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Solanum Pepino (Melon Pear) - Leave problems

PostPosted: 01 May 2006 08:20
by claire
Hi - I bought a Solanum Pepino (Melon Pear) earlier this year. It arrived with several large leaves and evidence of new shoots at previous leave joints. I potted it on into a larger pot using multi-purpose compost and positioned it in a window in the sun (as I am waiting for danger of frost to pass). I have watered it maybe only once a week as the soil seems to stay at an average level of moistness for a long time.

Within a week I noticed that the colour of the larger leaves wasn't consistent, they were mainly dark green but there were lots of tiny yellow blotches. This problem has persisted and is appearing on the snall leaves of new side shoots. Over the last couple of weeks the big leaves have one by one been going firstly limp on one half then gradually limp and falling off.

Any ideas as to what might be wrong and what I can do about it? I would like to save this plant but do not want it to spread any diseases to my tomato plants (as they are also the solanum family).

Many thanks,

PostPosted: 02 May 2006 20:46
by gardening_guru
Hello Claire,

Thanks for your question about your Solanum pepino. From the symptoms you have described I
think I can narrow the problem you have down to a couple of possibilities. Let me know if any of the following details ring any bells.

I think the problem could be a virus. If that is the case, pale yellow or pale green blotches will form on the leaves before they fall off. Viruses can be transmitted by sap sucking insects, like aphids or carried on gardening tools such as a pair of secateurs. It is quite possible that the virus could have been present when you actually purchased the plant. If it is a virus there is very little you can do apart from throw the plant away, preventing it from infecting other plants.

Red Spider Mite
These minute spider like glasshouse pests cause the infected plant to develop tiny, yellow blotches speckled all over the leaves. As the infestation intensifies, the leaves will drop off. Red spider mite love warm, dry conditions. It is therefore important to spray the tops and undersides of the foliage daily with a fine water mist and stand the plant on some constantly moist pebbles, keeping the air around the plant humid. Another tale-tale sign might be the presence of fine, silk spiders webs on the plant. If you think it is Red spider mite you could also visit a garden centre and ask if they stock any pesticides that Red spider mite is not resistant to. (Unfortunately this pest has developed resistant to most pesticides).

I hope that this is of some help,

Regards, George.

PostPosted: 03 May 2006 08:52
by claire
Thanks for your reply. Sadly I guess it must be a virus. Although the symptoms sound most like red spider mite I have looked closely at the plant and can't see either any spiders (I've seen them before so would recognise them) or any silk threads. What a pity. Am I right in thinking that the virus could spread to my tomatoes if I don't destroy the plant?

PostPosted: 03 May 2006 20:51
by gardening_guru
Yes, I think the virus could sread to your tomatoes via a host e.g. an aphid. Can you take the plant back to where you purchased it from and complain? You will get a second opinion and a replacement, healthy plant?.