Ask the Master Gardener: Aphids, mites can be a problem for hibiscus plants – Brainerd Dispatch

dear master gardener: I planted a hibiscus on my patio last summer and brought it over for the winter. Now it has little specks all over it and it’s moving so I think it has some kind of vermin. What should I do?

answer: Aphids are the most common insect problem for hibiscus plants, with spider mites a close second. Aphids typically colonize the undersides of leaves, near the top of stems, and/or on and around flower buds. Not only are they easy to see, they also leave obvious signs of nectar, the sticky substance they excrete. Treat the plant soil with a systemic insecticide. Keep the leaves clean by washing them regularly. Kill the hibiscus with an insecticidal soap or gardening oil that you use for hibiscus.

dear master gardener: I was given Gloxinia as a gift while I was in the hospital. It blooms for a long time, but do you throw it away after blooming?

answer: Florist Gloxinia (Sinningia) is a hybrid often grown as a pot houseplant. They are bred to quickly produce lots of flowers that last about two months. It is a close relative of the African violet and is very beautiful. Its ovate velvety leaves arise from the tuber and form a basal rosette. Plants need bright light, but not direct sunlight and constant moisture. Don’t let the plant get soggy, and don’t let the hairy leaves and tubers get wet. Otherwise, it may rot. If your gloxinia stops flowering it may not come back as it has invested all its energy in those gorgeous flowers. Please stop watering on The tubers are then kept in pots of soil in a cool, dark place until new growth is seen. barely covered). Place the pot in a warm, well-lit area and give it just enough water to moisten the vermiculite.

  • Living evergreens and ornaments are a fire hazard when dry. As soon as it looks dry, remove it. Additionally, they often harbor spider mite eggs that hatch in warm indoor conditions and are inadvertently transferred to houseplants.
  • Check your houseplants for signs of insects or spider mites. They thrive in our heated, dry homes. Look for fine webs, discolored leaves, cottony tufts, or shiny, sticky patches on the leaves. If so, you may be able to get rid of it by simply washing the leaves.
  • To increase your chances of harvesting fruit from citrus grown indoors (there are no pollinators present), use a cotton swab to dab the pollen from the anther to the stigma of the flower, or gently shake the flower to remove the pollen. disperse the
  • By arranging the houseplants in groups, they provide more humidity to the houseplants. Each plant releases moisture through its leaves, creating more humidity in the area. A room or furnace humidifier can also help.
  • Keep indoor plants clean by wiping the leaves with a soft, damp rag. This enhances the photosynthetic process in plants.
  • Add color to your home with low maintenance Phalaenopsis (Phalaenopsis). The flowers last his 6-8 weeks and can be easily flowered each year.
  • Enjoy the amaryllis bulbs in full bloom. Pluck the flowers as they fade, making sure to remove the ovary behind the petals. Water whenever the soil feels dry just below the surface. Fertilize in about 6 weeks. Keep the plant in the sunniest window until next summer when it’s safe to move it outside.
  • Keep your poinsettias looking their best for months by watering the soil as soon as the surface feels dry. Prune in early summer and move outdoors during the summer or place on a sunny windowsill all year round.
  • Check rabbit enclosures around trees and shrubs to make sure they are well above the snow line. If necessary, wire another row to the existing fence to extend it. Fruit trees in particular need protection from rabbits, mice, voles and other bark-gnawing animals.
  • Prune cankers and fungal bumps, such as black knots on plum and cherry trees. Make an incision at the confluence of branches just above the lateral buds or 10 to 12 inches below the site of infection. Pruning in subzero temperatures reduces the chance of reinfection.
  • Spread sand or kitty litter on frozen sidewalks instead of commercial ice-melting chemicals. Runoff from deicers contaminates groundwater, the source of most Minnesotans’ drinking water. Large amounts of chloride are detrimental to lakes and waterways and are toxic to fish, aquatic insects and amphibians. Deicing salts can harm plants and eventually kill them.
  • Order your seeds early for the best selection. Some flower species need an early start indoors to make the plants large enough to be transplanted into the garden next spring. Now is the time to order pansy seeds and start under the lights by mid-February. Most other flowering annuals only need 8 weeks of head start.
  • Flower arrangements and cut flower bouquets will last longer if you keep them in a cool place out of direct sunlight and keep the water fresh.

Call the new Master Gardener Helpline at 218-824-1068 and leave a message to get answers to your gardening questions. A master gardener will return your call. Or send an email to If space permits, I will answer in a column.

University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners are trained and certified volunteers at the University of Minnesota Extension. The information in this column is based on university research.

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