Saturday, June 8, 2013

More on plants - saving an invested plant

I have loads of pests on my balcony, slugs, thrips, aphids and what not. I'm doing my utter best to get healthy plants, but as a city gardener, my options are limited. I can't always plant different species next to each other to help each other. So I thought I'd share some of my tips and tricks and experiments. This time: an experiment.

My once beautiful rosemary wasn't looking so beautiful anymore... It's green leaves had developed yellow spots as you can see. Not very edible looking... On closer investigation I found thrips! These are tiny flying bugs, who live on sucking your plant empty. They can be hard to spot, but I managed to photograph an adult, see below. I think the larvae live on the underside of the leaves and the adult on both sides. 

Since yellow leaves won't turn green again, I made up the next plan: I would try to grow new plants from cuttings. This I have done before, with 50% success (1 cutting died, the other one is growing into a beautiful plant!). So I cut all the healthy looking tops, removed the lower leaves and stuck them in water. I checked every cutting at least two times in case there were any thrips left on them. 

With a bit of luck and time the stems will grow tiny little roots. It took quite a lot of time the first time, but now it's summer, so I expect quicker growth. When tiny roots appear I stick them in the ground and hope for the best. It is important to refresh the water at least twice a week. Also make sure none of the leaves are in the water, just the stems. 

As for the rest of the plant: I cut it down! All the way to the ground. I kept the stump in the ground, as an extra chance for the plant to regrow. I put the cuttings in a plastic bag, so hopefully the thrips didn't fly to my other plants. I keep checking them a lot and squeezing any of those buggers when I see them. 

I'll keep you updated on any growth or death

p.s. can you see my nailpolish matching my balcony floor?!

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