Sooty Mold is a Black, Powdery Coating on Leaves

Sooty Mold - Photo by Scot Nelson
Sooty Mold – Photo by Scot Nelson

The name itself is descriptive, as sooty mold is a black, powdery coating adhering to the leaves of ornamental plants such as azaleas, gardenias, camellias, crepe myrtles and laurels.

The fungus itself does little harm to the plant; it merely blocks sunlight, and very rarely may stunt a plant’s growth and yellow its foliage. Thus, sooty mold is essentially a cosmetic problem in the garden, as it is unsightly and can coat most of a plant in a matter of days or weeks.