Southern Blight – On Creeping Jenny

Q: My creeping Jenny is dying before my eyes. I see these tiny little brown beads on the ground and on the leaves. What is this and what can I use to stop it?

A: Your creeping Jenny has Southern blight. Look closely and you’ll see some “webby” stuff between leaves and stem and soil.

The webby stuff is called mycelia. They are the root strands of a fungus that’s decomposing the stems of your plants.

Southern blight fungus, Sclerotium rolfsii, is in most Southern soils. It attacks plants when they are weakened by shade, excess moisture around the stem or physical damage.

The small, light brown seed things are sclerotia, which are the structures in which the fungus overwinters.

Many plants, including hosta, impatiens, daylily, blue star creeper and ajuga, are susceptible to this fungus.

There is no homeowner fungicide for controlling Southern blight. The best control is to maintain an environment favorable for your plants and unfavorable for the fungus: don’t water frequently, change water drainage patterns and add gritty sand to the soil if you think it doesn’t drain quickly.