PPDL Picture of the Week

March 21, 2016

Disease Resistant Annuals and Perennials

Janna Beckerman, Associate Professor, Botany & Plant Pathology Dept, Purdue University

From plants to pants, impulse buying is something many of us do, and later regret. That plant that looked so good in the store…is now covered in powdery mildew--Or dead! Don’t get caught with your plants (or your pants!) down. A little research and patience can really help with your plant decision.


Some impulses stem from the need to save time or money. However, impulse buying plants rarely saves you either. So, before you buy that plant, compare the price to the value. That cheap plant in the big box store six-pack might not be the best one for your yard, even if it is incredibly convenient to buy right now (or priced really well). Do you want to spend every weekend treating that plant with some sort of pesticide? Do you want to regularly water and fertilize that annual? Do you want to turn your perennials into annuals? Most people will answer no.


If so, say yes to disease resistant plants, which look better with less pesticide (Fig. 1). Or go for some of those old-time favorite annuals, like marigolds, portulaca (moss rose), and celosia, which suffer fewer disease problems and perform like little troopers. Avoid peonies like this susceptible “Alexander Fleming” peony, in favor of the more resistant Festivus Maximus, or Itoh Hybrid (Fig. 2).


Click here for more information on ‘Disease resistant annuals and perennials in the landscapes’.


This information and more is included in the Purdue Annual Doctor and Purdue Perennial Doctor apps for Android and iphone. For more information see: https://purdueplantdoctor.com

Click image to enlarge

Fig 1. ‘Festivus Maximus’ peony on the left still gets disease, just not nearly as quickly or as severely. Photo by Janna Beckerman.

Fig. 2. Itoh hybrid “Bartzella” has shown no incidence of powdery mildew at this location for the past eight years. Photo by Janna Beckerman.