I have been wanting to take photos outside this week of some of the autumn colours in my ornamental grasses but we have had a week of really gusty winds. The trees are being defoliated in front of our eyes. As fast as you rake the leaves in piles they have blown away.
So, I ask myself now what? The Sandbox has gone dormant or al least almost. There are no more flowers to play with this year outside. I have dragged all the houseplants back into the basement to overwinter under lights. I might have a Christmas cactus to show you in a few days.
In the past I have shown you photos of my orchids. I was quite proud of them and the blooms were prolific. But sadly, an orchid that my husband bought me for my birthday last year brought in a pest. I wondered why my original orchids were dropping blooms very quickly and the leaves becoming brown. Looking at the leaves of the plants I noticed what looked like cotton wool in an around where the leaves came out of the stem and the petals of the flowers were covered in little bugs that were white and oval shaped. Originally I thought it was scale but it turned out to be a close relative the longtailed mealybug or Pseaudacoccus longispinus.
The mealybug, as I have investigated is a difficult pest to erradicate as it can crawl from plant to plant or pot to pot. Mealybugs can be found on all plant parts, but especially roots, rhizomes, pseadobulbs and the underside of leaves. Control of this pest is basically daily observation to see if any new eruptions occur. If I do spy new outbreaks I swab the infected parts with a paint brush and isopropol making sure I get into all the cracks and crevices where the leaves meet the stem. Today I noticed the mealybug in the photo above. All the plants went into the bathtub for a good spray of Safer’s Insecticidal soap.
Some of the plants are trying to recover and so I am waiting a little while to see if they start to produce flowers again. If the pest persists I will have to put all of the plants out in the garbage.
This is the same plant before the mealybugs. It is such a shame. Maybe faux flowers is the way to go in winter. If you want to investigate this pest for yourself there is great information at www.sdstate.edu/ps/severin.mcdaniel/orchid-pests. I am sharing this post on Fertilizer Friday with Tootsie. See you there. Have a great weekend. Valerie