Verticillium wilt of Perennials

Pathogen:  Verticillium alboatrum and Verticillium dahlia.

Hosts include: Aconitum, Aster, Chrysanthemum, Coreopsis, Dahlia, Delphinium, Dianthus, Helichrysum, Papaver, Paeonia and Phlox.

Symptoms: Wilting and dieback, stunted growth and yellowing, sometimes affecting only part of the plant.  Some plants may have discoloration or streaking in the vascular system.

Spread: Verticillium is common in soil, where it survives as mycelium.  Verticillium dahlia can also produce microsclerotia, a long-term survival structure.  Plants are infected through roots, and infection moves into the vascular system.  Wood chips produced from infested trees and used in potting media or as mulch can spread the disease.  Disease incidence is less common in plants grown in soilless potting media.

Management: Remove all symptomatic plants; fungicide treatments are generally not helpful.  Avoid planting susceptible plants in fields with high populations of Verticillium.  Feeding by root and lesion nematodes can increase damage from Verticillium  wilt.  Plants and soil can be tested for nematodes and the populations quantified by submitting samples to a diagnostic lab.  Maintain good control of weed hosts in the field – some weeds are hosts for Verticillium.

Coreopsis plant infected with Verticillium wilt
Coreopsis plant infected with Verticillium wilt
Verticillium dahliae in culture
Verticillium dahliae in culture

Tags: msu plant & pest diagnostics, perennials, plant pathogen

Other Documents in this Series

You Might Also Be Interested In

Accessibility Questions:

For questions about accessibility and/or if you need additional accommodations for a specific document, please send an email to ANR Communications & Marketing at