Rusty Alliums


Our Leeks and French Garlic have begun to look rusty.  It doesn’t take more than a Rookie to diagnose the fungal disease ‘Rust’ – rusty by name, rusty by nature …

Doing a bit of research, I’ve discovered Rust is a common fungal disease which turns up unannounced from mid summer to late autumn, and can affect Leeks, Onions, Garlic, Chives, other alliums and also Raspberries, Apple and Pear trees.  It presents with bright orange pustules on the leaves, and though can do some serious damage to foliage and lead to smaller crops, it often leaves the edible parts of the plant unscathed.

Rust is normally caused by warm wet summers (definitely not our fault) nitrogen rich soil (possibly our fault) and overcrowded plants which increases humidity (possibly definitely our fault).  Interestingly, the Leeks in three separate areas of our plot got Rust simultaneously, and I’m not sure why this is.  Also, what is less clear from my research is the right treatment for this – if any – do we need to take action to halt this process or is it just too late ?  Are our remaining alliums doomed ?!

4 Comments Add yours

  1. gardeningvix says:

    All will be fine! Just cut away the infected bits now! The bulbs if rescued quickly enough will be ok! I got it one year so that what I did and still got a great harvest! Make sure you clean your scissors in some jays fluid, so u don’t spread it around! Xxx

    1. Thanks for the advice ! I’ll give them a haircut and keep my fingers crossed 🙂

  2. Have had the same problem. Garlic was perfectly edible. Wouldn’t worry about it too much.

    1. Seems like a common problem – even Monty Don was saying he has Leek Rust this year, so we’re in good company ! 🙂

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