War on Gardenia's mealy bugs
A few months ago, we took home a beautifully flowering and flourishing Gardenia plant from a local nursery. We keep it indoors with plenty of sunlight and well-drained potting soils in a 5-gallon fabric Smart pot.
We soon realized that the plant came with plenty of aphids and mealy bugs. The former was easily wiped out by our fingers and soup water spray; the latter kept coming back.
Recently, the plant started dropping lots of sticky honeydews and appeared sick.
This past weekend I spent a good afternoon and evening patiently going through the plant round and round, picking and crushing all mealy bugs I could find. Must be at least a few hundred kills. Can't deny that I enjoyed it a little - my fingers smelled like Gardenia flowers, too!
And I will keep hunting the mealy bugs every weekend until they are completely eradicated. (or until the plant dies)
Do the bugs hide in the roots?
Is there a chemical-free way to control them?