Question 1: Is it possible for fuzzy-leaved plants like Episcias to get scale?
I've seen warnings about mealybugs on Episcia, and actual mealybugs on similarly-fuzzy plants, but I don't think I've ever seen anyone talk about scale on Episcia, Saintpaulia, etc. Does it happen? It seems like maybe the hairs would make it hard for them to sit on the stems and leaves like they like to, and I haven't seen any during the whole scale outbreak, is mostly why I'm asking.
Question 2: What was happening here?
The Calathea makoyana had been doing fine for quite a while down in the basement. Then, about a month ago, I had it switch places with an Aglaonema next to it, because the Aglaonema was getting too tall. The Calathea then wound up directly under one of the shop lights. Two weeks later, when I went to water it, the leaves were curled and beginning to wilt, and the undersides of most of the leaves were full of spider mites and sticky spots like this. Thinking "sticky spots = scale," I checked the plant thoroughly, but didn't find any. So I put it back, in its old spot. Two weeks later, I looked at it again, and it looked like the above photo. Still didn't see any actual insects, just spider mites. And unlike the scale on the other side of the basement, the stickiness was only ever on the underside of the leaves, never the top.
The plant was discarded anyway, on the grounds that several of its neighbors had detectable scale infestations, and that was long enough ago that I'm not upset about it now. But I am still wondering how I could have gotten scale without, as far as I can tell, getting scale.
Question 3: How do you keep potted plants upright when outdoors?
I intend to let some of the plants spend the summer outdoors again. The logical place for them to go is along the north side of the garage, which is shaded for most of the day but gets weak sun in the afternoon. Also the husband just poured concrete there, so it's a nice flat surface.
The problem is that the wind comes sweeping in from the west, with basically nothing to block it, and gets funneled between the garage and house, so by the time it reaches the driveway it's moving really fast. Consequently, anything with a high center of gravity gets knocked over every time we have a storm. And we have lots of storms.
Last summer, I had three basic approaches for dealing with this. 1) Put the pots really close together, so even if they catch the wind and want to blow over, they can't. 2) Put bricks on the rim and/or soil. 3) Keep the really top-heavy plants inside. Those kind of worked, but even so, I spent a lot of time righting pots, dashing out into the rain at 4 AM to rush a cart full of plants into the garage, and picking up shards of broken pots.
So I'm hoping that there are better ways that I haven't thought of yet. There is a plantable bed next to this spot, so it might theoretically be possible to plant something cheap or fast-growing to serve as a windbreak (currently, all that's there is grape hyacinth, Muscari something, so there's room), but all we actually have right now are a ton of Cannas and a random bunch of two- or three-year-old seeds.
Question 4: Are there ways to force Agaves to offset? Or even ways to encourage them to offset?
I ask because there was a spell in January when a bunch of Agaves I had all started to offset at once. It could be coincidence, of course, but a couple of the offsetters in January had never even done it before, so it seemed like there was a connection. If I did something to cause it, though, I don't know what that was. Does anybody have any idea how that works?