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Calla Lily Plants

Q.Why Are My Calla Buds Malformed?

Zone Dryden, NY 13053 | plantsman added on June 18, 2020 | Answered

I have grown calla lilies with vigorous large, healthy looking leaves in a large pot for about 10 years in upstate NY. They are amply watered and fertilized and receive about 8 hours of sunshine or bright light each day. After the foliage starts dying back in the fall the pot is moved into a 45 degree garage for the winter and not watered at all. I have experimented with lifting the tubers and also with leaving them in the pot until spring. Neither method seems to change the problem I keep having with the buds which you can see in the photo. This disfiguration has happened each year on 95 percent of the buds for more than 7 years. Each year I vow to throw them out and start over but then I think of something else to try to salvage them. I do not see any evidence of insect damage, but I could be overlooking something. My suspicion is that it happens early on in the formation of the bud prior to the stem emerging from the surrounding leaf. I have inspected the tubers in the winter and they look very healthy. Insects? Disease? Virus? Too cold during the winter storage? I’m running out of potential solutions. Thank you!!

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on June 19, 2020

This is likely a Mosaic Virus.

If you test your soil nutrients and pH and those are within the correct levels, then I suspect Mosaic Virus, since the symptoms are pretty common of the disease.

If nothing else is out of line and everything is perfect, then Mosaic Virus is very likely. This disease is not treatable and starts out with an aphid bite. Even a single aphid can spread the disease, but it is likely that it suffered an aphid infection sometime before the start of the disease.

Here is an article for more information:


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