Botrytis cinerea also known as grey mold is a fungus that thrives on both living and dead plant materials. It starts off as a little white speck or “pock” on the flower petals and spreads right to the bottom of the flower. Gradually it changes its color to brown and finally all the petals fall off.
Infection and Spreading
The infection starts with miniscule mold spores spread through the air. In order to move, these spores need moisture. Condensation on the bud/flower and packaging, which appears because of temperature changes, is often enough for the Botrytis spores to quickly develop from little white “pocks” to brown spots. Once shifted from the “pock stage” into brown spots, the process is irreversable. The infected flower petals are often removed by hand. This, however does not guarantee that the fungal infection has not already damaged the rest of the petals. Throwing the flower away then becomes the only remedy to prevent further infection.
Hygiene and Tips
- Remove dead plant material from greenhouses, sorting areas, floral arranging areas and cold stores as much as possible
- Clean and disinfect tables, shears and knives on a daily basis
- Remove infected plant material immediately from batches
- Remember that hygiene plays an important role in preventing Botrytis
- Infection often appears early on in the chain; when purchasing, pay special attention to “pocks”
- Keep door of cold stores closed as much as possible because of temperature changes which can cause long-term condensation on the flowers/packaging materials.
- Pull down the packaging materials or completely remove them so uncovered buds and flowers will stay dry