1. Home
Kerry Michaels

Container Gardening Resurrection

By February 6, 2012

Follow me on:

I have long been a proponent of tossing plants that are near death or look awful. However, my recent experiences are making me rethink this approach. After declaring my Meyer lemon tree a dead duck, it rebounded exhuberantly. Now my fig tree which has been looking near death for months, has three of the most beautiful new leaves and has even put out two figs on an otherwise completely bald plant.

I'm still struggling with a spider mite infestation which no amount of insecticidal soap will seem to quell. Sometimes I just want to toss all of the stricken plants, but I truly love several of them and they are worth fighting for.

While I am still in favor of tossing any plant that makes you unhappy, either because it looks awful or you just don't like it, I'm thinking that it's worth a lot of effort to resurrect a plant that you thought was beyond hope.


February 8, 2012 at 5:48 pm
(1) Sukhmandir Kaur says:

I’ve found spider mites and scale nearly impossible to get rid of. I’ve had them hitch hike in apparently from a nursery and then spread to other plants. Scale isn’t just bad for the plant it also makes a sticky mess on the floor. Check plants thoroughly before purchase, or put them in quarantine to be sure you don’t bring home anything that can affect other plants.

February 8, 2012 at 5:55 pm
(2) Kerry says:

Sukhmandir – You are so right! Great point about quarantining plants. I don’t know how I got the mites, but they are tenacious little buggers. Just bought some Neem oil spray. Fingers are crossed.

February 17, 2012 at 2:08 pm
(3) Jean says:

Does soap and water kill the mites and scales?

February 17, 2012 at 2:19 pm
(4) Kerry says:

Hi Jean – I’ve been using insecticidal soap that I bought. So far it hasn’t worked too well. I’ve moved on to Neem oil soap. I hope it works, because my plants are looking a little peaked from battling these mites.

February 18, 2012 at 7:19 am
(5) Jim Harden says:

Re: pests, mites and scale
Save your left over coffee and grounds or get some from grounds free at Starbucks.
Directions: Make more coffee with hot water & grounds. Cool and spray liquid over plants. Dump or pour grounds all over you plants.
The grounds leach more caffiene into the soil with watering
Caffiene does not posion the pests, it paralizes them.
I sucessfully treated more than 200 Sago Palms for white scale
It killsthe mites on the plants roots.
It works for all sorts of plants including pepper plants.

Jim Harden in North florida

February 18, 2012 at 9:59 am
(6) Kerry says:

Hi Jim – Thanks for the suggestion! I’ve never heard of that remedy, but I will try it and let you know how it goes. I’ve heard of mixing coffee grounds into compost for fertilizer, but never for getting rid of mites and scale.

February 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm
(7) raleigh says:

caffiene works, also a strained solution of citrus and garlic from a blender; thin it w/ water depending on plants’ sensitivity, add to an organic spreader-sticker and spray from bottom-up…persistence is the key. also apply by hand as each plant is cared for.

February 20, 2012 at 10:06 am
(8) Kerry says:

Thanks Raleigh! I love all of these suggestions. I’m feeling empowered to fight the mites.

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.