Gardening: What’s this grey mould destroying my plants?

Hannah Stephenson offers the lowdown on grey mould, one of winter’s most prevalent plant diseases.

It’s already blighted my cyclamen in pots, has enveloped the leaves of my ornamental cabbages, and left the base of other plants in soggy tatters.

Grey mould, or botrytis, is one of our most common winter problems, a nuisance fungus that emerges during damp weather, invades greenhouse plants in cool and humid conditions, or attacks plants that have an open wound left by something else.

What are the symptoms?

It covers stems, foliage and fruit with a soft grey fluff and can seriously damage crops. While outdoor attacks are most common during wet weather in summer, when high temperatures and humidity prevail, in winter grey mould is most likely to happen under glass, when plants are at the lowest point of their annual growth cycle, producing a mass of vulnerable decaying foliage.

Which plants are affected?

So many plants can be hit by botrytis, including chrysanthemums and gladioli, tomatoes, onions, geraniums and a host of other plants.

It is common on apples, grapes, strawberries, raspberries and currants, while vegetables affected include beans, brassicas, cucumbers, lettuce, peas, potatoes and celery and carrots in store. Once it

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