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Yellow Calibrachoa Leaves

Iron Deficiency or Calibrachoa Mottle Virus?


Symptoms of leaf yellowing while leaf veins remain green, also called interveinal chlorosis, is a symptom of many plant abnormalities. Two possible causes of these symptoms where calibrachoa is concerned would be iron deficiency and/or calibrachoa mottle virus. To tell the difference, the following observations and tests may be useful:

  • Symptom observation

    • Iron Deficiency

      • Interveinal chlorosis

      • Necrotic spots within severely yellowed foliage

  • Calibrachoa mottle virus (CbMV)

    • Symptoms may not appear until crop is stressed

      • Interveinal chlorosis

      • Chlorotic blotching

      • Streaking in flowers

  • CbMVWhat is the pattern of symptom distribution?

    • Iron Deficiency

      • Symptoms fairly uniform throughout crop

        • Usually due to high pH or poor water quality (if water quality is poor, all plants treated with this water will potentially show symptoms)

    • Calibrachoa mottle virus (CbMV)

      • Symptoms scattered or non uniform throughout crop

        • No known insect vector, at this time

        • Easily transmitted mechanically (through cuttings)

  • Testing

    • Iron Deficiency

      • Test water quality- water with high bicarbonate levels (above 100 ppm) will lead to nutritional problems over the history of a crops

      • Test pH of media - pH will rise if water is of poor quality. The longer the crop cycle, the more severe the nutritional problem may become over time.

    • Calibrachoa mottle virus (CbMV)

      • An ELISA test has been developed to positively verify the virus.

      • If you suspect CbMV, get your plants tested at your

        • State University Extension Plant Diagnostic Lab, or

        • Agdia, Elkhart Indiana


If plants test positive for CbMV, contact the broker who supplied the material. Not a lot is known yet about this virus disease and its’ severity. However, severely chlorotic plants will be very difficult to sell. If treated like other plant virus diseases, symptomatic plants should be discarded or rogued.




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