Houseplants forum: I Miss My Favorite Trustworthy Ethical Nursery! Help, Gnats!!!

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Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Aug 14, 2017 11:45 AM CST
I have purchased the majority of my indoor and outdoor plants from the same nursery for decades. I drive out of my way to go there, and would not have it any other way.

My plants grew. I never had a bug, never a disease, mishaps on plant orders due to staff not being up on plant ids had been happening for some time, as the owner was less hands on, but that was just an adventure. I never returned a plant, but I liked knowing I could. I liked seeing all the huge green houses out back where they grew many things on site.

In the last two or three years, when you buy a plant, you get a little hot pink note stapled to every receipt, no returns, and a ridiculous explanation that is BS blaming the customer. I guess greed has surpassed pride in quality and reliability. It actually made me sad to see the change. I am grateful I have a pretty good knowledge of plants, because tags are gone. Want a hoya, you will find a 3 inch pot for $14.00 with the word hOya? scribbled on it.

I had not purchased a plant there for some time, as seeing mealies and aphid and gnats while looking for a lovely healthy plant tends to kill the mood, but I brought home a new pothos the other day. This morning I picked it up to check for moisture and it exploded with fungus gnats. My own plants are almost all outside. I don't have gnats. (or I didn't) Anything I have indoors is in very gritty soil, that needs water often as it dries out in a day or two. Not fungus gnat heaven.

The plant is outside, I am constantly slapping myself with a gnat in my face, and am just bummed. I have not found the miracle cure for gnats. They are difficult for me to kill off, and in the mean time, make me crazy. Help. I am breaking up with my favorite nursery, it's changed, and I don't love it anymore.
Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

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plantladylin
Aug 14, 2017 3:18 PM CST
In my experience, Fungus gnats are usually present when soil stays too moist. I searched the site and found these articles regarding fungus gnats and other plant pests:

https://garden.org/learn/artic...
https://garden.org/learn/artic...
https://garden.org/learn/artic...

and Gardening Ideas by members:
https://garden.org/ideas/view/...
https://garden.org/ideas/view/...
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Aug 14, 2017 3:26 PM CST
I feel your pain, Laurie. In so many locations now, big box stores are the only sources people have for plants. Such stores are not known for their knowledge, care or interest in plants. Locally owned plant shops and nurseries are increasingly rare and that is very sad.

It sounds like you had one but it has now started to go downhill. Good care and customer service start at the top. No quality plant retailer should ever be selling pest-infested plants. It is a clear indication that their plants are not well cared for and if one plant is infested with fungus gnats, then there is a good chance most of their plants are. The gnat larvae are in the soil and apparently your nursery is using poor quality soil and is also not using proper prevention methods.

I understand a retailer's reluctance to "guarantee" plants once they are out of their control. Someone who purchases a plant (not you!) can do a lot of damage to an otherwise healthy plant in a short time.

As for the lack of care tags, that may be a good thing. Although an ID tag is important, so many any of the care instructions are either misleading or wrong and customers don't realize it. They might be better off asking a knowledgeable employee or doing some research on their own.

So, I am sorry to learn of your breakup. Sad But I am hoping there is a better option in your future. Crossing Fingers!

P.S. Gnats can be treated successfully. Let me know if you want assistance.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Aug 15, 2017 8:54 AM CST
Try sticky flypaper right near the surface of the soil. That will take away the majority of the flying adults and you will see visible results right away.
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Oct 14, 2017 12:22 PM CST
Hey guys. Thank you for the replies. I have been off for so long.
Just know, I had a family ilness that lasted many years and came to a difficult end over the last several months. It's over, and I am trying to remember what I was doing before life interrupted life, the way it does. It feels nice to come here and relax again.

I find that I completely forgot all about most everything. This popped up on my screen today, sigh, I am sorry I have not said thank you. My plants have felt like long lost friends, I have not seen in a while.

Thank you for the replies. I was really on a rant. It was not very positive. I am cranky about the nursery, not so much for the no return policy. If a nursery is selling healthy bug free plants the repetitious tag makes sense. If you are selling plants full of a creepy crawly plague that gets on your meaningful plants at home, telling me I can't return a plant because it has bugs that you gave me takes some balls.

But @WillC, I concede for most nurseries I have to say you are right.

So, @WillC, and @Baja_Costero, what plant matter are you tending to this time of year. Is it a busier time or a slower time? Any new finds you are enjoying? For me, I have been growing some very tiny Sans for a bit over a year now. I had never grown succulents and it was a tough culture for me to get adequate at. I could water a dry plant and find it rotted off the next morning. I wanted to love ones I did not watergate, but I was bored with them. They were lifelessly unchanging until this summer. When pups started coming in, I was delighted, but I had no idea how quickly they would go from centimeters to 10 inches. I get the sans craz now. They are a great plant. Have a great weekend boys.

Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Oct 14, 2017 1:31 PM CST
Laurie - I am sorry for your loss and hope that life will improve for you going forward.

Happy you have found success with your Sans. Recently, I have been doing lots of pruning after the summer growth. It helps the plants transition to the shorter hours of light and will pay off next spring when more rapid growth occurs.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Oct 14, 2017 1:38 PM CST
Yes, it is good to hear from you Laurie. My only Sans has lived by the window for about a decade and in that time never been watered more often than every 3 weeks (the least often of anything here). They really do not need a lot of water indoors.

