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Lilies suffer from a number of fungal and viral diseases. The most common in gardens is 'lily disease' which is a fungal leaf infection.
Diseases which attack lilies can lead to unsightly flowers or foliage. They may also cause rotting in the bulbs. Lilies may be affected by;
Symptoms vary, depending on the disease concerned;
Resistance: Lilium candidum, and L. regale are particularly susceptible to lily disease, others somewhat less so, but none is really resistant. Bellingham and regale hybrids, L. hansonii, L. canadense, L superbum and L. henryi are said to be resistant to Fusarium rot. Tulip breaking virus is serious in L. speciosum, L. auratum and L. × testaceum, less so in L. lancifolium and L. bulbiferum.
There is no chemical control recommended for control of lily diseases.
Botrytis elliptica, the pathogen causing 'lily disease' produces black, seed-like resting structures in dead leaf tissue and in this form overwinters in the soil, releasing airborne spores the following season. Wet conditions are needed for infection. The pathogen is closely related to other Botrytis species which attack specific hosts (e.g. B. galanthina on snowdrops).
There are many host specific strains of the soil-borne fungal pathogen Fusarium oxysporum and the one known as Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lilii only attacks lilies. It often enters through the basal plate, especially if this is damaged. It can contaminate soil for at least three years in the absence of lilies. The fungus Rhizoctonia solani is very common and widespread and exists in many different strains. It is serious on tulips, less so on lilies, bulbous iris, ixias, colchicums, crocuses, hyacinths and narcissi. The fungus produces resting structures called sclerotia which allow the fungus to persist in the soil for several years.
Tulip breaking virus infects lilies and is carried from plant to plant (vectored) by aphids. Other viruses such as Cucumber mosaic virus also affect lilies and often more than one type of virus can be present in the same plant, leading to very variable symptoms. Because lilies are perennial, virus infection tends to accumulate with age.
Damping offLily beetleLilies: growing in containersSnowdrops: grey mouldTulip viruses
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