Spider mites and garden centres

Unfortunately, my croton did not survive. I couldn’t rid it of the spider mites and eventually (after a number of tries) we had to move it to the conservatory for fear that there’d be spider mites wandering around my kitchen. From there, it was even more neglected. It lost all its leaves and gave up.

I didn’t even want to recycle the soil, so I had to put it in the bin. I’m not quite sure where spider mites live, but if it’s within the soil I don’t want to put that in my recycling bin nor my garden compost.

I have a small shrub in my office whose flowers had begun to wilt faster than I expected. I used the “Picture This” app to see if it could tell me if I’d over or underwatered it. Turns out, it was dying because of the small, white bugs which had made its home on the leaves. (I was quite impressed that the application spotted this, as I didn’t with my own eyes.)

I Google around for how these bugs managed to get into my house and office. Both parasites seem to come from the same place: they probably came from the shop with them already. Eggs, babies, or just well hidden and in small number. It’s not likely that a pregnant spider mite found my kitchen and the single plant that they’re interested in in there.

This has sort of put me off growing potted plants. However, croton seeds are purchased by the 100g increment an cost £15 for them. I just want one seed…

Rehabilitation for Aloe Vera

There were two aloe vera plants in my office just wasting away. I popped a message on the company chat asking who they belong to; a fellow that left almost a year before, so no wonder they were looking worse for wear. I declared that I was taking them, conspicuously enough that I felt like it wasn’t theft anymore.

Now, my only thinking that they’re of the vera variety is that whilst I was lugging one of them back home on the train, one woman said loudly to her husband, “is that an aloe vera?” And I immediately stopped and turned to quiz them. “Well, is it?”

I’m afraid I didn’t take photos of them on arrival. So I’ve no good pictures to show of that. However, lots of the ends were brown and dehydrated. One of them had definitely been overwatered by someone with about as much aloe experience as I have; the soil was sopping.

I allowed the plant sodden plant to dry off in the sun for a day before returning it to its pot. With both of them, I’ve chopped off the brown bits. I didn’t do this on any advice, I just figured a dead bit can’t be helping the plant.

The above all happened a couple of weeks ago.

This weekend I took another look at them. Unfortunately, because I didn’t take photos of them after my lopping I don’t know if the brown pictured is new or not. Nonetheless, I took my trusty scissors to the brown parts again. I also rechecked the roots; Pebbles looks okay, but No Pebbles (the one that was sodden, in fact) definitely has some root rot.

I’m not sure if there are next steps I should take, other than leaving them to see if the deterioration worsens. If it does, I might try changing them from their current soil to a soil with sand or perlite which it might prefer.

I just realised that I’ve once again not taken any decent photos of the plants after cutting them! I’ll add them tomorrow.

A beautiful and discovered plant

I know everyone was eagerly awaiting the update to what the mysterious plant was that I was curious about previously.

Well, within moments our family was able to figure it out. Tim’s mum and aunt very quickly pointed out that it is a croton. A collegue of mine was able to figure it out the next day by Googling “plant with green and red leaves”, but sometimes the most obvious key words don’t come to you.

Alongside some rather pale basil, which is probably a topic for another blog post.

Armed with this information, I’ve moved the plant to the window sill which gets light all day. I’ve also started only watering it when the top soil is dry, and then watering it thouroughly (allowing the excess water to drain, not sit).

I’ll also have to look into buying a spray water dispenser, as it apparently likes humidity. Maybe being sprayed with water will trick it into thinking it’s humid.

A beautiful and unknown plant…

A quick trip into a garden centre “just to look around” meant us leaving with quite a lot of things. One of the things was this plant.

Unfortunately, we’ve no idea what it is. I’ve been watering it when it looks dry – but that might be too much or not enough.

It was skinny and curly like this when we bought it, so I’m assuming this is how it’s supposed to be. It’s such an impressive plant – not quite like anything I’ve seen before.

It seems to have lost its label along the way back home.

If anyone knows, it’d be great to be able to look it up!