Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Scales on our spiderplants

Things go wrong here at Pathway, but that is how it goes everywhere. Over the years our two biggest pest problems in my classroom have been fungus gnats and scale insects. Could be far worse for neither will kill a plant quickly and both can be taken care of with low level pest management techniques.

This week I chose to repot the spider plants and pot up some of the spiderettes. Scale insects favor those stems that connect the mother plant to the new plant (sorry no disgusting photos were taken of those infested stems). By cutting them off at the base, then snipping off the young plant, we could toss the stem and be rid of most of the pests in that matter. Here are a few of the young ones which got potted ...



As for the pests that lingered. The small plants will get sprayed with some organic pesticide before I leave for the day. The larger plants will get wiped down with rubbing alcohol.
We still have two plants to divide and pot. Hopefully I will bring my camera to get some photos.

UPDATE... I handed my camera to a student and said, "Take lots of photos." Here is the best action shot, which shows team work. One student holds the leaves as another student digs up potting soil...



Spider plants Chlorophytum comosum have thick fleshy roots and I still remember being shocked the first time I removed one from a pot and saw the roots. Now I look forward to students having the same experience.




Points go to the student who was curious enough to ask to see what the insides looked like. Texture reminded me a bit like a radish.

At the end of the day, I was proud of the work we had done dividing the larger plants...


4 comments:

Kylee said...

The roots remind me of those of the asparagus fern. Waxy, almost.

We live with fungus gnats year round at our house, but they're more prevalent in the winter, when we have 175+ houseplants (many are just overwintering). They're not a huge problem, but they're ever-present.

Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog. That way I discovered yours! :-)

Wayne Stratz said...

Kylee--- I once had a student claim he passed gas because he swallowed a fungus gnat. It led to much hilarity in my classroom. I tend to invest in some beneficial nematodes when the gnat population explodes.

Kylee said...

And would this be an economically feasible solution when one has as many plants as I do?

Those kids - they are funny, aren't they? :-)

Wayne Stratz said...

I think it would be feasible. I will get info to you about where I ordered them from in the not too distant future. We have quite a few plants in my classroom.