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 Post subject: Cornmeal as a fungicide
PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 2:42 pm 
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Hello,

I tried to search, and the answer may be here already, but I cannot find it.

I have Holiday cactus and am having a lot of problems with rot. I suspect there are multiple causes, but right now, I am looking at fungus as a big cause.

I sprinkled cornmeal on the soil surface of one pot about 2 weeks ago. Now, I have a green mold growing on the meal. I am certainly not prepared to say whether it has actually done any good, but I want to try it on some others. The problem is, I don't know that I want to grow mold in the house. I am assuming that the mold is a member of the Trichoderma group, and that should be a good thing. There are several fungi that will attack my plants, and Trichoderma may not even work on them. If it does, I believe a better deal would be to mix cornmeal into the potting soil as one of the ingredients.

Has anyone tried cornmeal on houseplants? Anyone know what the green mold might be, and whether or not it is harmful to people?

TIA,
John


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:07 am 
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At the top of this page, click on 'learn', then 'article library', then "C" for cornmeal. Scroll down to find several articles about this. The mold is normal and is not harmful. Was the plant overwatered? You may have to report it and get it out of the soil that is waterlogged.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 9:23 am 
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Thank you very much. I am in the process of re-potting my plants now. Am trying to find a soil mix that works for me, in this area. Am trying a number of mixes, and hope one will work. I am going to stir some cornmeal in my next batch of soil mix.

There is really no telling what has caused this. Schlumbergera and Hatiora can be awful picky. Too much sun, over watering, underwatering, insects, using sphangum peat, and water splashing between plants could do it. As I said, I suspect a combination of things.

I am certainly no expert, as the above is what I have read. I will be an expert pretty soon, or will go back to iris, cannas, and daylilies.

Thanks again,
John


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:40 am 
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FBG wrote:
I believe a better deal would be to mix cornmeal into the potting soil as one of the ingredients.


Yes, that is a recommended practice.

Also, make sure your pots can drain. You may be watering because the soil at the top of the pot looks dry but it may be a soggy mess down below. That could explain the abundance of mold and fungus.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:21 am 
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Thank you for the reply. Because there are so many possible causes for this, I am going to show a picture that may shed light on my problem.

Image

Double click on the thumbnail. Both of these phylloclades were healthy until 3 or 4 days ago. Even the new growth on the one on the right still looks fairly good. The opuntia seems to be doing fine, as evidenced by the new growth on it. It is trying to grow from some of the areoles. This makes me think the roots are fine. I believe our heat (107 F yesterday), is the primary cause, and gives the fungus Phytophora (VERY bad for schlums), an opening. The fungus Trichoderma is supposed to be attracted to cornmeal, and will attack the Phytophora. If this will work, I would rather do it than use a systemic fungicide.

It would not bother me a bit to use cornmeal on the yard, flower beds, or anything else outdoors. I am wanting to keep my schlums inside, and am worried about the molds this may attract. I don't have one or two pots of the things, I have a room full of them. That means I may have fungus or molds growing that I don't even know about.

Sandih has said the Trichoderma is not harmful. But, a room full of it? And maybe fungus I don't even know about? I have searched online, and there are plenty of fungus out there that I want nothing to do with.

Mixed into the potting soil, is this safe?

TIA,
John


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:42 am 
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I have been extremely successful bringing African violets back from near death by watering them exclusively with milky water. I had 12 out of 15 plants return from certain death. You might try that. Any dilution at all is fine.

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