Ask a Question forum: Houseplants sickly

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Lakewood/Denver, CO (Zone 5a)
Cristelv
Jul 14, 2018 12:35 PM CST
Hello,
I'll start by saying that my small front growing space was taken over/decimated by some unknown combination of bugs. The Aphids ate and destroyed all/most of my Stonecrop/Sedum. Salvia family, tall grasses, lilac, yarrow, Artemisia, Clematis (was touch and go), Moonbeam Coreopsis were untouched...??
I don't know if Thrips were involved but I have seen a small, slender, light green grasshopper looking bug with clear wings out there. The Aphids were black-very odd to me.
I have now cut all Sedum leaves/stems back to ground level. ☹️
I bought some new plants-Daisy, Dahlias, Rudbeckia, Petunia, Spirea, burning bush and they are going south. But, new Delphinium, Columbine, Irises seem fine...??
Not sure if related-but 2 factors: left window with screen open one day And added 2 New Houseplants.

My Beautiful Healthy Hoya and Orchid Cactus went south FAST! O Cactus showed Mealybug white stuff, Hoya just went wilty and Died. Now Philodendron wilty , some are white dots/Mealybugs and some have NO signs at all.

What is best method or YOUR way to keep house plants healthy and Bug Free???

Thanks!
Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
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JuneOntario
Jul 14, 2018 2:48 PM CST
The first thing I do when I bring home a new houseplant is spray it with insecticide and keep it away from the rest of my houseplants until I am sure it is bug-free!

Mealybugs, you can remove with a Q-tip dipped in medical alcohol.

Outdoors, spray aphid-infested plants with soapy water. Indoors, use a houseplant-rated insecticide that will kill aphids, white-fly, and spider-mites (and apply again after 7 days).

The wilting plants may have some root problems. Make sure the soil is draining freely, not waterlogged.



Name: Christine
Saugerties, NY zone 5a
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Christine
Jul 14, 2018 7:02 PM CST
I have been buying my plants from the same nursery for over 15 years, they have their own greenhouse's and guarantee their plants, I have never had a sickly plant from them.
Lakewood/Denver, CO (Zone 5a)
Cristelv
Jul 15, 2018 8:49 PM CST
Thanks!
Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Jul 16, 2018 4:38 AM CST
Aphids can be black, nothing unusual there.
The slender grass green insect is a Katydid, not a thrip. Thrips are extremely small.
Weakened, sickly plants are less able to fend off attack from various insects and diseases. You did not provide much information regarding your growing area, the amount of sunlight, is it east or west, how much water, soil and the spacing of plants.
I would hazard a guess that inconsistent watering practices and light issues weakened the plants in general and the plants became stressed to the point where insects started to appear.
“The only stupid question is the one that is never asked!”
[Last edited by BigBill - Jul 16, 2018 4:39 AM (+)]
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Lakewood/Denver, CO (Zone 5a)
Cristelv
Jul 16, 2018 9:02 PM CST
Sorry BigBill, I'll give you more details about the outdoor issue. I am in Zone 5 in Colorado. The area is quite small and I try to only plant drought proof plants due to Colorado conditions. The Dragons Blood Sedum that was severely attacked/damaged is rarely watered and it does great. It's well established, almost 10 years now. The area is on the West side of building and it's been unpredictable weather lately, but mostly Super HOT, 90+ degrees. Yuk. They do not receive much water. They get rain and hand watered every 2 weeks.
The area is full sun on West side, in between a parking lot and a brick building =Hot!
Soil started out very poor but every year I add more and better soil to improve it.
The Sedum, Stonecrop(main victims), Salvia, Hardy Pampas Grass, Lilacs, Artemisia, and Clematis are my perennials.
I also do some annuals in containers.
I'm wondering if some annuals from last year (when some of problems started) had bugs that overwintered and had a feast this year....
I usually stay natural for pests.
I've been reading about the Crassula plant family and not sure what chemicals would kill my Sedum/Stonecrop. I'm looking at using Neem, Dr Brommers with red pepper, Spinosad, Sulfur dust or Malathion.
Any input or experiences with these solutions would be appreciated!
Thanks!
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jul 17, 2018 5:53 AM CST
When you say the plants were eaten/destroyed, can you describe the symptoms? Neither aphids nor thrips actually "eat" plant tissue, they drink plant juices. So if bits of plants are actually missing, then it is something else.
Lakewood/Denver, CO (Zone 5a)
Cristelv
Jul 17, 2018 11:16 AM CST
Hi Sooby
The le leaves May have been sucked dry and then burnt by the sun into crispy shreds that fell off.?
All that remains is the main stem—looking intact.
I have now cut all green growth on them to the ground in the hopes of getting bugs to leave.

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