Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The perils of inviting them in

Once inside, that gorgeous plant that you rescued from your balcony or garden before Jack Frost could 'nip it in the bud' reveals that it really was a bug incubation station for some minute flying or web making thingy.  However  insecticidal soap or just plain dish soap diluted in water makes an effective spray for leaves and spines of plants.  The problem is, where to conduct the sanitation procedure.  The bathtub makes the perfect lab. A spray bottle makes it easy to get the undersides and nodes of branches where bugs hang out. Once the plant is dripping with foamy water leave it to 'stew in its own juices' to be sure the soap has penetrated the brittle carapaces of the bugs then, the shower is there to hose it off once the soap has done its magic.  You must be vigilant for the birth of the next generation of plaguing insects, though.  Be prepared to follow up with a fresh application if new bugs are seen.
For the time being my hibiscus is bug free. 

I was moved to bring in a hibiscus that had unusual peachy blossoms with a darker hued trim along the outside edge of the petals. But hibiscus are notorious for getting bugs and I thought I would do a preventative spraying. Here's hoping I am rewarded with blossoms this winter and the plant survives to go back outdoors.

I'm almost ashamed to show you a picture of my mis-shapen Jade.  But I live in  hope it will blossom from an ugly duckling amomg Jades into swan like graceful proportions. 
I also have a Jade plant that I must confess has never had a pleasing shape in spite of all the pinching and proping it has received. Spider mites were detected on it.  So in a way I have the outdoor plants to thank for me discovering it.  If I hadn't brought them in I wouldn't have been examining my plants for signs that the bugs had spread. It too received a dish soap application and hopefully  it is on the road to good health and better structure soon.