Drowning spider mites - Really? How did it come to this?

JeffreyJoe(5 New Hampshire)December 24, 2013

Maybe somebody will benefit from my story of errors... I may have an addictive personality, so plumeria may not have been a good thing for me to try, since I live in a 2/2 condo in NH. Yes, my spare bedroom is a plumeria grow room... That might have been my first and biggest error. - Don't try forcing a plant to do what isn't natural if you know only what you have read online...and you have no place to do it properly.

Problem is that I had really good success with the ones I brought back from Hawaii in May. No issues at all - grew fantastic just sitting in a sunny living room window. My wife said, "I can't wait for these to bloom, I love the smell so much. It reminds me of our trips to Hawaii." So, I bought lights, so they could grow better. My thought was to get them to skip dormancy, to prevent rot. I read about it online. :)

That seemed like a waste to only have 2 plants under 2 200 watt cfls. So, in September I bought six cuttings to root to go with my original pair that were lonely. And of course, I had to have bottom heat, so I made a heater using incandescent rope lighting (I read about it online). If, I would have stopped there everything may have been okay. But no...

I used the bag method on those six cuttings which I read about online... Some friends thought what I was doing was awesome and asked if I could grow some for their patio. I said sure - the more the merrier!

So, I expanded my operation and ordered a variety of no name cuttings off ebay that included 9 cuttings that averaged 28" for $23 shipping included - nobody bid on the poor guy's auction. Meanwhile, half of my 6 bag method cuttings rooted and I said - THIS IS EASY! Oh - silly me.
I had rearranged how my heat "mat" was arranged and all 6 of the bagged cuttings cooked and all the beautiful roots melted away. Some rebounded, some didn't. I asked for advice here for the first time after that fiasco.

Some of the second batch of cuttings were too big, so I chopped them in half. I was even able to get two mid section cuttings to root. So even though there were setbacks, things were still looking good!

Then I ordered the famous Blue plumeria (if you are new here - they don't exist) from Thailand. Please don't make that mistake!

Right about the time those arrived, I noticed that my original 2 plants had leaves that were yellowing, turning brown, drooping and falling off. I thought it was rust, so I sprayed them with fungicide 3. Over the next 2 days they lost almost all their leaves. Then the plants rebounded and were happily growing again and then what?

It turns out that I actually have spider mites, I finally saw the webbing between leaves and the mites moving around. So I sprayed them with Neem Oil. I read about it online! However, I didn't realize that my leaves were going to fall off again. I did NOT read about that part... I even bought a humidifier for the room... Oh yeah, I needed more space, so I purchased a heat mat and more lights... Did I mention that I may have an addictive personality???

So tonight, I filled up a trash can with 105 degree water and dunked each of my plants for 10 minutes. I read about it online! It is supposed to kill the eggs too - so I'll keep you posted. The only unusual occurrence was some on the plants had dozens of extremely tiny white spots on the stems and leaves. I am unsure if that was sap or if it was the dead mites/eggs. These little buggers are going to drive me crazy, if this doesn't kill them.

Hope everyone has a great holiday season! My Christmas wish is no more spider mites, so I can get some plumeria to bloom for my wife this summer!


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I can't find anything wrong/abnormal with what you posted. :)

The best product I have used for mite control is a Bayer 3 in 1 product or the Garden Safe version of the same product. It stinks to high heaven but works pretty good for me. I have also noticed that the spray may hasten leaf drop. The good news about the leaves falling off is the mites loose thier primary place to lay eggs.
You will get blooms this coming summer. Good Luck and Merry Christmas.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 9:39AM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hi Jeff!

I really enjoyed your post... Most of us can understand what you are going through, so no worries. It just makes us feel better knowing we have others that truly understand the addiction and the many hoops we will go through for our trees.

The fight with spider mites is a constant battle this time of year, so don't think you are the only one. I would agree with K... My choice for spider mites is also the Bayer 3 In 1 for mites. Just sprayed last night and will set off spray bombs in the greenhouse again in a few days.

Merry Christmas to you and your family and to ALL of the family here on the Plumeria Forum!!!

Take care,


    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 4:08PM
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Sounds perfectly normal to me.

You can drown spider mites? They are an almost year round problem here, thriving in the humidity.

Tally HO!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 8:54AM
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