From the Digest

Plant Care

Fungus Gnats

By Barbara Rengers – This year, I’ve been having problems with fungus gnats. Is this from the area in which I live, the mix I purchased or something else I’ve done? I’m not sure, but I am sure that I will be going after them vigorously. Fungus gnats are little hopping bugs you see when you water. They have black or gray bodies …

Read More »

Drainage – Bajadas

By Joe Merkelbach – One of the primary concerns in successfully growing cacti and succulents is providing rapid drainage of water. We generally accomplish this goal in culture with coarse-grained mixtures of growing media – whether perlite, dynarock, rice hulls or other components. These send water through the root zone …

Read More »

Photo

Seasonal Shift – Plan Before Moving Plants Outdoors

Photo

By David Wolfe – “Plants are like people,” Mike Hellmann said in his March 2008 meeting handout. “They don’t always respond well to sudden changes and new situations.” But patience and planning can help limit problems as Midwestern cactus and succulent owners move their plants outside for spring. In “Acclimating Your …

Read More »

Fungus Gnats

By Joe Merkelbach – Fungus gnats are more nuisances than actual threats to houseplants, including cacti and succulents. The small, 1/16- to 1/4-inch, dark insects with black to gray wings are members of the order Diptera and the family Scairidae. They have an affinity for houseplant media, a short life cycle and an omnivorous …

Read More »

Mealybugs

By Joe Merkelbach – Mealybugs are probably not the most injurious pests to afflict cacti and succulent collections, but they can be among the most frustrating and irritating. Mealies are members of the Hemiptera order of “true” bugs, which is characterized by gradual development without major form changes, as opposed …

Read More »

Spider Mites

By Joe Merkelbach – Spider mites are pests with a serious reputation as harmful to many varieties of plant life. In fact, there is opinion that they are the single most harmful plant pest. Spider mites are actually not insects, but more closely related to spiders, as indicated by their eight legs and ability to weave …

Read More »

Photo

Pillbugs

Photo

By Joe Merkelbach – Pillbugs – or sowbugs, roly-polys, woodlice or potato bugs in some parts of the country – are commonly seen critters whenever plants and pots that have been outside for warm weather are picked up to be moved back indoors. The bugs like the cool, humid, dark conditions beneath pots and other objects, …

Read More »

Photo

Coddle Your Plants Through Winter

Photo

By Mike Hellmann – This is my 19th year of overwintering succulent plants. Even though this is my third year with a greenhouse, I still have many plants in the basement and throughout all levels of the house. There are a few key points to remember when preparing to limp your plants through the winter. First is to grow them well …

Read More »