White spots on parsley plants indicate that the plants may be infected with powdery mildew fungi or they are growing in poor growing conditions.
Fortunately for you, you can easily fix the white spot problems. Learn the full cause of white spots on parsley leaves as well as possible solutions by reading this article.
- Why Are There White Spots on My Parsley Leaves?
- How To Prevent or Treat White Spots on Parsley Leaves
Why Are There White Spots on My Parsley Leaves?
There are white spots on your parsley leaves mainly because of the powdery mildew fungus. Other reasons why parleys can have white spots on their leaves are the use of hard water, pest attack, bacterial infection, poor growing conditions, and lighting problems.
– White Powdery Mildew and Other Fungal Diseases
Fungi such as powdery mildew that attack parsley plants are the major reasons why you’d see the parsley plant’s leaves turning white. These fungal diseases come in different forms, but they usually show as white or gray spots on the parsley leaves. The powdery mildew fungus can attack so many types of plants, so no plant in your garden is safe from it if one plant is infected.
Though the downy fungus mildew or simply the downy mildew attacks parsleys as well and gives them white spots, it is not a true type of fungi. Most fungi that attack parleys do so because the plants are growing in poor conditions, especially with humidity and water problems.
– Lighting Problems
When you do not grow your plants in the right growing conditions, they will surely let you know. White, pale, or yellow spots on parsley could mean that the plants have sunburn or there is no sufficient light. For plants growing exposed to more sunlight than they need, the spots will turn brown and the leaves will start to wither.
As for plants growing with insufficient light, all their leaves will become pale, the whole plant will become weak, and you should see it growing toward the sun or source of light. Remember that all these signs start with the leaves getting white, pale, or yellow spots.
– Nutrient Problems
Plants need nutrients to grow and produce fruits and flowers. Without nutrients, your plants will not grow as beautifully as they should. With too many nutrients, your plants might burn and dry out.
This is why you must give them the right amount of nutrients. As for parsley plants, you can tell that the soil has too many nutrients when you see white or pale spots very close to the edge of their leaves.
You should also see the plant’s leaves curling from the outside if nutrients are too much. When the nutrients are not enough (especially nitrogen, iron, and some other nutrients), you will see pale spots on the leaves and the plants will look generally frail.
– Use of Hard Water
Have you checked the white spots if you can easily blow or wipe them off? If the white spots look more like mineral deposits on the leaves, they could be an indication that you are watering your parsley plants with hard water.
Hard water is any water with a high concentration of nutrients and minerals. What happens when you water your plants is that the water evaporates and leaves minerals on the leaves.
Watering your parsley plants with hard water will give similar symptoms as overfeeding the plants. The plants getting more nutrients and minerals than they need will start to curl from their leaves and the leaves will turn yellow or brown.
– Insects and Other Invertebrate Pests Attack
Some examples of insects that eat parsley leaves are spider mites, thrips, and aphids. These insects resemble white spots on the underside of the leaves.
Also, weevil eggs and the eggs of some other insects that lay on plants resemble white spots. If the spots are tiny and can fall off easily, they could be insects or insect eggs.
Insects such as weevils create bite marks on parsley leaves, so you can easily tell that they are attacking your plants. However, aphids and other sap-sucking insects do not create bite marks. They make the plants weak and pale until it dies if they are too many.
– It’s a Bacterial Infection
Bacterial infections can lead to brown, yellow, pale, or white leaf spots depending on the type of bacterial diseases. The bacterial leaf spot is an example of a bacterial disease that can give your parsley pale, white, or yellow spots.
Your plants can get bacteria from the soil, other infected plants, and dirty tools used in pruning them. There are so many types of bacteria that infect plants and most of these bacteria are not host-specific. This means that if one plant in your garden gets infected, there is a high chance that others will be infected as well.
– Viral Infection
Viruses are very dangerous to parsleys as they kill the plants slowly, make them look very ugly, and spread to other plants. A virus such as the celery mosaic virus gives your plants tiny white, pale, or yellow spots. With time, all the leaves turn pale.
You may also notice some brown spots on parsley leaves if they have viruses. Just as in bacteria, the spots will look very dry, so they become brown or black as time goes by. Your parsleys can get a viral infection from other infected plants or if you expose the plants to viruses by pruning them with infected shears.
– Poor Substrate Conditions
One major problem for parsleys and other plants is growing them in poor soil. White spots on the leaves of plants are a secondary symptom of a poor substrate as poor substrate exposes the plants to harmful microbes such as viruses, fungi, and bacteria. A poor substrate is usually one that does not permit water to drain quickly as it should.
If water does not drain off as quickly as it should, your plants will be exposed to root rot as their roots will start to suffocate.
While some fungi are attacking the plants from below, others will attack the plants from above (i.e. their leaves) and show different signs. An example of such signs is white spots on the leaves.
