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Mealybugs, help

Posted by watergal z6/7 Westminster, MD ( on
Thu, May 3, 07 at 9:20

I was given a clivia about a year ago and it came down with mealy. My usual houseplant treatment is to spray it thoroughly with leafshine (like a horticultural oil) and treat the soil with Marathon granules.

I almost killed it. The leaves turned funky yellow and brown colors and died off. But one little offshoot lived on, and about six weeks ago I repotted it. It was growing well, but yesterday I noticed a couple of mealies are back again.

What can I use on the mealy?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Mealybugs, help

Hi Watergal...Though this may sound like a lot of work, I'd remove the shoot from its soil..Take to sink, and wash off entire plant and roots w/dish soap..Get in-between the leaves. Then repot in fresh soil/clean pot. I'd then go over leaves using cotton balls w/rubbing alcohol. Give a hearty drink, but be sure soil dries out between waterings.
What did you do w/mom plant? Discard? Toni

RE: Mealybugs, help

Thanks, Toni. Mom went in the garbage. It was a mess!

RE: Mealybugs, help

Watergal, I don't blame you for tossing mom if she was infested. Mealy are the worse.
I'm not trying to tell you how to grow plants, (I've seen your other posts and you know quite about about growing plants) but I'd make sure the soil of Clivia dries out, especially in winter. Toni

RE: Mealybugs, help

Toni, thanks for the kind words. I do know they like to be dry, but I probably watered a tad too much after I repotted, which I'm sure didn't help. I've noticed that plants with mealy take forever to dry out, and cutting back on the water usually slows down the mealy.

RE: Mealybugs, help

Hi, Watergal, Mealies are so awful. Systemics can be bad for you, and most don't work. I lost two, by inches, before I noticed the scented geranium effect. The third one in that room, has been good all winter, and is still mealy free.

Strongly scented varieties are best. Rose, Lemon, Dean's Delight, pine etc. all work. Put fresh or dried leaves, between the straps. It seems to work as a repellent or even a killer. You don't get that awful "OH NO!", a few weeks later. Problems with Scenteds to be aware of are: they can harbor whitefly, and some can be affected by a disease that is lethal to prize geraniums, so use a reputable souce. Maybe a local greenhouse has some.

An occasional puff of vinegar-water seems to enhance the effect, but wore off on it's own, [that, alternating with alcohol, was what i used on the others. but i used them too strong, -the plants winced, and not often enough].

It sounds really odd, but it't been three years now, that plants near scenteds, have not picked up the mealies from off of floor plants, 2 feet away. In fact, there are no mealies at all, in the house any more.

Another clivia thread said, that if the roots are too wet, you can leave them unpotted for a week, to rest and air.
The mealies did cut down on watering needs, and multiplied faster, when the plant was watered

Best of Luck,
The mealie fight can be so disheartening, hope you give this a try, florey

RE: Mealybugs, help

florey, I have a citronella scented geranium - do you think that would work?

RE: Mealybugs, help

I spray mealy-infested plants with a mixture of water, alchohol, and Murphy's oil soap (very very light on the alchohol, fairly light on the murphy's, too).

Murphy's can also be applied with cotton ball or q-tip to those really chunky white spots, or to the bugs themselves.

Best of luck with that Clivia.

RE: Mealybugs, help

Hi Watergal, Yes, citrusy is good, so are the piney and rosey ones, probably any of the strongly scented ones. The only one that i'm unsure of, was strawberry, which is very mildly scented. Some greenhouses that sell herbs, often have a few scenteds. Who knows, you might get into them.
Put the scented G. pot, next to the clivia, and take a couple of the scented leaves, and put them between the straps, and wherever the mealies are worst. You can tear some up if you like. As long as the scent is on the leaves, they work, even after they dry out. When the scenteds need more sun, leave an extra leaf, and rotate the s. pot out [that only happened in the winter].

I hope you try this. It can't hurt. This is so light, that you can use all the other treatment ideas on this thread, too, at 3 or 4 week intervals. In fact, it seems to activate or strengthen them. But, Go real easy on the concentrations. I tortured my guys that I lost, with 50/50 mixtures, of vinegar and water, and even stronger alcohol, and water. A 10% mix of white vinegar and water, IS effective, and a good combo with the scenteds. Neem Oil is really good too, and mixes up well with liquid fertilizer, in a bucket.

If you have a good leafy shade spot outside, where you can keep an eye on it. you could try that. Actually, we set one on it's side [it seems to promote growth and branching, I don't know why], to keep most of the rain out, between a shrub and the house. The eaves, protected it from most rain, but it could enjoy the dew. It loved it.
Love the idea of the Murphy's Oil Soap. It has a hint of citrus scent too, and the alcohol was harder on the clivia. You might start with a spoonful, in say, a pint of water, and see how it's tolerated. Dont go over ~10% on the alcohol.

Pepperomia, what were your proportions? These proportions are just a guess. I sprayed a year ago, and used a mixture that was way too strong.
Toni, as usual, you have such great advice, I've been a quiet admirer of yours, for years.
It's so great to be able to share with, and get input from, other planty folks.

Watergal, good luck, and keep us posted. This is that worrying interval, We're all hoping for the best, florey

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