Sorry, it has been so long since I have posted anything. As others have complained., this pandemic situation is getting me down. I have to self-quarantine due to pre-existing risks, and I am getting a bit down. I am going to try and get out of myself and become more involved now.
As you know, I lived in Ireland for half the year for the past ten or twelve years. After my return from Ireland for good, this winter, I decided to buy an orchid I had loved in Ireland. See HERE
When summer came, I put the flower out on the sunporch to enjoy. I also had a tray of annuals and veggies plants from my local garden center. Then the extreme heat of 90+ weather hit my area for weeks and weeks.
I do not do well in the heat. My basic genetic makeup comes from northern European stock: Mainly Irish, with some English, Scandinavian, and Northern Alsace- Lorraine( North France/Germany) scattered in the mix.
Anyway, that’s the excuse I use. But I’m not too fond of the high heat and humidity and stay indoors for that weather, almost as I do to avoid snow and sleet. I bought the orchid inside and put her in the living room.
I placed the flowers out on the deck to keep them watered. Nevertheless, I did lose a few of those plants even though I watered daily. The deck thermometer read over 100 degrees most afternoons.
I tend to procrastinate, and I wanted to avoid working in the heat, so the plants stayed on the deck table. I’m afraid this new weather picture will probably force me into altering my prior garden plans and policies.
A couple of weeks ago, I noticed my orchid had a couple of white things on the underside of the leaf. The plant still looked lovely, beautiful, and green with a full spring of blossoms, but I never saw cotton on the leaves before.
So what the heck are mealybugs? They are a really common houseplant pest. They come from warmer climates and can come into your home (or outdoor plants) by bringing home infested plants from a nursery. They spread from plant to plant and feed off of growth points. They are white, tiny little guys that form cottony nests where they are feeding. They can even live in the roots.
I learned that the bug lives outdoors and can infest your outdoor plants, trees, grapes, vegetables, etc. See Here
I went online to look for orchid pests and found pictures and descriptions of “mealybugs.” See HERE
I chose to utilize the 70% alcohol treatment plan. I washed the orchid in the sink with soapy water and then took alcohol wipes and applied them to all the leaves. Job done!, I thought, and put her back in the living room window.
Well, today I went to water the orchid and noticed the flowers were wilting and looked” funny”; almost like they had a film on them. I think they were covered in some white slimy powder, and there were white cotton mealybugs on the undersides and GROSS alert. I even found one on the wall next to the plant!!!!
I quickly grabbed the plant and took it outside to the trashcan. Then, I washed down the plant stand with alcohol wipes, and then washed it in warm soapy water. I threw away the plant tray, and I even cleaned the wall and floor near the window area. I was itchy for a few hours after completing the cleanout but felt sooo sad to lose the plant.
In retrospect, I am pretty sure I bought the bugs into the house in the outside garden center flower and veggies I put in the sunroom. So lesson learned.
If you want to learn more about mealybugs and how to avoid suffering a plant loss, I have a few references for you.
Next, to bring you ups to date on the outside patio project. I had a gentleman come out to inspect and recommend to me how to address the continuing patio stone problem. If you are a follower, you remember seeing the issues in this FB POST.
To make a long story short, the grout material between the flagstone patio stones kept washing out with each rainstorm. I hired a contractor to weed, clean, refill all the gout lines. It did not work at all, and so he came an refilled the areas with a special stone grout. However, after a couple of heavy rains, the grout again washed away in a couple of places.
My new contractor told me he believes the prior workman used the proper grout sealer, but he thinks he just missed a few areas. My new man agrees to come back in the fall to reinspect and refill any gout failure areas. I have decided to that, so I will keep you updated later on in the year.
Back to the flowers: I will never bring plants from outside or even a covered greenhouse into the house again. If I had just put those flowers outside in the garden as I usually do, I might still have that orchid.
Not too sure if I want to try that orchid again. The orchid and other houseplants in Ireland weren’t exposed to the warm temperature that are here in Ohio so maybe mealybugs are not common there.
Have you had mealybugs on your houseplants? This is the first time I have ever seen them. I had a ton of plants in our Irish home and never experienced this problem. Any advice? Is this a common problem in the area?
I’ll try and do better posting. Being stuck and home is no fun but sure bets the alternative. Smile
Anyway. Stay healthy and strong. Share your plant and covid stories…now, more than ever, I would love to hear from You.