These exciting and diverse blooms are fairly easy to grow, but there are a few problems with dahlia that may limit their production and even their health. Slugs, snails and cutworms produce topical damage that is visually obvious and reduces plant health and attractiveness. Once infection takes place, water-soaked brown necrotic areas develop. Causes. As if there weren’t enough dahlia pests and diseases, the tubers are very susceptible to freezes, which makes the plants a challenge, but a worthy one, to northern gardeners. Among the most common dahlia diseases are those caused by fungi, such as powdery mildew and gray mold. Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! Fungal issues such as powdery mildew are another universal complaint. Avoid overhead watering and use a horticultural fungicide. It is common to find new leaves completely chewed, lacy and barely still there. Plants eventually wilt and collapse. 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These feed on leaf tissue and make Swiss cheese of the foliage, diminishing the plant’s ability to intake solar energy. Tuber Rot on a Dahlia. Horticultural soaps and blasts of water can minimize their presence. These may include: Stem rot – Stem rot occurs when dahlias are growing in heavy, poorly drained, wet soil. Fusarium can infect dahlia roots and tubers, even ... Signs. Tuber rot in dahlias is caused by a species of fungus, Fusarium, commonly found in soil. Hand picking may be the solution to beating these types of problems with dahlia. The culprits are usually caterpillars or some form of larvae. Rot will often proceed up the stem eventually causing the plant to yellow and die. Watch for common dahlia problems and nip them in the bud quickly for continued blooms and healthy plants. Several types of borer are also dahlia flower pests. Phytophthora (spp) – rot is related to Pythium and as one of the fungi in the oomycete class, has similar symptoms and treatments as Pythium. These may include: Numerous insect pests find dahlias delicious. Pythium’s white cobwebby growth (mycelium) can often be seen on dew-covered grass in early morning. Healthy, chubby tubers are crucial to big bountiful dahlias. Sign up for our newsletter. More sinister complications can arise in your dahlias which can sometimes kill the plant permanently. Sclerotinia minor only infects stems or leaves in close contact with the soil. Slugs and snails may be controlled with diatomaceous earth or slug baits. No matter how experienced you are as a gardener, some issues will arise with your plants. Look for a white ring in the... Mosaic virus – Mosaic virus dwarfs plants and distorts leaves. The first signs of trouble in your plants is often just as they sprout and develop leaves. Hunt at night with a flashlight and use the “squish” method of pest control for cutworms. Knowing what to watch for is half the battle in keeping your prized plants healthy and beautiful. You don’t have to be a collector to appreciate the wide range of color and form found in the dahlia family. Find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. Dahlia flower pests tend to reflect the sap drinking forms but can also encompass leaf eaters such as a wide array of caterpillars and larvae. You will have little chance of huge bunches of flowers if your tubers are scrawny, moldy or rotting. can cause disease on dahlias. You must destroy the plant, as there is no cure. Two species of Sclerotinia spp. Start with healthy tubers first. Those amazing flowers known as dahlias are no exception. In addition to the caterpillars and larvae, sucking insects are probably going to be the biggest issue with the most widespread offenders being: Although these are relatively tiny pests, their habit of sucking sap from the plant can diminish its health, cause stunting and distorted plant parts and even transmit disease. 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