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16 messages
04/05/2014 at 09:09

I have had the attached plant for nearly eight years now and  I adore it.  However each year it gets what I think is the dreaded woolly aphid and as the plant is now so big with various branches I risk damaging it (even if I could move it) if I try to take it outside to hose it.  There are so many nooks and crannies where the white gunge just embeds itself.  Is there anything I can do?  It really is beautiful and has grown into its corner perfectly but I hate to see it infested like this.


04/05/2014 at 10:56

Lavande, try tieing a teacloth underneath the fork on the plant and place a newspaper or card between the plant and wall and gently spray close to the plant let the spray run down onto the aphids,the teacloth can catch the water ,Weak washing up liquid has saved many a plant for me. i dont know how to erradicate them for good,, good luck

04/05/2014 at 11:06

As it's an indoor plant, I'd spray with Provado ultimate bug killer, which is systemic and will be absorbed into the plant so is guaranteed to kill them.  Being indoors, there is no chance of the spray harming bees or other wildlife so I have no qualms about using it on pernicious pests on houseplants.

04/05/2014 at 13:20

Thank you both very much - very different approaches and I will happily try both but the main thing is that you both sound positive and give me the impression that my plant still has a future and didn't gasp in horror at the state of it (well I didn't hear you if you did). 

04/05/2014 at 13:40

Bringing the photo really close up, it looks like there are some white fly on there as well?.  I always use the Provado indoors, it does work and is a reasonable price in the supermarket.

04/05/2014 at 16:01

Oh gosh what an infestation, it looks awful close up - I knew my eyesight was bad - that's probably what everyone else sees, I should wear my glasses more often.   I've just googled both white fly and woolly aphids in case I had just made an assumption about the aphid and yes, yuck it does look like both.Poor plant. Thanks Lyn.

05/05/2014 at 20:29

cheers Bob I  think I will be  getting the Provado sounds good for indoors.

05/05/2014 at 23:12

Thank you Mike a once only solution would be very welcome!  I just came on to say that I have just given it the washing up liquid and water treatment and I added some disinfectant too and put the mixture into a fine sprayer and have sprayed exhaustively into all the pockets and crevices where the leaves join.  I wish I hadn't used a floral disinfectant though because it is a bit overpowering.  I did go to the garden centres today for the Provado but they don't seem to stock that brand here so I should have asked what the active ingredient was so that I could get the French equivalent.  Anyway, I'll see what it looks like tomorrow and I'll find out how to ask for methylated spirits in French - if that is a one off treatment I will be delighted.  And yes you are right - what is time when it has given me so much pleasure over the past 8 years.  It might not be evident from the photo but it is a beautifully shaped plant - like a piece of living sculpture.

05/05/2014 at 23:49

You could try a more drastic solution - cut it down and take stem cuttings making sure that you wash and clean every one before striking into fresh compost with hormone rooting powder. That would get rid of your woolly aphid prob for good.

05/05/2014 at 23:52

P.S. This particular indoor plant is easily propagated in this way. - lots of little plantlets in pots all free of woolly aphid.

06/05/2014 at 15:13

Bruce i also have a few of these plants that i would like to take cuttings ,this type iv not done ,can you explain how to take cuttings from this plant,is it just one per stem type of thing  Please,

06/05/2014 at 18:14

aargh no - just a bit too drastic Bruce - yes, if I could take the cuttings and still have the majority of the main plant but it only has three main stems, each with forks. Although I will read with interest what advice you give Alan ie if you suggest perhaps just taking a couple of centimetres for a cutting.  That could work

Seriously I do want to be beast free but I'm going to try every suggested solution before I have to sacrifice the plant which I will do as a very last resort...after I've taken cuttings of course

06/05/2014 at 23:41

Why not try companion planting with chrysanthemums , in particular, c.cinnararifolium, or c. coccineum- these plants are the source of pyrethrin, an insecticidal extracted from the dried, crushed flower heads of these plants. It works by attacking the nervous system of the insect which does not have a protective barrier like we do ( our skin). The insect 'breathes' it in through pores in it's body and almost immediately suffers a series of extreme convulsions and finally paralysis. The woolly aphids should either migrate to your chrysanths' , suck the sap and die, or they will be over come by the pyrethrins given off by the flowers.

Good luck!

07/05/2014 at 07:10

Hi Bruce,

Like your chrysanthemum tip.  I've wooly aphid on my crab apple.  Got it last year but it reduced by itself so I didn't do anything.  It's back again this year. Would like to give it a natural little help to fight it off. had a quick look at chrysanthemum seeds and can only spot carinatum and indicum and segetum. Would these do similar?  I've also recently planted shasta daisies near by. Will these help?


07/05/2014 at 09:16

im trying to locate   the name of this plant and having trouble, i got some but forgot the name ,i want to find out how to do cuttings  help please if poss

09/05/2014 at 12:11

Alan it's called dracaena marginata (sp?) 

I had forgotten the second part of the name, but today I was at the garden centre (still on the hunt for a spray) and  couldn't resist this little baby one.  You can't really see the real size difference because the new one is in the foreground so looks bigger but I was trying to keep as much distance from the infested one as possible. I'm putting it in a different room but if it becomes infested in the same way, I'm not going to persevere.   Incidentally what the soapy liquid did was bring the horrors out of all the crevices for air and I've given them a good soaking with insecticide while they were more obvious - so fingers crossed.


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