Join the RHS today and support our charitable work
Free personalised gardening advice
RHS members get reduced ticket prices
RHS members get free access to RHS Gardens
Free entry to RHS members at selected times »
Reduced prices on RHS Garden courses and workshops
020 3176 5800
Mon – Fri | 9am – 5pm
Help us achieve our goals
Join the RHS today and support our charity
Leafy gall is a bacterial disease of the stems and roots of many herbaceous plants. Infection with this disease causes dense clusters of distorted leafy shoots.
Leafy gall on wallflower. Image: RHS, Horticultural Science
Leafy gall is a disease caused by the bacterium Rhodococcus fascians, which enters the plant through wounds in roots or stems and stimulates the plant tissues to grow in a disorganised way, producing dense clusters of distorted, leafy shoots.
The disease is not common and seldom damaging. In gardens, Chrysanthemum, Dahlia, Lathyrus (sweet pea), Nicotiana, Pelargonium (geranium) and strawberries are among the plants most commonly attacked. Expect this disease in summer.
You may see the following symptoms:
Leafy gall is seldom serious enough to warrant control, but if it is troublesome, carefully sterilise pots, surfaces and tools to help eliminate the bacterium, Rhodococcus fascians. All potentially-contaminated growing media (potting compost) should be destroyed (or sent for council composting).
There are no chemicals available for the control of leafy gall.
Infection by Rhodococcus fascians (formerly Corynebacterium fascians) has a similar effect to that of crown gall. Instead of galls, the host tissues produce dense clusters of distorted, stunted shoots at ground level. The bacterium disrupts normal plant hormone levels, in particular auxins and cytokinins, causing the symptoms observed.
Eucalyptus gall wasp
Fuchsia gall mite
Hemerocallis gall midge
the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9
RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.
We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.