent your straw flowers from becoming infected with diseases and pests. Choose e.g. always from a warm and sunny location where resistant specimens can develop. Straw flowers are quite undemanding, but do not like cold and wet. Therefore keep the plants moderately moist. Pour smaller amounts of water on the surrounding earth in the morning and evening, not on leaves or flowers. The water must not be ice cold. If the straw flower is in a bucket, you have to make sure that water can drain freely.
However, these measures do not offer 100 percent protection. Downy mildew, Verticillium wilt and aphids are among the most common pests and diseases that occasionally make straw flowers difficult.
These diseases and pests can occur
Downy mildew is a common plant disease that invades the straw flowers and then forms a white mushroom turf on the underside of the leaves. Yellow to brownish spots appear on the upper side of the leaf.
If you recognize this damage pattern from your straw flowers, remove all infested leaves immediately. As a rule, you do not have to fight downy mildew with chemical pesticides.
Good home remedies for protection against re-infestation are vegetable broths from nettles (instructions here) or field horsetail (instructions here). In addition, it makes sense to thin out dense straw flowers. Downy mildew thrives especially in damp conditions. If there is a large gap between the individual plants, the leaves dry much faster, which then gives the mildew no chance.
Wilted and sagging leaves in straw flowers are often due to a lack of light, water or nutrients. If you can rule out these causes, your straw flowers may suffer from the dangerous Verticillium wilt. If the leaves suddenly become flaccid and pale for no apparent reason, this is a warning.
Remove all affected leaves and observe the plant for a few days. If the wilt occurs again on other leaves, it is best to remove the straw flower together with the surrounding earth. The Verticillium wilt is a highly infectious fungal disease. You should accept the loss of a single flower to protect the other plants in your garden. Important: Do not compost the infected straw flower, but dispose of the plant in the household waste. Otherwise you risk that the mushroom will get back into the garden next year.
Every now and then aphids also infest straw flowers. Check your plants regularly to see whether aphids have taken root. The sooner you recognize the pests, the better they can be fought.
If you only see a few aphids, simply remove them with a dry cloth. If there is more infestation, it is advisable to spray the plants with a soft soap / spirit solution. To do this, simply mix 500 milliliters of water with a tablespoon of alcohol and a tablespoon of soft soap and spray the plant with it soaking wet. But don't forget the undersides of the sheets. Repeat the process once a week until the pests have spread out.