How to Identify the 5 Most Common Plant Diseases

By Maximum Yield
Published: July 26, 2017 | Last updated: June 13, 2022 11:23:43
Key Takeaways

If you're relatively new to gardening, there are some common plant disease symptoms you need to be on the lookout for. While there are many more than the ones outlined here, check out the top five plant diseases you should be familiar with from the get-go.

Source: Black spot disease on roses. Sasipreyajun / Dreamstime

We all want our plants to grow healthy and look nothing less than the freshest. However, there are times when our plants don't appear to be doing so well.


When plants look less than the best, sometimes it is just more water that your plants crave. If your plants are diseased, they will likely need proper medication. The challenge is figuring out exactly what your plants want, and when.

We know how important your garden plants are, which is why we’ve created a list of the most common plant diseases. Read on to learn more about these plant ailments, their symptoms, and their cures.


Black spots

Diplocarpon rosae, or black spot, is one of the most common plant diseases that affects roses. If left untreated right away, this disease further leads to complete damage of foliage. Along with that, if left unchecked altogether, it can completely defoliate the whole rose bush.

How does black dot occur? Black spot is caused by fungus. Those black dots stay on the leaves until they fall off and new leaves are generated.

To prevent them, you can use anti-fungal spray (fungicides) and cut off the harmed leaves. It's always better to burn the contaminated leaves instead of adding them to your compost pile.


Powdery mildew

You might come across a white fungal layer on your plants, which is known as powdery mildew (white fungus). Powdery mildew drains all the nutrients from the plants and can make it wither away.

If you think that this might happen due to excessive moisture, as is the case with most of the fungal diseases, think again! Powdery mildew can occur due to excessive warmth as well. The disease also can be carried to the other plants as well as by spores through the wind.


If you find that your plant appears to be covered with the sprinkle of a flour-like substance, you need to prevent this substance from spreading as soon as you identify it. Regular watering, mulching, and rubbing infected leaves together can get rid of this disease.

Along with that, you can spray fungicides on the plants. Sulfur, lime-sulfur, and neem oil are some of the best solutions for powdery mildew.

Read also: Two Methods to a Great Clean: Sanitizing and Sterilizing

Fire blight

Fire blight is one of the most destructive plant diseases that is caused by bacteria. It can turn the leaves brown and can quickly destroy other trees as well if not treated on time.

As for symptoms, infected leaves will start to brown and the branches will become limp. Leaves do not fall off but lose their color. Trees also grow reddish, water-soaked lesions on their barks.

You need to immediately prevent fire blight from damaging other trees as well. Removal of infected bark by peeling it off is important. The bark that is removed should be burnt later, not composted.

Brown Rot

Brown rot affects the fruits of the plant, covering them with white spots. Brown rot especially affects apricots, cherries, plums, and peaches trees.

To avoid brown rot from infecting other parts of the plant, the affected fruit needs to be removed. Also, anti-fungal sprays containing sulfur and pyrethrins can be helpful.

Damping Off

Damping off is a horticulture disease that is caused due to the lack of hygiene and ventilation. It can also be caused due to overwatering of plants. This disease inhibits the blooming seedlings from growing. In damping off, seedlings fall to the soil level, and later, fungus becomes visible.

To avoid damping off, sowing the seeds sparsely can be helpful. Drench the soil around the plants to keep the seedlings ventilated.


You might not be aware of all the diseases out there, and that is OK! These five common diseases and the tips to minimize the effects can help you save your love for gardening.

Today, there are many fields like B.Sc. agriculture, which help us know more about such common plant diseases. No one wants a sad plant affecting every other plant around it, so be sure to act fact when it comes to saving your garden from plant pathogens.

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Written by Maximum Yield | Publisher

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Maximum Yield Inc. is the print and online publisher behind Maximum Yield and Maximum Yield Cannabis magazines. With topics such as cannabis cultivation and consumption, hydroponics and controlled environment cultivation, as well as greenhouse, container, urban, and vertical growing, Maximum Yield is focused on teaching you how to reach your maximum yield by providing informative articles on the latest technologies and plenty of tips and tricks from grow experts.

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