Houseplants forum→How to quarantine new plants in a small space?

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Kauphy
May 27, 2020 4:10 PM CST
I'm new to houseplants and I'm falling in love so quickly. I didn't realize at first that I'm meant to quarantine new plants, but now I'm determined to. The issue is that I live in a small apartment and I don't have an extra room or space to store the new plants.

How do those of you in apartments manage to quarantine new plants? Is there a glass box or something I can order? I would appreciate any tips or guidance on this!

Thank you very much for reading and for taking the time to reply Smiling
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
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sallyg
May 27, 2020 8:12 PM CST
Lightweight plastic bag loosely over it.

I have never bothered quarantining.
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
May 27, 2020 10:21 PM CST
You don't have to do anything except not fall in love at first sight.
I'm a plant fanatic, so I understand
I think back to my early days...

Sounds like you're asking how do I keep them apart when I can't keep them apart.. you know the answer to that.


Don't bag a plant .. everything I've ever tried in a bag rotted, even in 30 gallon clear recycling bags with CO2 addition.

Inspect your new plant, and don't bring anything home that's wonky.
The plural of anecdote is not data.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
May 28, 2020 9:07 AM CST
Welcome! At this point, we are all a bit quarantined obsessed. But we don't need to pass that obsession on to our plants unless there is an identifiable pest problem.

The best way to avoid plant pest problems is to keep them healthy. That means avoiding repotting them, providing appropriate light for each, and watering as needed.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
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Baja_Costero
May 28, 2020 10:55 PM CST
I would argue the best way to avoid plant pest problems is to be vigilant, and proactive, and nip any bug problems in the bud, before they have a chance to spread. To be perfectly clear: repotting plants has no relationship whatsoever with pest problems if you do it at the right time and with care.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - May 28, 2020 10:56 PM (+)]
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
May 29, 2020 9:00 AM CST
Repotting that is often done prematurely and incorrectly often stresses the plant. Stressed plants are much more vulnerable to pest problems.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
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Baja_Costero
May 29, 2020 10:51 AM CST
WillC said:The best way to avoid plant pest problems is to keep them healthy. That means avoiding repotting them, providing appropriate light for each, and watering as needed.


Any time someone gives advice here that is unhelpful, I'm going to reserve the right to push back. That includes blanket advice to avoid repotting and blanket advice to avoid moisture meters. I would prefer to empower folks to use techniques and tools in the right way and at the right time, rather than instill some kind of irrational fear or mistrust in those things.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - May 29, 2020 11:03 AM (+)]
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Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
May 29, 2020 7:37 PM CST
Clash of the titans!
Lol.. if Baja and Will disagree, neither is wrong. Im relatively experienced and these are the two smartest guys on here.

Baja is in dry south west, Will in in humid North east

As a minor player who admires both of these guys very much, what you need to look at is your own environment.
If you put in a big pot in the desert you are fine. If you do it along either coast it will rot immidiately
The plural of anecdote is not data.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
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Baja_Costero
May 29, 2020 7:44 PM CST
I for one appreciate the time and effort Will puts into helping out people with all sorts of plants and problems, and clearly the site is a better place for newcomers and old timers alike because he is here. And always reasonable, which is a real virtue.

Thank You!
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - May 29, 2020 7:45 PM (+)]
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Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
May 29, 2020 7:44 PM CST
Oops, duplicate post.

