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Avatar for afolch
Jul 22, 2021 1:43 PM CST
33131
Hello! I'd love some advise on how to treat spider mites on my bird of paradise - I spray my plant and manually clean them but they keep coming back! I've read dish soap and water is a good solution, but could you advise as to exactly how to treat the plant without harming it?

The mites on my plant are on the undersides of the leaves only. Should I just spray that area? And should I leave the solution overnight or wash it off after a few hours?

Many thanks!
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Jul 24, 2021 7:03 AM CST
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
The soap and water treatment is effective, but only if it is applied thoroughly. That means spraying all leaf and stem surfaces until the solution is washing over all of the surfaces. It is a messy task, best done outside in shade, if that is an option. If you are really thorough one treatment may be all that is necessary.

The presence of plant pests is often a sign that the plant may be under stress for other reasons such as improper watering. How do you determine when your plant is dry enough to need water?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Avatar for afolch
Jul 24, 2021 8:42 PM CST
33131
WillC said:The soap and water treatment is effective, but only if it is applied thoroughly. That means spraying all leaf and stem surfaces until the solution is washing over all of the surfaces. It is a messy task, best done outside in shade, if that is an option. If you are really thorough one treatment may be all that is necessary.

The presence of plant pests is often a sign that the plant may be under stress for other reasons such as improper watering. How do you determine when your plant is dry enough to need water?


Thank you!! Once the treatment is done, should I just leave the solution on the plant or attempt to clean it off after a few hours? Unfortunately the plant is too heavy to carry so will need to make it work indoors….!

I water my plant once a week - I'm not very good at gaging the moisture in the soil with my fingers so use a moisture meter to make sure it's not too moist. Should I be watering more often?
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Jul 25, 2021 10:43 AM CST
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
The soap spray can be left on without harm.

Moisture meters are unreliable as they vary from one potting mix to another. It is hard to properly water plants without being able to gauge soil moisture with your fingers.

A thorough weekly watering may or may not be okay, depending on how it is potted. Please post a photo that shows the entire plant and its pot.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
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Jul 25, 2021 11:58 AM CST
Name: Karen
New Mexico (Zone 8a)
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If you have to water and treat it inside, put it in a bathtub or shower if you can. That at least helps contain the mess! Good luck with it.
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Avatar for afolch
Jul 28, 2021 4:17 PM CST
33131
WillC said:The soap spray can be left on without harm.

Moisture meters are unreliable as they vary from one potting mix to another. It is hard to properly water plants without being able to gauge soil moisture with your fingers.

A thorough weekly watering may or may not be okay, depending on how it is potted. Please post a photo that shows the entire plant and its pot.


Thank you! I'll treat it and hopefully that will do it - Im so over those little bugs!! Im also probably going to start watering twice a week - it's been very hot lately (Miami) and perhaps she just needs a bit more moisture! Below is a photo of the plant and pot - unfortunately the pot and plant are VERY heavy so moving them is not much of an option…! What do you think?


Thumb of 2021-07-28/afolch/4993c1
Avatar for afolch
Jul 28, 2021 4:18 PM CST
33131
plantmanager said:If you have to water and treat it inside, put it in a bathtub or shower if you can. That at least helps contain the mess! Good luck with it.


Thank you! I might try to bring it to the balcony for the task, as it's closer - the plant and pot are SO heavy!
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Jul 30, 2021 7:04 AM CST
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
"Im so over those little bugs!!" I hope that's the case!

It looks healthy enough so it may need water more than once every 7 days. Be careful to water thoroughly but also that no water collects in the bottom of the pot.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Avatar for afolch
Jul 31, 2021 7:49 PM CST
33131
WillC said:"Im so over those little bugs!!" I hope that's the case!

It looks healthy enough so it may need water more than once every 7 days. Be careful to water thoroughly but also that no water collects in the bottom of the pot.


Thanks Will! It's also late July in Florida and she's by a sunny window so I think she might really need a bit more water. Will try for twice a week.

But now I have something much, much weirder!! I looked at the soil just now and was shocked to see mushrooms (!!) growing on it! They must have appeared a day or two ago - have you ever seen anything like these? Are they harmful either to the plant or to me? Kind of freaked me out to be honest!

Thumb of 2021-08-01/afolch/90c38e


Thumb of 2021-08-01/afolch/e9a110
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Aug 1, 2021 9:37 AM CST
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
The mushrooms are harmless to the plant and to you as long as you don't eat them! You can leave them or pluck them out. They are a symptom of a potting mix that was somewhat contaminated with fungus spores.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Avatar for afolch
Aug 1, 2021 10:30 AM CST
33131
WillC said:The mushrooms are harmless to the plant and to you as long as you don't eat them! You can leave them or pluck them out. They are a symptom of a potting mix that was somewhat contaminated with fungus spores.


Wow! I have never seen anything like this before - they gave me such a shock when I saw them! Glad they're harmless though….!
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