Manitoba Gardener Magazine - - LOCAL DIRT -

Dear Chris:

I re­ceived your en­ve­lope of plant parts with all their var­i­ous ail­ments. It is hard to be sure but what I think is that you have sev­eral prob­lems.

1. You may be over­wa­ter­ing. Cut back on wa­ter un­til the plant is dry to the touch on the sur­face of the soil. Over­wa­ter­ing can cause your Christ­mas cac­tus to go limp, drop leave and get rust spots on the leaves. Christ­mas Cac­tus like to get fairly dry. Another sign of wa­ter is­sues is crinkly leaves – this will turn up both from over­wa­ter­ing or un­der­wa­ter­ing. Over wa­ter­ing will also cause brown tips and brown spots on plant leaves.

2. You may have aphids or some other suck­ing in­sects on the Pep­per­o­mia (?) plant and they are caus­ing a sooty mold to grow in the leaves.

3. It looks like the mealy bugs may have spread to your rub­ber tree plant.

I would ad­vise spray­ing all plants with neem oil, both top and bot­tom of the leaves and in leaf and stem nooks and cran­nies. Very badly in­fest plants should just dis­carded. Neem will work on the mold and the in­sect caus­ing it.

Care­fully clean the ar­eas where in­fected plants have resided. Wash any con­tain­ers from dis­carded plants with bleach and wa­ter. Neem may also get rid of the mealies – just re­mem­ber to keep spray­ing ev­ery few days to catch new hatch­lings mealy bugs are very hard to get rid of and some­times it is better just to get rid of the plant.

When it comes to wa­ter, here are some thoughts:

Fill the wa­ter­ing con­tainer and leave it a room tem­per­a­ture.

Wa­ter only when the plant s dry and be sure all wa­ter is re­moved from the tray un­der the plant when it has fin­ished drain­ing.

Let the wa­ter run through if you can. Then don’t wa­ter again un­til the soil is dry to a half inch.

At this time of year most plants are rest­ing and re­quire less wa­ter than they did dur­ing the spring or sum­mer when they are ac­tively grow­ing so don’t fret if they take a cou­ple of weeks to dry out. Small plant con­tain­ers need wa­ter more of­ten that larger plants.

I hope this is help­ful to you, Chris.

Very best of luck to you,


Got this beau­ti­ful shot in the morn­ing from my win­dow feeder. They are re­ally fill­ing up be­fore their flight south.Linda and Rudy Rosen­thal. Dufresne, MB.

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