Sickly Heuchera (Coral bells)

shadara(5b-6a)June 16, 2009

Tried posting to the Garden Clinic forum with few results so far (that... AND I'm dying to know what is wrong with my plant, since heucheras are supposed to be pretty disease resistant).

I purchased a Heuchera 'Marmalade' a couple days ago. I was hasty and in a rush, but now that I have it home I want to make it better. Then later call GH and tell them what it was that was affecting their plants (and my disappointment).

It has small brown spots on about a third to half of it's apricot colored leaves. When turning them over there are raised, whitish bumps/growths where the spots are above.

Is this fungal or pest?

I'm kinda freaking out because I'm a newb gardener of any type and never seen this before. I know I should just return the plant, but I really wanted this one (for color and size). I will try to treat this plant however and whatever it takes before putting it in my garden. Worst fear... whatever IT has will spread to others already there. But I have quarantined it; away from others and not planted thus far.

I rather try to fix it, then return it for refund. It's a learning experience for me. I just want to keep my other plants in said garden safe for now.

Any clue what it is?

Top of leaf:

Underside of leaf:

I tried searching pics online of various diseases and such and nothing looks like this. Please help me if you can.

Here is a link that might be useful: Top side, next photo in album is bottom side

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ramazz(8a VA)

I found this which I thought might be helpful. I thought their description of rust or fungal leaf spot might match your description. I haven't had this problem with heucheras but did have rust on hollyhocks. Removing the infected leaves helps.


Here is a link that might be useful: Backyard gardener - heuchera

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 9:18AM
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It IS heuchera rust, Puccinia heucherae, and it is pretty common on a number of varieties of heuchera, especially those with yellow, gold or orange foliage. It is prevalent in cool, damp spring conditions and with lack of air circulation and is specific to heucheras and saxifrage and does not spread to other plant types. Cutting back/removing the infected foliage together with an appropriate fungicide is the best control. Increased temperatures and drier summer conditions should retard the development as well.

Personally, I wouldn't bother treating but return the plant, especially if there is a guarantee or warranty in place.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 9:37AM
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Why not return it, Marmalade is easy to find elsewhere, I would think. There is also "Caramel" which is similar, the leaves might be a little lighter in color. Of course if your heart is set on this one harm will be done.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 12:13PM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

I would pick the offending leaves off and ignore it...
When the weather warms up and dries out it'll be gone.
It doesn't spread to other plants and doesn't threaten the health of the plant, just the beauty.
I would call the a little dumb....and tell them about the spots on the plant leaves.....say you asked a friend and they said what it was and you looked it up and it sure looks like it to you. Then ask him what you should do!
If he is a smart businessman, he will thank you, tell you to rush it right back to him and seek to replace it....
But if that's the only place you have seen that will be SOL.
I'd rather try to cure the plant than go through all's a nifty color! I have caramel and it's not the same!
Linda C

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 6:03PM
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Ok, so I was ALL geared up for somewhat of a challenge and thought "Damn it, I'm gonna doctor this baby back to health!" with serious determination.

However, after speaking with a plant pathologist at MSU:

With a heavy heart... I returned the pretty heuchera back to the GH.

According to the pathologist, it was indeed Heuchera Rust caused by Puccinia heucherae. She also stated that it can also infect the following genera:

"Elmera, Lithophragma, Mitella, Saxifraga, Tellima, Tiarella, Tolmiea"

And since I have a very nice Tiarella 'sugar and spice' really close to where the coral bells were going, I ultimately didn't want to take the chance. She also said that if I wanted to try to treat the sick plant to make sure I got a fungicide that had active ingredient of "triadimefon, or thiophanate-methyl as these are the most effective" (just FYI in case anyone needs the info).

And the GH owner was nice. I told her just to credit my account for when my ordered Christmas Fern comes in and she had no problem doing so.

Sadly, I went back to look at all the heuchera in the GH and every one of them had the rust. :(

So thank you so much to everyone that responded!!! I know... I'm a newb and shouldn't freak out as much, *blush* but so VERY glad you all are here to help me.

So now I gotta find another place to get H. 'marmalade' (or 'caramel'). Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 11:47PM
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