Despite owning a Marston & Langinger conservatory, I thought I’d got the bug problem sorted…no such luck; mealybugs are persistent, especially where my bougainvillea’s are concerned.
Detecting and Managing Mealybugs
Mealybugs are a common indoor pest. It’s important to be vigilant as they cause damage by sucking the juice from their host plants. Over time the damage will cause the leaves to yellow and eventually drop from the plant.
The best method for detecting mealybugs is by visual inspection. They appear on the inside of leaves, especially on the lower branches, tending to favour the stems and leaf nodes.
They can do untold damage if left, so pest management is vital.
- Carefully inspect new plants before introducing them into your home, this is the best way to prevent an infestation.
- Prevent new infestations by quarantining your infected plant for two to three weeks.
- Remove the mealybugs manually. I use SB Plant Invigorator, a natural product available from a wide range of horticultural suppliers, to spray the leaves. Keep spraying them regularly, but avoid doing so during the day when the leaves will be easily scolded.
Maintaining your conservatory this summer
To make the most of enjoying your conservatory throughout the warm weather, I recommend keeping your structure well ventilated. If you have an overhead fan, be sure to keep it on throughout the middle of the day. Open the windows and the doors to let the fresh air in and maximise the ventilation opportunities that have been incorporated into the design of your structure.
Spend time tending to your plants, keep taking cuttings while the weather is warm and water them when the soil is dry to touch. My favourite to take cuttings from are geraniums, fuchsias and plectranthus as they are all very rewarding with flowers almost all year round and requiring little attention.