Friday, November 1, 2013

Journal November 1, 2013 Indoor gardening -Inspect your plants thoroughly

Continuing my quest for unusual fragrant tropical plants to brighten up the coming winter, I added a Vietnamese Gardenia plant purchased on eBay.  The plant, shown above, was offered by Hirt's Gardens.  Although I had never purchased any plant material from Hirt's, I had heard of them and knew they have been in business for sometime.  Being pressed for time the day the plant arrived, I simply washed all the soil from the roots, potted the plant and placed it a tent with the other gardenias.  

To my horror, upon closer inspection with a magnifying headset the following day, I found the plant to be infested with aphids.  Additionally, the plant had several brown holes in the leaves, some the size of a dime.  It is not a plant you would purchase if you were to see it beforehand.  

Not taking any chances, I sprayed all of the plants that came in contact with this plant with insecticide soap; placing all of them in the greenhouse overnight to contain any loose aphids.   I also wiped the bottom of each leaf with paper towel soaked in the soap.   Today, I spayed them again, this time with Neem Oil, just to be safe.  Another inspection followed, fortunately no aphids were found.

A similar incident occurred yesterday with a Tabernaemontana divaricata, or Crepe Jasmine, also purchased from a very reputable grower.  Upon inspecting the plant, I found and removed at least a dozen black scale insects.  Again, the plant was sprayed with Neem oil solution, and as I had Neem oil solution remaining, I decided to use it on the olive trees, though I have never seen an insect on any of them.  Being a fanatic on insect control, as a further preventive measure, I add Gnatrol to every batch of nutrients, to kill any larvae in the media.  Better safe than sorry.

The best advice I can offer is: don't trust anyone when adding plants to your indoor garden.  Inspect all plants, very carefully.

As an afterthought, I checked the reviews for Hirt's Gardens on Dave's Garden site; the negative reviews outnumber the positive reviews for the past 12 months.  Avoid or beware of Hirt's Gardens.

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