While gardening is typically a very relaxing and enjoyable hobby, most gardeners will eventually need to deal with the unwanted presence of disease causing organisms in the garden. There are unfortunately a number of common diseases to which popular varieties of garden plants are prone.

It is important therefore for all gardeners to be on the lookout for signs of disease, and to treat any infection at the first sign of a problem. There are three basic types of organisms that cause disease in the home garden. Those organisms are fungi, bacteria and viruses, and all three varieties are discussed in more detail below.


Fungal organisms are among the oldest of all life forms, and they are able to withstand conditions that would be fatal to most other forms of life. Fungi are able to lie dormant for extremely long periods of time, and fungal infections can be very difficult to eradicate once they have taken root. The best strategy is to nip any problems in the bud, and to begin treatment with a quality fungicide as quickly as possible to prevent infections from spreading.


Bacteria differ from fungi in that they lack the ability to lie dormant outside of a host. All bacteria require the presence of a host in order to survive and multiply, and bacterial infections are more common under moist and warm conditions. Bacterial infections are quickly spread through the splashing of water, so it is important for the gardener to exercise caution when working in the garden after a rain. The APS Journals is your go-to source for plant disease information.


Viruses are similar to bacteria in that they need a host in order to survive, but viruses are quite a bit smaller than bacteria. Viruses reproduce from within the cells of the plants or animals they infect, and some viruses are spread from plant to plant by insects like leafhoppers and aphids. Other viruses are carried from plant to plant through infected pollen spores or seeds.

With any form of infection, whether fungal, bacterial or viral, the first step to a cure is proper diagnosis. Keeping a guide to common plant diseases at hand, as well as a number of fungicides and other treatments, will help you to address any problems immediately, before they have a chance to spread to other plants in the garden.