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BONNIE'S GARDEN--A Few Things to Look for Inside

Now that your houseplants have all been moved back inside, here are a few things to look for.

1:  Yellow leaves.  Yellow leaves can be a sign of two very different problems.  They are often a sign that light loving plants are not getting enough—weeping figs and citrus are famous for this. Moving to a window that gets two to three hours of sun in the morning or later afternoon should help, if this is the case. 

Yellow leaves can also occur if a plant has gotten too dry.  A peace lily that has wilted, for example, will plump back up once you water it, but a couple of weeks later yellow leaves may show up. 

2:  Brown edges on leaves.  Brown edges can also be a sign of two very different problems.  On plants with delicate foliage, like ferns, the dry brown edges can be a sign that the plant does not like our dry indoor air.  Putting a humidifier in the room, or lightly misting the foliage every morning can help. 

Brown edges can also be a sign of over watering.  We sometimes forget that plants need air as much as they need water.  When the soil in a pot is allowed to dry out an inch or two down, it allows air back into the soil.  Most plants need to, at least, surface dry before watering.  Some plants, like ficus, scheffleras, and citrus, should dry out several inches down—just not bone dry all the way to the bottom.

3:  Clear sticky “sap.”  Occasionally, certain flower buds can secrete a little sap from the tip.  If the sap is only on the buds and you don’t see any problems, like aphids, this may be what it is.  Clear sticky sap on the leaves, however, could also be “Honeydew.”  Honeydew is a secretion of certain sucking insects, like aphids, mealy bugs or scale.  If it’s all over the lower leaves, etc. then it probably is the problem.
 
Examine the plant carefully for scale (little raised brown bumps that you can scratch off with a
fingernail) or for mealy bug (which looks like little bits of white cotton lint).  Examine flower buds or tender new leaves for aphids which may be yellow, pale green, brown or whitish.  Scale, aphids, and mealies can be easily treated with horticultural oil.

4:  Gnats flying around your plant. This is most likely fungus gnats.  Fungus gnats are not actually hurting your plant, but they are annoying.  Their larvae eat decaying organic debris in your soil.  They are usually a sign that your plants are staying a little too damp.  Allowing the soil to at least surface dry will usually address the problem. 

In the meantime, you can treat your soil with a water/bleach solution (4 tablespoons of bleach to one gallon of water that has been allowed to stand overnight).  Pour through soil until it runs out the bottom.  This drench is also good for ants or slugs in the soil.

5:  Remember plants do not care for hot or cold air blowing directly on them so be careful about placing them near entrances or heating vents.  If you have heating vents in the floor or in the ceiling, check at a hardware store for deflectors that will help direct the air flow out into the room.
Posted: 11/28/2017 by Bonnie Pega | with 0 comment(s)
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