I have been carrying out some research into what is wrong with Snake and how to determine whether I have actually have mint rust.
I certainly believed last year that the mint had picked up rust which sounds very bad. The plant looked better when it came out of dormancy but even before August has reached us it is again beginning to look very poorly.
The Royal Horticultural Society describe mint rust as being, “a common fungal disease of garden mint, but also affects marjoram and savory. The fungus causes dusty orange, yellow and black spots on leaves. [Symptoms include]
- Pale and distorted shoots in spring
- Dusty orange pustules on the stems and leaves. These may be followed by dusty yellow or black pustules
- Large areas of leaf tissue die and plants may lose leaves” [https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=220]
According to [http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/mint/treating-mint-rust-fungus.htm] , “Rust on mint plants looks similar to other rusts in later stages, with orange to rust-colored spots covering the undersides of lower leaves in early spring. Mint rust symptoms may progress, manifesting as leaves that turn completely brown and drop from affected plants. In late summer and early fall, when these dropped leaves regrow, darker spots often appear instead. The very early stages of mint rust may appear as white bumps on mint leaves.”
According to http://www.herb-gardening-help.com/how-to-get-rid-of-mint-rust/ there is no chemical remedy, the site says that, “If you correctly diagnose that you have mint rust on your growing mint it’s important to act quickly to deal with it because the “spores” which develop with this herb disease drop onto the soil and affect your mint in following year.” It recommends the following procedure:
“Step 1: Cut off all the stems of the growing mint immediately the rust is noticed, and keep cutting them off during the growing season.
Step 2: During the winter make a small fire with straw over the top of the mint roots. This kills off the spores which carry the disease
Step 3: In the spring watch carefully for a repeat of the herb disease rust in your growing mint. If it returns repeat the procedure or dig up the mint plant and destroy it.”
Below are pictures of my plant. Mint Rust? Am not so sure, could just be that it has had too much sun and not enough water. It has been hot this year.
I do not however have to reason whether something is wrong with Snake because it is pretty obvious that there is.
A search of the internet reveals a condition in Sanseveria laurentii called root rot.
In answer to a question about ‘what is wrong if the leaves rot out at the root?‘ http://houseplants-care.blogspot.co.uk/2006/05/snake-plant-care.html states that, “Most of the time, root rot is caused by overwatering or improper drainage. Try watering your plant less often. You may want to repot the rest of your plant in new soil to prevent the root rot from spreading to the other leaves.”
http://www.ext.nodak.edu/extnews/hortiscope/flowers/snsevria.htm says that when rot develops, “Try dividing the plant at the crown and toss out anything that appears rotted or take leaf cuttings from healthy stock and root them.”
It seems that the only way to save Snake may be by completely re-potting him.
http://www.gardenbanter.co.uk/united-kingdom/183358-help-please-houseplant-mother-laws-tongue-dying-no-idea-what-do.html rather practically advises that,
“Firstly, cut your losses. Get the plant out of the pot and free of all soil. Discard anything at or below surface level which is rotten.
If any of the offsets (new plants forming below soil surface level) are ok, pot those up separately. Use commercial cactus compost or 1 part John Innes (No. 1, 2, or 3 – doesn’t matter) with 2 parts sharp sand or 1 part sharp sand and 1 part grit (about 5 mm). Put the remaining full-size healthy
plants in the same mixture. Do not water for a few days, then start watering carefully, but only once a week and then only to dampen the
If any of the leaves are rotten at the base, but ok above, you can grow new plants from the healthy parts. BUT if you have the Mother-in-law’s Tongue which has a yellow edge to the leaves (most of them are this type), then any new plants will not have the yellow edge.
Cut the leaves across completely so each bit is about 2 inches long. Put the bottom end half an inch into the potting mixture mentioned above. Make
sure you have the bottom end, as the top end will not root. Do NOT water the potting mixture – just put the cut leaves in it in a place which is
fairly light but out of direct sunlight. After 3 months the bottom ends of the leaves should have formed roots. If any haven’t, and have dried out,
throw them away.
After several more months, new plants will begin to grow from the base of the old cut leaves.
I have no idea why yours have rotted, other than it got cold as well as wet. A small amount of dampness in winter at surface of the soil could lead to
collar rot. I’ve had mine for over 15 years without problem, but I almost never water them from the end of September to the end of March. From April I start watering carefully, and give them a good amount in summer. Even so, I never let them stand in water at any time. Sometimes they reward me with a flower or two!”
It is good for me that this article recommends using commercial cactus compost as I already have some of this after sorting out Flapjack.
If I am repotting, which looks highly likely http://www.instructables.com/id/Save-a-Rotted-Snake-Plant/ suggests a clay pot as this, “offers more aeration for this desert loving plant.”