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this is a 1st for me....on my boston fern?

Posted by bluther none (My Page) on
Sun, Sep 4, 11 at 10:05


In my 20 years of growing mostly cactus / succulents I have had a few infestations of mealy bugs.

One of my 2 favourite plants has always been the Boston Fern and have successfully grown one for close to 15 years.

Just noticed mealy bugs in the boston fern. (fern size about 2 ft wide and has grown considerably this summer). Has anyone else encountered this and how did you deal with this? (other than throw away the plant). The fern as with all of my cactus has been on the apt balcony all summer (as previous summers).

Had a cactus mealy bug problem this past winter but by June seemed to have won the battle (although twice in last month 2 cactus had a mild attach). Have been closing watching plants all summer.

Help much appreciated as do not want to throw away boston fern but have to consider the cactus when I bring plants indoors within next week or so.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: this is a 1st for me....on my boston fern?

Yikes! You've got a challenge ahead of you, but I don't need to tell you that. I'll suggest what I would do if this were my plant.

First, I would cut the fern all the way down to the soil level, or nearly so. Then, I'd gently pries it out of the container so that I could scrub the pot and give the root system a little examination. Back in the pot (with little disturbance at this time of year), I'd examine what little sticks are left for any sign of mealies.

As your fern regrows over the winter, you'll need to be very vigilant about inspecting it frequently. Since ferns can be spot treated with alcohol, be prepared to do battle. You can also use insecticidal soap on ferns as long as you follow the directions.

By the way, it doesn't sound like you 'won the battle' with the cacti. ;-) I'd not let them anywhere near the fern. By the way, I've used an alcohol mist quite successfully on cacti that I have grown. You might try it on your cacti, in case you're missing the small eggs and crawlers.

I'll not suggest the alcohol mist for your ferns, but only because I haven't used it on that plant. Perhaps someone else has experience with that.

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