Last month we covered pruning and maintaining plants after the winter months. With spring well underway, we are now facing a bug invasion! The problem with bugs is that they enjoy this lovely weather as much as we do. However, since moving from a wooden to an aluminium Marston & Langinger conservatory, I have found that the population has decreased considerably.
How to deal with BUGS on your conservatory plants
You should start with the mealy bugs. By far the best way (but you need patience) is to check every plant, and using a fine brush dipped in methylated spirits, carefully paint all the fluffy white wax deposits. The mealy bugs are hidden from view in these cosy little wax apartments. To be doubly sure, you can also spray the little brutes with an appropriate and reputable insecticide, preferably organic.
Another challenge, and one that you need to spot early on, is the dreaded whitefly and greenfly invasion. They mostly squat under the leaves. As whitefly spend most of the day airborne, I find the best time to spray both types is late in the evening, with the same insecticide that you use for mealy bugs. This chemical warfare (as my husband calls it) should really be waged all year round. As a reinforcement in late spring, those sticky yellow strips can inflict a sticky end to those aerobatic whitefly.
As a last resort you could try a team of predators; available on line with suitable instructions. I’ve had some great results from these hungry little people when all else is failing.
Quick tips on WATERING and VENTILATION
Watering conservatory plants is an ART and not a science. My approach to this is pretty simple, but seems to results in a spectacular display each year. I keep a daily watch (and feel) on the soil pot – EVERY DAY. There’s no getting out of this. How would you feel if you were sitting under glass all day without a drink in the bright sunshine?
At this time of year, you should also keep a careful eye on VENTILATION, as we approach (we hope) a warm summer. The aluminium roof vents and top-hinged side windows on my Marston & Langinger conservatory do a brilliant jobs. Automatic, thermostatically-controlled ventilation systems are a great help for people leading busy lives.
Producing the “WOW!” factor in your conservatory
I’ve got some important tips on this, which I’ll share with you next month.
Good luck with those bugs and don’t forget to keep a daily eye out for dry pots.