By William Mills
Summer is with us once again and along with it has come some unwanted pests damaging our wonderful houseplants. Plants cry out for fresh air and love being carried outside if only for a few hours now and then.
However during these times they can also become host to unwanted predators. Alarmingly unsightly holes appear in the leaves, or powdery residues of the bugs’ meal coat your plant’s once luscious leaves.
Supermarkets, hardware stores and garden centres have an array of multi purpose insecticides, or bug killers so as always read the label and follow the instructions.
Other suggestions range from spraying with dilute milk to immersion in a bucket of soapy water. It is important to remember that although the signs of damage tend to be on the top surface of the leaf, the bugs often live on the underneath and stay dry even if the top is soaking.
Indeed after spraying your plant look at the underneath and see if it is still dry. Use a jewellery x20 magnifier and you might see some pests happily feeding away just after spraying the topsides with an expensive but ineffectual insecticide.
Also try filling a bucket with hand warm chlorinated tap water and a little washing up liquid. Place the plant pot inside a plastic bag and wrap it around the stem to prevent any soil falling out.
Then turn the pot upside down and immerse the plant holding it under the surface for a couple of minutes.