We are coming into fungus gnat season pretty soon, with less sun and more chance for certain areas to stay wetter than they probably should. I just turn a new leaf of the sticky flypaper when it starts to get annoying and the problem mostly goes away.
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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gasrocks
Oct 14, 2017 2:49 PM CST
Azamax used as a soil drench works great ! I know this for many years of experience. Gene
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Oct 14, 2017 11:45 PM CST
I actually managed to get rid of them, by keeping things quite dry and repotting the new plant.

How tall is your decade old Sans Baja!

WillC, I have a Ficus in need of a careful prune this year, and I am procrastinating it. Whistling

I am getting some Azamax on line on payday, Gene.
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Oct 15, 2017 6:11 AM CST
I think it is more ethical to not guarantee plants. The price of other people's mistakes or lack of knowledge should not be built into the price of all of the plants. This also causes the selection to be much more limited.

Gnats can fly. If there's a pot of moist peat moss anywhere nearby, that is what they will seek. Since I stopped having peat in pots, I also stopped having gnats. Gnats are not a plant pest, they are a soil pest, with a simple and known life cycle that is easy to break. If seeking an organic solution, use a different kind of soil, &/or treat an existing outbreak with BTi added to plant water. No need to have concern for the actual plant or use anything more toxic than that. Popular brand names are Mosquito Bits and Mosquito Dunks.

I would never let gnats stop me from buying a plant I wanted. As soon as I get it home, I would get rid of the old soil, which would also get rid of the gnats.
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Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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gasrocks
Oct 15, 2017 9:20 AM CST
Letting the new soil dry out between watering will kill gnats for sure. However I have some bog plants that have to be kept wet. Tried the Dunks with only a bit of success. Drench the soil with Azamax 100% effective. And yes since they can and do fly, drench other pots as well. Gene
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
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Bonehead
Oct 15, 2017 9:48 AM CST
My condolences as well, Laurie. Keep trying to find a replacement go-to nursery, sometimes smaller ones can be more helpful/informative than larger ones. Do an internet search around your area and make a point to go visit ones that are close by. I'm sure you will find a new favorite soon. I stay far far away from big box stores for plants.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Oct 15, 2017 10:59 AM CST
I'm also a big fan of independent nurseries. I find there's something to learn from each one, and I like to support small independent growers.

This is the Sans I was talking about earlier... looking a little unkempt since I have not removed the offsets lately. This is a tubular-leafed kind, not the ribbon type that is more common around here. That 6 inch pot is its final resting place. The window faces SW. Second shot shows a bird that often hovers in that spot. Smiling

Thumb of 2017-10-15/Baja_Costero/5cb7c7 Thumb of 2017-10-15/Baja_Costero/823cd1

[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Oct 15, 2017 11:06 AM (+)]
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
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purpleinopp
Oct 15, 2017 11:38 AM CST
The closest owner-operated store to me is 2 hours away. I don't get there every year.
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Oct 15, 2017 11:45 AM CST
@Baja_Costero, I have been eyeing that kind of san. Nice. And your'e hilarious. You must have a Mary Poppins touch with the birds.

@purpleinopp. I do agree with you, about the gnats, I had a tough time getting rid of them years ago. but now I see I just did it wrong. It was an easy fix this time.

I am inexperienced with bugs, so if I get Mealys I will be upset..... Spidermites, I am going to have a total fit, but not here, lol.

My point was the irony of being in a nursery selling 4 inch plants for $12.99 all raging with an abundance the the top three bugs in every section in the house plants building, this bug infested place ends the experience with me paying too much and scratching with that feeling something is crawling in my hair. along with a note that basically says the ha ha sucker, it your problem now....But, also; I was jonesing for a nursery fix, and my old haunt was not it anymore. I do think nurseries who are being conscientious need not refund, And I just should not buy from those who are not.

Just be sad for me ok. Rolling on the floor laughing I miss what they use to be Rolling on the floor laughing I must have needed a hug that day. *Blush* WAAWAA Oh I am not going to spew on a forum like that ever again.. he he. I have two nurseries, mom and pops but well liked; to try @Bonehead, What is your favorite nursery . I am up north for my sons and my brother a lot and have gone to several along the highway up there.

Have a great Sunday guys. It is beautiful this morning. I'm gonna put on my winter garden grubs and hunt for the weeds that are no doubt huge after 2 months of being neglected.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Bonehead
Oct 15, 2017 12:02 PM CST
Laurie, my go-to local nursery is Christianson's in the Skagit Valley. Nice open setting (especially in the spring when the daffs or tulips are blooming), knowledgeable folks, decent prices, and the owner is a former beekeeper so is very responsible about his plant sources. Most scenic route is to get off I-5 at Conway and work your way through the valley, stopping at Fir Island farm stand and Rexville Grocery if you have spare time (both interesting and fun). Or, a more direct route is to get off at Kincaid in Mount Vernon, cross the bridge and head west. I had an artist friend advise me once to buy something in bloom every month to bolster your spirit and to also create a well rounded garden. I try to do so.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Herbs Annuals Hummingbirder Butterflies Garden Photography Cactus and Succulents
Birds Cat Lover Houseplants Garden Sages
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gasrocks
Oct 15, 2017 12:14 PM CST
Laurie - Azamax also takes care of mealy bugs, spider mites, etc. etc. etc.
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Oct 15, 2017 8:24 PM CST
You must have some stock Gene! Thumbs up I am excited to try it. It's a big deal on You tube right now too.
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Herbs Annuals Hummingbirder Butterflies Garden Photography Cactus and Succulents
Birds Cat Lover Houseplants Garden Sages
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gasrocks
Oct 15, 2017 9:45 PM CST
No stock just lots and lots of plants crammed together for the winter. I could not do it w/o Azamax. Gene

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