spider mites on ivy (again!) and kalanchoe root thingies

soycandle(IN 5)September 25, 2006

What can I do about spider mites on ivy? I love ivy for a houseplant, but every time I have some, the spider mites find it. I've washed it off with water while rubbing the tops and bottoms of the leaves and spider mites are back. I bought a beautiful hanging basket of Jubilee ivy and hung it in our bathroom window and I saw it has spider mites, too so I put it in the shower under water. What now? I read that ivy doesn't do well with pesticides. Is this true?

Also, I purchased several kalanchoes in the past year. The oldest one that I've had for probably a year now has what looks like little white aerial roots sticking out. Does this mean that I need to cut those sections off an propagate? I was hoping to get a nice big plant. It's currently six inches high and the widest point at the bottom is six inches across.

Thanks for any advice you can lend.


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Lynn, to rid mites, you have to shower more than once. In fact, it's a good idea to hose 2-3 times per wk. Do you mist your ivy? If so, add 2-4 drops of dish soap in water. Spray daily until all signs of mites are gone.
I also add citrus rind, garlic..Keep ivy in the coolest room possible in winter away from a heater..mites love dry air and wet soil..Be sure to allow soil to dry between waterings.

As for your Kalanchoe, just ignore the roots..they're bound to grow..Before you know it, you'll have a nice sized plant..

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 6:25PM
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soycandle(IN 5)

Thanks hopefulauthor! I will take your advice and hopefully those nasty little mites will kick the bucket.


    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 6:39PM
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I had a draceana marginata with those dang mites on it but I won the battle - lots of showers, and not just sitting the plant under the spray but lifting up the leaves and making sure the water hits everywhere. Insecticidal soap spray in between showers, mites are gone!! Well, I have heard that they will always be present in small numbers, you just have to keep the upper hand.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 8:31PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Lynn, I think you know that English Ivy is a plant that many of us refuse to allow in our homes because of those darned spider mites! You'll have to keep after those little pests on a regular basis for as long as you have the plant.

Insecticidal soaps will help, as will alcohol sprays. Try those in between all of those showers, lol! (Fill a plant mister with a solution of one part rubbing alcohol to three parts water and mist the underside of the leaves to kill mites.)

If you persist, you can enjoy ivy as an indoor plant. I'm not willing to deal with it, nor do I want any of the other plants infested, but you sound pretty darned determined! Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 3:04PM
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I think w/proper care, and more importantly a cool room in winter, ivy does fine..I've a couple ivy's. One Algerian that's over 10 yrs old..and another w/various types growing as a topiary in one pot. Maybe it's because I mist daily or keep in unheated rooms, but they never get mites.
I chuckle everytime I see small, ceramic pots filled w/ivy sold at my grocery store @ outrageous prices. What a rip off! And these plants are sold at full prices, too. Amazing, isn't it? Toni

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 4:28PM
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Those darned little buggers! I agree with the above info. The only way I've been able to keep healthy ivies indoors is by showering them once or twice a week.

I've got a Philo that has been battling mites. I think we've won, but time will tell. The plant was a small-leafed one that I bought as an UR cutting, and I grew it enclosed for about the first year. I tell you, the mites must've been hanging around waiting for me to uncover it, because as soon as I did, they were right there! (No other plants were even in the area, as most were outside then.) Even though it was humid at the time, the drop from near 100% to about 75% was enough to stress the plant and leave it vulnerable. I'll have to watch it very carefully as the humidity drops further, going into winter!

As to your Kalanchoe-- Toni's right; you don't need to cut it back if you don't want to. Some Kalanchoes are more prone to forming aerial roots than others, but often times the plant sends them out in search of more water. If your plant's still growing actively and if you have a well-draining mix for it so it doesn't stay wet, you might want to water it a little more often.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 4:30PM
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notanatural(z6 NY)

I've had three tough fights with mites- and I've always listened to the advice from everyone here. I won two of those three battles! There was a fourth- but I just tossed it out- getting rid of mites takes diligence I feel and I just didn't care too much for that particular plant.

Now, I just do a preventative spray of neem oil and water- maybe 2 or 3 times a week (depending on how gung ho I'm feeling) and a weekly shower. In the winter, I try to mist almost every day due to the dryness inside and try to shower more than once a week if I can (mostly I can't be bothered though).

Don't give up- I had really really bad mites on a plant- and I refused to give it up. I eventually did use chemicals (yes, I admit I did)- but only a couple of times- out of sheer exhasperation. The plant is so beautiful and healthy now, makes me feel proud that I didn't toss it out. It's hard work but it's worth it!

Once you get rid of the mites, I think taking a precautionary action is probably good. I think there are quite a few different ones out there that we Houseplant-ers follow- mine is the neem spray. Try what you think will work for you and what will be easier for you to keep up with.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 4:58PM
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I agree with everyone here. I may not be willing to own any more ivy plants but I do have a weakness for the Alocasia, which spider mites also seem to enjoy. By showering this plant weekly, the mites have been kept at bay. It may seem like a hassle but it really only takes a few minutes a week. The bonus is the enjoyment of a plant that I adore. A little extra care is all you need to enjoy your plant.

(ooojen...LOL...that conjures up a funny image. I could just picture the mites hanging around waiting for you to uncover that poor plant...)

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 7:24AM
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soycandle(IN 5)

Can anyone here fill me in on neem spray and is it safe because I have two children, ages three and five. Where can I find it? Or maybe I've been overlooking it at the store?

Thanks for all the great advice, I've been following your advice since my first post and after the shower I haven't found any more mites but I know the indoor hot and dry season is on its way. I'll keep up the good fight because it's a gorgeous plant.


    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 9:52AM
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notanatural(z6 NY)

Soy, neem is not dangerous for children. I know it can good for humans too actually. We used to have to drink juice made out of neem leaves when we were kids- it tasted awful!!! But apparently good for you.

I buy them from the Indian stores around me, I don't know where you can find it near you. Maybe a health or specialty store that sells different oils? I'm sure you can find them online easily too

If you do a search on this forum for neem, you will find some very interesting and useful info- it has been talked about a lot. Unfortunately, it isn't me, who has the detailed knowledge of neem- or I would repeat it for you- it was AL. Maybe he'll join in later. But there are some posts by him in the past which have a lot of good information.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 12:24PM
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