Gardening in Portugal may seem like a gardener’s paradise but my plants are plagued by far more pests and diseases then they ever were in the UK. Or maybe it’s just my garden and the bugs arrive to dine on my plants as they would at a Michelin star restaurant. My six on Saturday for this week (aka SoS and play on words) focus on some of the challenges faced over the last few days, I’d love to hear from anyone who also experiences these problems and how they overcame them. OR if you can suggest any tried-and-tested organic alternatives to insecticides.
1. Madagascar Cactus Palm – a Tale of Woe
I was inspecting my Madagascar Cactus Palm (my pride and joy) when I noticed squatters had moved in. I’d never seen this specie of insect in my garden before, so I had a moment. Were they friend or foe? I posted their mugshot on a couple of cacti and succulent FB groups and after a few false starts we identified it as a Spilostethus pandurus.
In the meantime. I panicked in case the female was laying eggs so I sprayed with a pre-made insecticide. Big mistake! It had no effect on the bugs but the effect on the leaves is devastating.
Eventually, I discovered the red insects were Spilostethus pandurus and unless they were on vegetables where they had a vociferous appetite, the jury is still out if they are friend or foe on this plant.
While I was procrastinating the OH came to the rescue, removed the bugs by hand and they are now in bug heaven.
2. Slugs and Snails
Who knew Slugs and snail liked Kalanchoe. This is the first year they’ve attacked these plants so it came as quite a surprise. I buried some slug pellets at the base of the plants, removed as many snails as I could see (and fed to the birds) then sprayed the leaves with soapy water. Actually, considering the fate of the cactus palm, it is lucky I did not spray these with insecticide.
Apart from soapy water on the leaves please can anyone suggest any other deterrent?
3. Scale Invasion on Crested Eve’s Needle
I am not sure what more I can do to save this plant.
I completely cleaned and repotted it back in July.
Now the scale is back. My fault, I should have kept a closer eye on the plant. Friends say I should throw it away. I can’t.
I have also noticed scale on the Kalanchoe Luciae (Paddle Plant)
Anyone else experience problems with scale and if so how did you eradicate it?
4. Citrus Leaf Miner
The citrus leaf miner is a continual challenge. Because the larvae mine below the surface of the leaf, pesticides and other treatments are mostly ineffective. I don’t spray the tree I remove all the affected leaves by hand.
I’ve just discovered there are traps available to stop the circle of reproduction as they attract the male moth.
I wonder if that or something similar is available in Portugal
5. Problem with Freesia Leaves – Is it fungal?
I researched the RHS website and they do not list this as an issue (as far as I could see).
Come on you garden gurus… any ideas, please?
6. Curly Honeysuckle Leaves
This is a classic example of an unhappy plant. The mother was beautiful. Covered in strong healthy leaves throughout the year with an abundance of flowers as and when. This sickly specimen must have been the runt of the litter. Its leaves are always curled in protest and it hardly produces any flowers. It’s now 7 years old and this year I will cut it back and find it a new home.
That’s my six and my gardening woes for this Saturday. If you would like to join the six on saturday gardeners from all over the world check out the Propagator’s Blog
And PLEASE don’t forget: if you can suggest any organic solutions or otherwise to the above challenges don’t forget to share.