Types Of Plant Stem Problems | Love The Garden

Plant Stem Problems

Geoff Hodge's picture
By Geoff Hodge, Botanical Expert (BSc, MCIHort)
Common Stem Problems

In Brief

Identify pest and disease problems on plant stems. Click on the links where appropriate to find out even more about prevention and control.


The most common of all pests and almost every plant from the smallest shrub to the tallest oak tree can be infested.

Further details on aphids.

Bacterial canker

This fungus is particularly common on Cherries and Plums. The disease weakens the plant and can cause extensive die back if not treated. Plants growing in poorly drained soil are more susceptible to this disease.

Further details on bacterial banker.

Grey mould

This is an extremely common fungus and grows on many plants. As the name suggests a greyish fuzzy fungal growth develops over the infected area.

Further details on grey mould.

Honey fungus

This is a fungus which affects the roots, trunks and stems of plants. A creamy white sheet of fungus grows between the bark and the plant tissue beneath it.

Further details on honey fungus.


In the house, the conservatory, the sun lounge or the greenhouse, few plants will escape its attention. About 4mm long, their soft bodies are a greyish-white or pink.

Further details on mealybugs.

Scale insects

More sap feeding bugs which gradually weaken plants. So called because a colony on the leaf or stem of a plant resembles the scales on a fish.

Click here for further details.


Small dark spots on stems. Larger dark swellings again on stems often accompanied by leaf distortion. Sometimes swelling and distortion of a flower’s stamen. Black sooty powder.

Further details on smuts.


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