Infected plants show yellowing, wilting, and browning of lower leaves eventually followed by necrosis and plant death.  After initial infection, wilt may appear within two weeks.  During disease development, the leaves turn chlorotic and eventually necrotic.  Vascular discoloration in the stem is common, and the stem rots from the inside out.  Occasionally, the roots may turn brown.  Southern wilt or bacterial wilt may be distinguished from bacterial blight caused by Xanthomonas campestris pv. pelargonii by the lack of leaf spots and the pronounced vascular discoloration (2).

Geranium plant exhibiting initial wilting
of lower leaves.

An infected geranium plant showing
initial yellowing of lower leaves.

(Photos courtsey of C. Warfield, North Carolina State University)

Florist's geranium with developing southern wilt.
Internal vascular discoloration
of florist's geranium.
(Photos courtsey of R.K. Jones, APS Press)

Return to Ralstonia main page