How To Prevent or Treat White Spots on Parsley Leaves
To prevent or treat white spots on parsley leaves you can isolate and prune the affected parsleys, apply baking soda or feed them to name a few. Here are some recommended ways on how to treat white spots on parsley plants and what to do with parsley leaves turning white.
– Isolate and Prune Affected Parsleys
As soon as you see spots on your parsley leaves, the first thing to do is to prevent other plants from getting the disease if the spots are caused by fungi, bacteria, or viruses. You can do this by isolating the sick plant if possible or pruning off the affected leaves and branches.
You can easily try different products when treating a sick plant only when it is isolated. If the plant is not isolated, it can be a threat to other plants growing in your garden. Please remember to disinfect or sterilize your pruning tools after pruning the sick plant so that other plants can be safe.
– Apply Baking Soda
A baking soda spray can help fight powdery mildew on parsley plants. “Baking soda” is a fancy term for sodium bicarbonate which is a chemical compound that is very effective against fungi. So long as you can apply it well, your plants should be safe from fungi. To make a baking soda paste, pour a little water into a bowl and mix it with baking soda powder.
Apply the paste on the wounds of your plants (i.e. where you cut the leaves or branches from). If you want to protect your healthy parsley plants, you can dilute the baking soda paste and spray it on the leaves.
– Use Neem Oil
If you have weevils, aphids, mites, and other pests eating your parsley leaves or laying eggs, you can get rid of them by using neem oil. All you need to do is to spray the oil on your parsley leaves in the morning or at night (i.e. when the temperature is not too hot). This oil repels insects and kills the ones that are too stubborn to leave your plants.
To help you save some instead of using too much, you can spray your plant leaves only in the evening. Just make sure that you make use of the oil daily or every two days as its scent (which repels the pests) fades quickly.
– Use Potassium Bicarbonate
Potassium bicarbonate is just like baking soda, but it is more effective against powdery mildew fungus and other types of fungi. This compound helps your plants by inhibiting fungal growth and preventing fungal spread. You can use it to treat sick plants as well.
Its application is similar to that of sodium bicarbonate as you can make use of it as a paste or spray it on the leaves. You can get this product from gardening stores nearby or online.
– Properly Feed Your Parsley Plants
If your parsley plants have white, pale, or yellow spots because of nutrient deficiencies, you should make sure that you properly feed them with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer.
If they are burning because of too many nutrients, flood their substrate (so long as it is well-drained) so that the excess nutrients can drain off. If the fertilizer is granular, you should remove it from the soil.
– Wipe Your Parsley Leaves Regularly
If you have pests that regularly visit your plants, you can prevent them from staying on the leaves of your plants for a long time by wiping the leaves regularly.
Wipe your parsley leaves with a cloth often to keep them clean and pest-free. Please use a dry or slightly-wet cloth and not a dripping one so that water does not stay on the plant’s leaves for long.
– Ensure Proper Soil Drainage
You want to grow your parsley plants in well-drained soil so that water does not stay in the substrate for a very long time.
If water stays for long, the roots will start to rot and this will expose your plants to different microbial attacks. If you are growing parsley plants in containers, make sure that the containers have multiple drainage holes.
With regard to container plants, remember that you should not use regular garden soil. Instead of regular garden soil, make use of potting mix as it is more suitable for potted plants. Well, you can amend garden soil with perlite if you must use it.
– Use Chemical Fungicides
The final products that you should use for your parsleys to keep them safe from fungi are store-bought fungicides.
Chemical fungicides are formulated for different types of fungi, so you need to be sure of the fungus that is attacking your plants. You should spray the products once a week or as recommended in their instructions.
Please do not overuse the products so that you do not kill your plants. You can tell that you are using too much when your parsley leaves start to curl and look burnt just like when you are giving them more nutrients than what they need.
– Dispose of the Parsley
After trying every product but you can still see spots on your parsley leaves, dispose of the sick plant. If you cannot isolate the plant, dispose of the plant quickly so that other plants can be safe from viral or bacterial infection.
Remember that you need to dispose of the plants far from your garden to eliminate the chance of bacteria or fungi finding their way to your healthy plants. Also, you need to find the source of the infection and dispose of it too (or fix it) so that your plants will stay safe.
Now you know why your parsley plants have white spots on their leaves as well as good methods to treat them.
Here are some points that you should remember from this article:
- The major cause of white spots on plants such as parsley plants is the powdery mildew fungus attack.
- As soon as you see white spots on your plants, isolate them and prune off the affected leaves and branches.
- So long as your parsley growth medium (i.e. soil) and other conditions are optimal, you can grow your plants free from fungi, bacteria, and other pathogens.
- Organic products that you can use against insects and fungal pests are neem oil and baking soda solution.
- If you have tried many products buy the white spots continue, use chemical fungicides or dispose of the plants.
Now you can grow your plants free from white spots on their leaves.