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Rapid, Near complete browning of your whole plant (Mushy base or not)

This has 2 possible causes:

Smell your plant. If there is a "Strong rotting smell" you need Cause #2

1: Rhizoctonia Fungus:

We only know one surefire method to kill this, and that is Zerotol.

Zerotol is basically Hydrogen Peroxide. It is mixed with other chemicals to make a safer, stronger, longer lasting agent. It is extremely broad based in its action and kills everything from the above to algaes and mildews. Since changing to this fungicide, we have had plants such as our Streptocarpus grow in leaps and bounds. Once mixed it has an EPA value of 0 meaning that it is just about the only chemical on the market that requires NO wait time after spraying to re-enter the garden. We love it.

Heres the issues with it. It cannot be shipped because its an oxidizer. Its a concentrate of 27% hydrogen Peroxide, so you have to be VERY CAREFUL when mixing it, wearing rubber gloves so you dont get skin burns. Its not overly cheap. Otherwise its awesome stuff.

Mix it per the instructions for SOIL DRENCH. Get a 5 gallon bucket Unpot your plant. Throw away ALL MEDIA from the plant (we also bleach the pot). Drench the roots.

Now make up a sprayer of zerotol. Pull off and throw away all dead leaves. Wash your hands with steris. Spray the whole plant. Plant the plant in new soil with a new pot.  If you do the spray 2 weeks in a row, you should kill off all the real baddies in your soil and on your plants. Fusarium, Pythium, Rihzoctonia, Rust, you name it.

Any other method to get rid of this extremely extremely serious killer would be from a book, so lets stick with just that one for now.

2: Bacterial Rot

Ouch. OK this one is bad. We honestly would consider throwing out the plant. Now that you have finished mentally vomiting lets consider methods of saving the plant.

If you don't catch this early, the whole plant will turn to mush. This is a bacterial infection just like you or I can get, and there are no known absolute methods to fix it.

Saying that...heres what I was once told to do (3 different methods)


The first is actually Hydrogen Peroxide. Which means that Zerotol and the method above works. In fact we have gotten away with just removing the effeced leaves and using zerotol without doung the "complete stumping of the plant" since first writing this. Frankly if we smell rot we generally toss the plant and throw out the media, burn the village, bleach the pots,run in circles and scream and shout.

Should you chose not to take such a melodramatic action, zerotol your plant, quarantine it in a cool, dry place away from even your other quarantines and give it a few months to see what happens. If you are lucky, your plant will make offsets. The plant needs to be kept very dry during this period. Water it minimally if at all.

The second is "Flowers of Sulfur". This is powdered sulfur basically.You clean the plant as above, then you cover what is left in sulfur. This acts as a drying agent and as a total guess...the same way sulfa drugs will on humans. We had a major bacterial infection in a chinese order of Light of Buddha and saved 70% of the order in this manner. Again, minimal watering. You need to keep the infected areas totally dry.

There are negatives to this method. Yes you save the plant but it is MONTHS of work to normalize the plant again. We took 6+ months normalizing the infected plants, and in every case we lost leaves because the sulfur itself causes a major mineral deficit in the soil even while fertilizing. The result was the scratch and dent sale we had in 2010 in our LOB section. Just realize this is going to happen and have some epson salts or trace elements on hand to repair the deficit.

The third is Physan20. We have used physan20 as a disinfectant and antibacterial for Orchids in the past. We have NOT tried this on Clivia bacterial rot. Dosing with this might be worthwhile, I think we would do the Zerotol/Hydrogen Peroxide treatment and maybe come back with this a few days later if we were to try this.