Moldly stuff and tiny bugs

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by parkhurstohana, Jan 7, 2004.

  1. parkhurstohana

    parkhurstohana Member

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    I have posted pictures of my plant under the indentification forum, because I still do not know what it is and therefore I don't know how to treat it.

    However, below are two pictures of the problem - the fuzzy white moldy looking stuff growing in the soil and in the other picture you can see the dried up dead section of stem at the top. All of the plant stems have had sections die and wither up. Quite a few stems have completely died and when I pull them out of the soil they come willingly - there are no roots left.

    I'd like to know for sure what is killing my plant. I found tinny tiny little reddish colored bugs in the soil. And like I said, the roots are gone. Is the moldly white stuff a separate issue or could the bugs be causing it?

    I have an idea that this might be root mealy bugs, but I'm not sure. Can't quite take a picture of them without a microscope. They are so little I didn't see them at all until I stared at the soil for about fifteen minutes and finally the slightest movement caught my eye. I dug in the soil and it seems to be full of them about 1-2 cm down in the soil. I don't know what a mealy bug looks like.

    Any ideas on what I'm dealing with?
    Thanks!
     

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  2. HortLine

    HortLine Active Member 10 Years

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    The plant in your right hand photo looks like an over-watered jade plant grown in inadequate lighting. The jade plant is a Crassula which thrives in drier well-drained soil with very bright light. Poor cultural practices can lead to disease because stressed plants are more vulnerable to infestation and disease.

    You might be able to save the plant by cutting back on the water--in winter a jade plant can go two or three weeks unwatered. Make sure the plant is in bright light. In late February of early March, repot the plant into a good cactus mix and make sure you shake off all the old soil, rotting roots, and soil organisms that are probably living on the rotting tissues and wet organic matter in the soil. You could also take some stem cuttings and root them because succulents like the crassulas root readily. Even one healthy leaf can give rise to a whole new plant!

    If you see white fluffy substance on the stems at the base of the leaves, then the plant also has a mealy bug infestation, and could be treated with a product to eliminate them, preferrably one of the milder, less toxic chemicals permitted by organic methods. In any case be sure to get proper instructions from a knowledgeable preferrably lisenced person.
     
  3. parkhurstohana

    parkhurstohana Member

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    Thanks

    The plant has been identified as an elephant bush (common name) orgin: Africa. It is not in the crassula family (although I thought so, too).

    I have a Jade plant (very healthy) and with both plants side-by-side it is easy to see the difference. I know it is much harder from the pictures!

    I do agree that the problem is root mealy bugs. I have already unpotted the plant and cleaned the roots in preparation for a new pot and new (better - sandy) soil. I know that this is the middle of winter, but something had to be done.

    Thank you again!
     

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