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Bringing houseplants back inside

Posted by dansmom z6 Va (My Page) on
Sat, Sep 11, 10 at 17:48

Do any of you spray your houseplants with insecticide before bringing them back inside in the fall? Last year I only washed them and wound up with a bad aphid infestation. I definitely want to use something on them. I have PTSD from those dang aphids! Thanks for any info.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Bringing houseplants back inside

I apologize to anyone who is offended by my improper use of the term PTSD. It was not meant to make light of the pain of true sufferers of this disorder. Truly sorry.


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RE: Bringing houseplants back inside

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 12, 10 at 10:31

Aphids are pretty easily controlled with a sharp stream of water or applications of an insecticidal soap like Safers in a spritzer. I do treat my plants before bringing them in. I used an application of pure cold-pressed neem oil over Labor Day, and I'll repeat the application today. The next time I see night temperatures predicted at below 55* for more than a couple of consecutive nights, all the tropicals will be brought in.

Al


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RE: Bringing houseplants back inside

Thank you, Al.


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RE: Bringing houseplants back inside

Hello All!

Al, is that all you need to keep your plants from bringing in pests? just a few well timed applications of neem oil? That sounds almost too good to be true. Neem oil is wonderful and i use it (even began to like the smell)but i also use a few other things while bringing them back in from summer vacay. I would love to learn neem oil is all i need.


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RE: Bringing houseplants back inside

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 13, 10 at 19:34

Neem oil doesn't have the immediate knockdown that some chemicals have - that is it doesn't kill large numbers of pests immediately. Its value lies in the fact that it disrupts several aspects of a pests life. It sterilize insects so they can't reproduce; it has anti-oviposition (anti egg laying) properties; it disrupts molting so insects cannot progress through their life cycles; it is also a powerful anti-feedant, making your plants taste bad and upsetting digestion; it inhibits flight ability, which also helps stop the spread of pests.

Unfortunately, not all products containing neem oil are created equal. The important active ingredient is azadirachtin, but its effectiveness is reduced considerably by solvent and steam extraction methods. Products that contain only pure, cold-pressed neem oil will have the greatest amount of azadirachtin. I'm sure there are other sources of the virgin, cold-pressed oil, but that product packaged by Dyna-Gro fits the bill & is what I use.

I can't guarantee that it will keep your plants pest free all winter, but it works very well if you're forward-looking and patient. 2-3 applications at 2 week intervals usually keep my plants bug free all winter, but I grow under lights & controlled conditions, which means my plants' metabolism is higher than most plants not under controlled conditions, which improves the plants' own natural defense.

There is another tool you can add to your clean-up before you bring your plants in. If interested, contact me off forum.

Al


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RE: Bringing houseplants back inside

Any Idea of how long it take neem to break down after you spray the plants?

Lets say I sprayed my plants today, barring rain and spraying with the hose, is there an average length of time that it is effective? Is that the two week interval you use represent?

Danny


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RE: Bringing houseplants back inside

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 13, 10 at 20:57

I'm not sure how to answer the question. It breaks down quickly in sunlight, but any insects that come in contact with it are permanently affected and eventually die. It also has some systemic properties and works in concentrations as low as 1 ppm, so insects ingesting it after applications are affected as well.

It's probably a good thing that it breaks down quickly in sunlight and water, that way is has minimal affect on benificials. It's usually recommended to apply at 2 week intervals. My guess is it's actively effective topically for a much shorter period; systemically, it's probably effective longer, though I'm not sure how long that might be. My suggestion would be to read the label carefully & then follow directions. Lacking directions:

In a 1 quart spritzer bottle, mix:
1 pint very hot water
1 teaspoon neem oil (cold-pressed/virgin oil only - Dyna-Gro packages a very good product)
4-6 drops Murphy's oil soap (or dishsoap)
Shake well and add 1 pint of 70% isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol.
Spritz
Shake frequently while spritzing. Be sure to cover the entire plant. Don't spray in full sun. A little more Murphy's is ok, but unnecessary if using the isopropyl. Repeat at 2 week intervals as needed.

