If you're couch gardening and taking a break from the real world, we can help. We're looking at some of the most frequently asked questions at Eckards and give you our recommendations. From indoor plants with bugs to what to plant to screen the guy next door we've got you covered.
Why do Petunias die on me? Petunias like a hot dry spot in a well drained soil and thrive on neglect. Most commonly people over water them and one can see them wilting from too much and eventually die. Ironically most people give them even more water when they start to wilt.
It's called damping off and is asoil disease proliferated by water. There is no saving them once they are to far gone and the disease sits in the soil re-infecting. Pansies often suffer the same fate. Water with Copper count to clean the soil. Plant something like Marigolds over the spot as they are not affected and help clean the soil.
Planting up a pot
The biggest problem with planting up containers is drainage. Only use potting soil. If garden soil or topsoil is used the soil will compact and not drain, eventually killing the plants. Add a generous layer of River Sand at the base of the pot. This will act as drainage and also as a filter. That way the water running out the bottom is clean and the soil will not drop over time. If the water running out is muddy that is a sigh of a well drained pot but it is also the soil slowly escaping the pot over time.
White sticky stuff on indoor plants
Indoor plants get a host of bugs when they are not happy. If they are not fed regularly, over or under watered, if they are in the wrong spot all adds to stress and this causes susceptibility to bugs. It is most commonly Mealy Bug or Scale. Most people assume it's a fungus but it is in fact a insect. We recommend using a ready to use insecticide so that is easy to use and safely pre-mixed. BioKill or Garden Gun will clear it sometimes with a second spray. Feed and look if it needs to move to complete the recovery.
Bumps on the lemon tree leaves
Bumps on the leaves of the lemon tree is one of our most common questions asked. It is the Phylla insect that stings the new leaves as they come out and then the leaves are damaged and this shows as the bumps. You need to use a systemic insecticide to control it but only when the fruit is smaller than a golf ball or when the tree has no fruit. Here's our article on just how to grow the best lemon tree.
Quick screening shrub
With subdivisions and buildings going up next door we regularly get asked for a screening shrub. The one thing to remember is that the faster the grower the more likely you are going to trim or cut it back over the next few years. Sometimes a steady grower is often a better choice. Our most popular three we recomed most are the Brush Cherry, Chinese Laurel and the False Olive.
The Brush Cherry will grow tall and column shaped attracting a lot of birds with its berries. The Chinese Laurel has a bright green leaf and will cover a wider spot but not that high only 3metres up. The indigenous False Olive can be grown as a large shrub or small tree as long as it gets full sun. Best of all is that they are pollinator friendly attracting loads of butterflies and bees through summer.
Worms on the Clivia's
If you have a bed of Clivia in the shade then chances are that there is some Clivia worm burrowing through them and about to decimate the mother plant. The larvae of a yellow and black butterfly they traditionally were called Amaryllis worm because that's what they fed on. As the indigenous Clivia are in more abundant supply they are the new target. Before you know it they get inside the leaves and then eat their way down.
What to do - Sometimes it helps to cut out as much of the worm invaded leaf as possible. We recommend a systemic insecticide as a drench to protect the plant from the inside. Use Efekto Plant Protector and drench at least a litre or two per plant of the diluted mixture. You can use the contact insecticide Kemprin but that only works on worms that are not inside the leaf yet. Once protected feed your Clivias with BioOcean to get them back on track.