The important thing is to consider your environment.
The plural of anecdote is not data.
[Last edited by Turbosaurus - May 29, 2020 7:54 PM (+)]
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Name: cheapskate gardener
South Florida (Zone 10a)
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hlutzow
May 29, 2020 8:44 PM CST
I had a small studio apartment and no extra space. I did have a corner and no pets or kids to stomp things. I'd put a daylight bulb in a desk lamp for a grow light and place my new plants in the quarantine corner for a time. It was inconvenient, but since I didn't get new plants often it was manageable.
Keep calm... and plant something.
Name: Christine
NY zone 5a
Charter ATP Member Region: United States of America Deer Region: New York Birds Cat Lover
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Christine
May 30, 2020 5:44 AM CST
You've been given wonderful advice, here's my 2 cent's nodding 95% of my houseplants come from my local nursery and I have never had any issues with their plants in over 25 year's, I will accept clippings from friends that I know have healthy plants. I don't buy from big box stores, I have on occasion and usually regretted it. So what I'm saying is know your source.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
May 30, 2020 7:52 AM CST
Thanks for the compliment, Paula. And the note of appreciation, Baja.

This is a site where differences of opinion are respected and sometimes argued out, hopefully to the benefit of others so they can make their own judgments. As Paula has pointed out, Baja and I have had very substantial differences in our many years of experience with plants so it is not surprising that we sometimes disagree, but always with respect.

When it comes to Cacti and succulents I always defer to Baja. Indeed I am happy he is on this forum to cover that area so well and so thoughtfully. Thumbs up
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
May 31, 2020 5:06 PM CST
I often "rescue" discount plants that have either been neglected or are perennials past their prime but every single plant gets inspected and if I have any qualms it doesn't come anywhere near my yard, nevermind inside my house. It's simply to difficult to effectively quarantine While giving a plant the airflow, moisture and light it needs. If you are determined to quarantine, keep it in your bathroom and Don't touch it.

I will say in my first 20 years as a houseplant gardener I often believed I had infestations or fungus problems.. and sometimes I did, but since I've gotten good at this, I have to say in the last 10 years I have had few to none. I suspect that at least half the time (if not 90%)I suspected an insect or microbial culprit it was actually care deficiencies. We always think that that because we are following good advice and "the rules"It must be some external parasite we brought into our otherwise pristine homes, and that's simply not the case.

I don't quarantine anything. All my plants go outside every summer and come in every fall, and yes, I get bugs, but almost never ones that are bad for my plants. I might be lucky that I'm not afraid of most bugs... their itty bitty babies just trying to survive and balancing our ecosystem, living with my plants and they tend to stay in their pots.

I did buy a bottle of systemic pesticide many years ago, and I have a spray bottle of neem oil. I Am glad I have these on hand, I have the same bottles and maybe used them twice in the last 5 years, mostly as a prophylactic. It was very helpful for piece of mind and to approach things in the sense that I can be confident if something looks bad, I don't have the balance right..and not to look for zebras when I heard hoof beats.




The plural of anecdote is not data.

PalmaP
Apr 23, 2021 6:32 PM CST
I kinda feel like no one actually answered this question though Crying
I have the same problem. 30m2 apartment with 50ish plants....well, mites or thrips or gnats happen. And the only separate room is my windowless bathroom Sighing!
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
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sallyg
Apr 23, 2021 6:56 PM CST
Hi, Smiling
I beleive Most of us said we don't bother quarantining. So we can't 'answer' how.
Hlutzow said distance as best one could.
Maybe you can put a lamp in your bathroom.
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
Apr 24, 2021 7:35 AM CST
@PalmaP - Quaratining should not be necessary. Any plant that has a pest problem should be treated right away and thoroughly. Once treated, the pests are not likely to spread anywhere else. The key to controlling spread is to detect early and treat thoroughly.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
California
jasriniv
Apr 27, 2021 12:56 AM CST

I have been using mild and diluted hydrogen peroxide mist on the soil to do a prevention of pests and bugs when I bring in a new plant. Is that a good idea or a bad one?
[Last edited by jasriniv - Apr 27, 2021 1:06 AM (+)]
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
Apr 27, 2021 2:13 PM CST
Most indoor plant pests live and feed on the foliage, not in the soil. Fungus gnats are the exception. But those are treatments for specific pests and do not prevent them. Keep your plants healthy and learn to identify pests early before they get out of hand.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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