Stargazer black slimy top

Michael Mace
Wed, 09 May 2012 11:00:04 PDT
Hi, Marti.

Welcome to the PBS list!

I hope somebody with real lily expertise will have a thought for you.
Unfortunately, I am not that person; my climate in California is a bit dry
in the summer for lilies, and although I tried them a lot in the past, it
was too hard to keep them going over the years, so I moved on to other

So all I can do is give you general advice, and hope it helps a little.

The symptoms you're having sound unusual.  The most common diseases you read
about in lily websites like this
ml  ) are botrytis and basal rot.  All the photos I've seen for botrytis
show attacks starting at the bottom of the plant (due to spores splashing up
from the soil?) or show the whole plant engulfed.  And basal rot attacks the
bulb.  I presume you've dug up the bulb when dormant and it's not damaged,

Based on your symptoms, I'd assume that the disease is happening at the tip
of the plant, but you can't be sure of that.  I have seen cases in other
bulb species where the plant tips die or wither due to damage at the root
level (root damage = not enough water going into plant = parts of plant
furthest from roots die or are vulnerable to secondary infection).  You'll
think the problem is at the tip, but actually it's underground.  That could
be happening to you -- do the tips wilt first and then turn black, or do
they go straight from healthy to black?  But even if root damage is the
cause, it could be due to either too much or too little water, or to some
pathogen in the soil.

So who knows where this is coming from.  If we don't get a lily expert
chiming in with a real diagnosis, I would be very tempted to treat the plant
now with one of the systemic fungicides you can get in a general nursery.
If this is a fungus, that treatment will hopefully protect both the roots
and stems.

(Of course, a bottle of fungicide might cost more than the price of that
lily.  Your call.)

Good luck, and I'm sorry I don't have more specific advice.

San Jose, CA

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