Al


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RE: Bringing houseplants back inside

Thanks Al, I was wondering because I thought it would break down sooner than that as well but wasn't sure. Your recommendation for use is how I've used it only without the isopropyl.

Thanks Again
Danny


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RE: Bringing houseplants back inside

Word of caution, I've had it burn leaves when sprayed in sunlight. I always move the plants to shade before spraying.

Jane


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RE: Bringing houseplants back inside

I was going to say "that goes without saying" but the reality of it is that a lot of folks don't know that all those tiny water droplets sparkling in the sun are like a million mini magnifying glasses cooking the leaf surfaces.

That deserves a mention every time we talk about sraying anything on our plants.

Danny


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RE: Bringing houseplants back inside

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 15, 10 at 18:56

Sorry, Danny, but that's a myth that's been hanging around forever and just won't go away. There are lots of things you can do with water so your plants end up with burned leaf tips and margins, but watering in the sun with tap water isn't one of them. Just thought I'd let you know. :-(

Al


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RE: Bringing houseplants back inside

Live and learn, I always try to keep an open mind. I did a google search and didn't find much in the way of botanical studies but I did find something.

http://ec.europa.eu/research/headlines/news/article_10_01_25_en.html

And

http://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/~linda chalker-scott/horticultural myths_files/Myths/Leaf scorch.pdf

Thanks Al

Danny


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RE: Bringing houseplants back inside

Danny, that is so funny but it does bring to mind the saying "Nothing is absolute" especially when it comes to plants. You can only do what works for you and if it does not work try something else. I always water in the evening after sundown because it works for me.

Before I bring my houseplants in I give them a good shower with the hose. After the shower I soak the pots above the soil in a bucket of water with a drop of dish detergent. Any bugs hiding in the soil float to the top. The next day they get another shower and soil drench.

Once a month when they come in I spray my plants with Peroxide. I have a squirt bottle that I pour about 1/4 of peroxide and fill with water. I have never had a bug problem in 30 years. I did this because my Mother did this when I was growing up.


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RE: Bringing houseplants back inside

I hope this is the proper forum. I purchased a couple of Boston Ferns this year and had them in hanging baskets outside. They are in a southwestern exposure and look fabulous. The weather here is getting down to the 50's and a little below at night. Can I bring these beauties in side for the colder months successfully? My house is small and not a lot of large windows to mimic the bright light they have been getting all summer. How do I acclimate them to the house? Anyone do this and have healthy ferns come next spring? Thanks so much.


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RE: Bringing houseplants back inside

I'm not sure if it was this forum or another but it advised to check the pots very carefully for snakes and not only the bugs. Someone brought a snake into their home in a flower pot.
Now I check mine very well!!!!!
Christine


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RE: Bringing houseplants back inside

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 19, 10 at 12:42

I had a salamander - or newt - take a long snooze in a bonsai plant I kept in my garage where it had over-wintered. I found it when I started to repot the tree, still quite sleepy, but very much alive after it warmed up a little.

Al


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RE: Bringing houseplants back inside

Al, I could live with a salamander without any problems LOL,a snake on the other hand would give me a heart attack !!!
Christine


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RE: Bringing houseplants back inside

I just wanted to add my own experiences to the mix. I have been taking houseplants and a couple of tropicals out for the summer and back in for the winter for about the last 6 years. I am an organic gardener and don't use pesticides. Once I read an article suggesting you could just put a drop of water in a spray bottle with some strained garlic and water and spray with that. That worked fine but I really didn't have any visible insects or disease going on, it was just as a precaution. I've used that same spray in the past when I did have something eating the leaves and wasn't sure what.

The last few years, I've done nothing more than spray the plants very carefully, with just water, careful to include the underside of the leaves, with as strong a spray as the plant will tolerate, inspect it very well, and remove the top couple of inches of soil and replace it before bringing in. Last winter I don't remember seeing any bugs at all in the house. This year, I did notice one spider that isn't a type that I normally see in the house and I don't know if he hitched a ride in one of the plants. That was it.

