Yellow spots were visible on my snapdragons a few days ago. On closer inspection, I noticed dark spots of the underside of some of the leaves. Some plants had over wintered and others had self-seeded. A quick search provided an answer, Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus) rust. This is a fungal infection where airborne spores can travel long distances via wind or rain. It is more common on plants that have overwintered or are planted close together. The issue can also be exacerbated by watering at the top rather than at the roots.
In my garden, I realize now this was a problem waiting to happen. I had several plants that had survived from the previous season and all the other plants were self-seeded. While I water at ground level, my neighbour whose garden is next to mine, waters frequently from the top, often splashing water onto my plants. I have in the past lost zucchini plants from this.
Most of the treatments for snapdragon rust involve removing and disposing of diseased leaves/plants or chemical sprays. Chemical sprays are not something I normally consider. If no other options were available, I would choose an organic treatment. I read some reviews about products available in my area. Safety is a consideration, effectiveness varies and cost is a factor. I decided to do a clear out.
Cleaning out the affected plants broke my heart. I love the colours and shapes of snapdragons. The garden just is not the same without them. Given that the rust is said to be Antirrhinum specific, I considered other plant options. The empty space is now filled with dahlias I had grown in containers. They needed more soil and space to thrive. The Black Eyed Susans and carnations have more room to flourish too.
Pivoting to make the best of a difficult situation has almost become second nature this past year and a half. While my loss may seem insignificant to many, it feels bigger to me given the current social context. My plants and I need safe space and clean air to thrive. Although it is tough at times, I will keep monitoring and taking the steps I need to take to make things better. Growth can be enhanced if you learn what life is trying to teach.