Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Memorial Day: Late Entries

Just a few late additions to the dead-plant pile. These first two failed to get their registrations in on time, presumably because they were busy being dead. There might eventually be even more additions: some of the Saintpaulias are looking a little peaked, and have since before the move. Because I should not try to grow Saintpaulias.

Asparagus plumosus (or A. setaceus, if you'd rather). August 2008 to July 2009. Cause of death unknown, confusing.

Guzmania cv. Also August 2008 to July 2009. Cause of death: natural senescence of a post-flowering bromeliad, plus drought, plus I think it just never liked me in the first place. I know it doesn't look all the way dead in the picture, but trust me: it's dead. Some of the leaves haven't been told yet, is all.

Though it's not technically dead, I've also given up on the above Ferocactus (which sucks, 'cause it was a gift from Aiyana at Water When Dry, and I feel guilty1) because it somehow got mealybugs. A handful of other things also got mealybugs (Crassula ovata x 2, Astrophytum myriostigma), but they appear to have stayed mealybug-free after being rubbed down with alcohol and (in the case of the Crassulas) being cut back: not only did the mealybugs return to the Ferocactus, they came back more numerous than they had been to start with. I don't have it in me right now to fight mealybugs for a year and a half, not again, so I'm trying to cut my losses.

The scary part is that I don't know where they came from, or whether I still have some around elsewhere else. I mean, I must have them on something else, because the afflicted plants were all plants I've had for over a year, and I hadn't seen mealybugs on anything else in several months. So it's got to be a newish arrival, right? But which one? WHICH ONE?


1 Aiyana, if it helps: the Aloe variegata offsets are doing really well, and the Euphorbia anoplia . . . er, got a bit etiolated, which I really couldn't help. But it's alive, and otherwise healthy. The Ferocactus had been alive for quite a while, too.


Anonymous said...

How come it never occurred to me to memorialize my dead-and-gone plants - even though at one point in my life I had a wall papered with rejection slips? As for mealybugs (and scale) I've fought and fought to save treasured plants until I realized I'm too old to spend my golden years battling them. Now, at first sign of them - and of spider mites - it's into the compost and out. They hang out in the tiniest places, they get into the woodwork and lurk until a new juicy victim comes along and they resist all the non-chemical treatments (wish I had a nickel for every one I've picked off with Q-tips, toothpicks, tiny brushes, oil, soap, alcohol) and I don't do chemicals. I did, however, stick a hideously infested Ficus out on a back deck where it somehow failed to get composted, lived one entire season, survived frost and drought and came in clean and healthy and lived for years. You might try that on some treasured item like the Ferocactus if you can find an isolated corner of the yard.

Hermes said...

You could have a little plaque somewhere - dead plants I have known! I still think you did well considering the move.

mr_subjunctive said...

I hadn't really planned to do the memorializing thing as an ongoing feature, but these were close enough to the previous Memorial Day post, time-wise, and the first two were also probably casualties of the move like those in the previous post, so, you know. I actually find it kind of depressing/unpleasant to have pictures of dead plants on the blog, unless they've died in some really interesting or illustrative way, so this is probably it for a while.

I've never had a serious scale issue, to my knowledge, and only ever had to deal with scale a couple times at work in the year and a half I was there. I've had repeated mealybug problems in both places, though, and really did spend a year and a half trying to get mealys off of two large Cereus peruvianus: ultimately I think it worked, though I should probably check again. Generally if I see mealybugs, I'll try once or twice to get rid of them, and if that doesn't work then they'll go in the trash. (The Cereus were an exception because I'd had them for a long time.) Though if the infestation is far enough gone, or I'm too busy to mess with it, sometimes they wind up going directly to the trash, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

Spider mites, though, I don't sweat very much. I don't keep certain exceptionally mite-prone plants (e.g. Codiaeum variegatum and Hedera helix), and there are others I can't resist but watch closely (Schefflera actinophylla, Cordyline fruticosa), but within certain limits, it's possible to coexist with spider mites. But then, I also water everything by showering from above and trying to wet all the foliage, too, which I'm just positive keeps mite populations in check.

mr_subjunctive said...

Good lord, if I'd been doing that through the current round of plant obsession, I'd now have like 300 plant pictures on the wall (about 160-170 that actually died, and then almost as many that were given away or sold or whatever).

And yeah, I didn't end up losing as many as I'd thought I would. Though I'm not sure the move counts as being over until I have a decent watering station set up inside and a semi-regular schedule for checking everything over. Until then, I still feel like I'm liable to miss something.

Ivynettle said...

Mealybugs are about the only pest I don't have right now (though I'm not sure about Thrips). I might soon get some, though, if I do ... ahem... aquire some Codiaeum variegatum cuttings at work. Just to, you know, increase the biodiversity in my home!

Anonymous said...

I occasionally get mealies on my cacti but it's rarely more than one at a time and... actually, I've never had an outbreak. Just a stray mealy bug show up from time to time. Weird.

Andrew said...

Thankfully I've only had to deal with mealy bugs once and it was a small sighting on one plant. Here's what I did - throw out old potting medium - soak plant with rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle. Rinse. Spray with End-all II. let dry. Repot in new soil and keep isolated. It looks to me that the plant survived (minus a few leaves) and the mealy did not. The plant is still in isolation but it has been over a month and so far so good.

I'm not sure I'd recommend this though as the plant took a bad beating from this treatment but I figured if I can't rid this plant of mealy I'll be tossing it anyway so... why not?

Diane said...

Spider mites are the only pest I have problems with. I finally gave up on the ivies and now I've had to add Primula to the list of things I just cannot own. That's okay; it's all very Darwinian at my house.

Laurie in Maine said...

Looks like you could use these plant pokes I came across a few weeks ago:

click epitaph choices in the sidebar to read what they say :)