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Please help me confirm mosaic virus

I’m a fairly new gardener with, it seems, bad luck. I think I’ve got a mosaic virus in the garden infecting a lot of different types of plant. It will absolutely break my heart to destroy it all, as all my time and money has gone in to the garden this year. Last year I lost tomatoes for a second time to tomato blight, and scab on my evergreens. So before I sacrifice my new plants I would really appreciate some advice from experienced gardeners. Perhaps I am just paranoid.. and would love to be told that! Thank you in advance for any insight you can offer.

Situation: All the plants are in large pots in fresh Westfield cheap compost. The pots do not touch.  Watered regularly (just the base of plants) and fed once a week with appropriate feed. Beans, peppers, cucumber and echinacea grown from seed. Dahlia’s grown from tubers from Sarah Raven bought this year.

Early April: My cucumber seedlings seemed to shrivel and die within days of each other last month. I took everything away in binbags. 
Late April: Dahlias took off a vastly different speeds, same with the beans.
May: Some dahlias appear to be stunted, puckered and light green splodges. Peppers are growing slowly and beans appear to have light green splashes in leaves. Worst of all, today I noticed my echinacea from last year looking sick. Brown edges to the leaves.





Please give it it to me straight.


  • MarlorenaMarlorena Posts: 7,407
    Minor issues, you're worrying about nothing... I hope that's giving it straight...

    It's been a strange winter and Spring, all sorts of odd things happening in my garden too, some beautiful blooms, richly coloured like I've not seen before, other leaf issues I've never been aware of...  just gardening... it'll get over itself...
    East Anglia, England
  • Sazz101Sazz101 Posts: 194
    Phew! Thanks Morlerena. I’ve been given it straight.

    Is anyone a dahlia expert? The dahlia are definitely stunted.. twisted leaves, puckering and some have not grown at all for weeks. Would be greatful for pointers. Thanks in advance.
  • LynLyn Posts: 21,340
    If you’ve put the dahlias outside already they have probably stopped growing to conserve energy, mine won’t go out until June. 
    In fact I wouldn’t have put any out yet.
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • SkandiSkandi Posts: 1,618
    uncurl that twisted leaf and look inside, looks like it could be aphid or other sucking insect damage to me.
    As to losing tomatoes to blight. I don't think it's possible to avoid it, it's merely a case of when not if toms and potatoes get blight here!

  • Sazz101Sazz101 Posts: 194
    Thanks Lyn for the Dahlia advice. I didn’t know it wasn’t safe before June. I’ve been watching the weather to bring them inside if it looked like frost, but that’s it. We’re in the south east. The garden is south west facing and they sit against a fence and the house so quite sheltered and sunny. I’ll definitely hold off next year. Annoying to think I paid full price for the tubers when I could have waited for the sale!!

    Skandi. Thanks for the advice on pests. There were a few aphids but the curling was happening when the plants were indoors. I had assumed it was temperature fluctuations (on windowsill above radiator) but continues outside. Blight... so true. I’ve given up because it’s so disheartening to throw it all away JUST before the fruits are ripe! 
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 16,527
    I'm thinking damage caused by some sort of sucking insect like aphids on the dahlia leaf.  Don't worry about paying full price for tubers. You get the ones you want, instead of the damaged leftovers that on one else wants.  I have planted out five dahlias today. They were too big for the greenhouse, they have had a couple of nights outside, and the forecast is good. if it turns nasty, I will go out and drape fleece or newspaper over them. Mosaic virus tends to be specific to the plant genus.  So cucumber mosaic virus will not infect beans etc. You would be very unlucky to get all the different varieties. Tobacco mosaic virus infectes tobacco, tomatoes and other solanaceous plants. Do not let tobacco smokers  handle your tomato plants, unless you have sterilised their hands.  If you use secateurs, a regular wipe over the blades with methylated spirit help stop virus transmission.
  • Sazz101Sazz101 Posts: 194
    Hi Fidgetbones.
    Thanks for the tips. I really had no idea to delay Dahlia planting until now. Poor things have probably been freezing, but I haven’t got a green house and they were too big to stay on the windowsill. 
    I had read that CMV was terrible for cross infection and could infect all the plants I posted about, including beans. This started my panic when the cucumbers died. It’s listed as the last bean virus on this page:

    And as for unlucky with two viruses.. well I’ll keep my fingers crossed! Occassionally guests leave cigarette buts in an outside ashtray so I will be mindful of that in future. Thanks for your help. Good luck with your Dahlias!
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