SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - If you've planted your garden, or you're planning on it, you'll want to hear this: a disease called Downy Mildew is could kill a very popular kind of flower.
Ground-planted impatiens are at-risk for the disease, which is relatively new to Massachusetts. Hanging basket impatiens, as well as New Guinea impatiens and sunpatiens are not affected. All other garden plants are safe.
The disease is spread by splashing contaminated water or by infected spores being blown in the wind.
Jim Senecal from Sixteen Acres Garden Center in Springfield explained how you can tell if your flowers have the disease.
"At the beginning, it kind of looks like the plant is just turning yellow like it needs fertilizer, and then it pretty much collapses and it'll get a fuzzy type of look to the back of the leaf. That's how you can tell for sure," Senecal said.
Garden centers can spray fungicide on healthy impatiens to prevent infection, but once a plant is infected, it cannot be cured. That plant then contaminates the soil, so you shouldn't plant where you had infected impatiens.
So far, we haven't had any reports of infected impatiens locally, but moisture on the plants increases the chances for fungus development.