In the garden this year, I had initial outbreaks of aphids on roses but I quickly saw ladybugs show up and barely saw another aphid the rest of the season. I did have a few Asian beetles that gave me a headache and I tried to keep the numbers down, by going out after dark and flicking them into a cup of soapy water. That worked out fairly well. I did have some foliage damage, but nothing I couldn't live with. I had earwigs a few years. I mulch a lot, and I think I read they are attracted to mulch. I kept up with them with a cup of soapy water after dark too. This year, I had more caterpillars than I've seen before. The little tiny green ones on roses and hardy hibiscus, and I just hand picked those off. Interestingly, I had a Carolina Wren in the garden this year. I read that they eat mostly bugs. He was a cute little thing with a pretty song and some funny ways. In the spring, we have had an infestation of winter moth caterpillars on the Maple trees for four years now. The last two years, a flock of Starlings have shown up and I can see them hopping in the canopy eating the caterpillars. I think I have a gourmet buffet of food for birds out there. [g] I seem to manage to just let it all work itself out. I'm surprised that I can do the same thing with the indoor plants, but it does seem to work out just using mechanical techniques rather than chemicals.


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RE: Bringing houseplants back inside

Dansmom. Every fall, when bringing plants indoors, I vow I will NOT take plants out the following year..Of course, I can't deprive my babies of sun and fresh air, so out they go.

Okay, now to your question. I don't use chemicals on plants, so instead, this is what I do. And it works.

First, I hose each plant, 'soil and foliage.' One by one.
Hosing soil is as important as hosing leaves. Ants, spiders and Ear Wigs hide inside soil. I don't know about you, but I am terrified of spiders, don't want them in the house. Yuck.
I make a batch of home-made insectide.
Ingredoients consist of: Fish Emulsion, Water, Citrus peel or juice, garlic, and 2-4 drops of Dish Soap..'not Dawn.'
I prepare this insecticide the previous night. Each ingredient, except Fish Emulsion, is placed in a mister. When ready to spray, I remove garlic, 'unless it's garlic juice,' and add Fish Emulsion. Shake Well. Each plant is thoroughly sprayed. After foliage dries, plant is brought indoors.

In case of Aphids or Whitefly infestation, the best way to rid them is using Yellow STicky Papers. Works wonderful.
Fish Emulsion, kills and prevents Scale attack.
Very rarely do my plants get buggy. In all the years growing plants, aside from occassional Spider Mite problem, the worse infestations were Scale and Whitefly.

Most plant, 'almost 300,' had whitefly. I panicked. Thought all would die. Ironically, a couple days prior, I was browsiing through a plant catalog, and came across Yellow Sticky Papers. Even though I showered, resprayed, those buggers wouldn't die..That's when I decided to try the Sticky Papers. Within a wk, 'after getting them,' all signs of WF were gone. Never again did my plants get these awful insects.

As for Fish Emulsion. I was told from a woman who owns a citrus nursery in FL, they use FE as a preventative.
Sure enough, I ordered an Olive tree that came w/Scale. I didn't notice until, while misting plants. Luckily, I fertilize succulents and cactus with Fish Emulsion, so had some in the house. I followed her advice, and sure enough, Scale died.

It does take effort keeping bugs at bay, but worth every minute of it. Toni


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RE: Bringing houseplants back inside

Just to clarify, Neem Oil will burn leaves in sunlight. Water will not. Any oil will heat up and cook the leaves. If you use an oil spray, move your plants to a shady spot for a few days.

Jane


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RE: Bringing houseplants back inside

Water drops on leaves acts light a magnifying glass in sunlight. Just saying.


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RE: Bringing houseplants back inside

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 25, 10 at 13:59

The idea that watering in sunlight can burn foliage has been around for a long time & perpetuated by the frequency with which the information is offered. It's physically impossible, yet the myth persists.

Dr Chalker-Scott addresses the myth at the link I left below.

Al

Here is a link that might be useful: Water acts as a magnifying glass to burn foliage?


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RE: Bringing houseplants back inside

Thanks for all the great advice. I need to get to work bringing them in as it's getting below 50 at night here. I know some plants can be left out til just before frost. I do that with my Christmas and thanksgiving cacti. What other plants can stay our till before frost? I know the tropicals must come in. Thanks much.


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