The Garden Helper

Helping Gardeners Grow Their Dreams since 1997.

No-dash-here, you've found The Real Garden Helper! Gardening on the Web since 1997

Rubbing alcohol?....

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2005
« Prev thread: Rubberplants| Next thread: rubertree plant »
Back to Thread index
by plantlady19 on March 07, 2005 07:47 PM
Several sources I've consulted suggest the use of a dilute rubbing alcohol spray to get rid of piercing/sucking insects, such as aphids and soft scale. [teacher] I'd love to hear some opinions on this before I try it, but time is of the essense. [Wink] Several of my ferns are down right infested. Also, since ferns live in humid enviroments, they have very thin cuticles on their leaves. What kind of impact will this have on their reaction to the isopropyl alcohol? [dunno] Any help is appreciated.

* * * *
Rule like a Goddess.
Command like a queen.
Work like a slave.
by Amy R. on March 13, 2005 06:21 AM
I personally wouldn't suggest using a spray of rubbing alcohol on your infected plants. What I have read is that you dip a Q-tip in rubbing alcohol and dot each and every pest. Which in my opinion, if you have a severe infestation, would be nearly impossible.
There are other means of eradication, that might be easier on your ferns, especially if it is just aphids. Don't know about the scale though. One is simply spraying the affected areas with soapy water, the other would be something like Safer which you can purchase at your local nursery. Although I don't know if that's kosher for ferns. Oh no! Now I've talked myself into a corner. Help someone, help!
by Cricket on March 13, 2005 06:28 AM
I have used an alcohol spray (1 pt alcohol to 8 pts water) to kill scale. It helps for awhile but they keep coming back!
by weezie13 on March 13, 2005 06:56 AM
I was going to reply on this,
but thought I should wait for some other

I had scale on one of my plants, a Schefflera.....

I had tried the alcohol, never seemed to work for me??
Did it with the Q~tip, so, I wasn't sure how to answer, really??

But I just ended up hand cleaning them off,
really dilegantly...every so many days, weeks,
I check the plant, and wipe away the new baby green scales, eventually I got them all....

Not sure if that's a convential method, but
I didn't know what else to do at the time....


* * * *

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

by Will Creed on March 13, 2005 10:51 PM
Let me see if I can help the lovely Amy out of the corner.

Treating scale insects on ferns is tricky because many ferns are particularly sensitive to handling and to any chemicals, including soap and alcohol. In addition, many ferns produce spores that look a lot like brown scale.

If you have a Boston fern, then I suggest cutting off all of the folige at the soil line - a real crewcut. Discard all the infested foliage and drench the soil with Merit or Marathon if you can find it. Otherwise, don't worry about it. New growth will soon emerge as long as the roots are healthy.

If you have a maidenhair fern, it is too fragile to treat so write it off on your tax return - due in a month, BTW.

For most other ferns decide how valuable it is to you. If it doesn't pass the "I must save this plant" test, then discard it.

If you have any ferns left at this point, then its time for a drink - rubbing alcohol diluted in water at a 1:8 ratio with a dash of liquid soap. After drinking that, you will be willing to discard all of your plants!

Just kidding. Spray that concoction on all leaf and stem surfaces of your infested ferns until they are dripping wet. Complete coverage is essential to success because the juvenile scales are virtually invisible and if you miss a few, they will grow up and show up as adults in a copuple of weeks.

A note of caution: Both soap (especially Safer's) and alcohol have a drying effect and that is not good for ferns. So you are taking a chance with this dilute spray, but then what alternative do you have?

Good luck!
by plantlady19 on March 14, 2005 01:37 AM
I suppose I should have specified. I have scale on an umbrella palm, and aphids and...shoot! I can't remember what they are called. It'll come back to me, but that is just gonna bug me for ever. Pardon the pun.
But anyway, as I was saying, I have aphids and the "fuzzy white buggies" on my ferns. Does this info make any difference?

* * * *
Rule like a Goddess.
Command like a queen.
Work like a slave.
by Will Creed on March 15, 2005 04:34 AM
Mealybugs (the fuzzy white things) can be treated the same way as scale insects. Aphids can be treated with a plain soap spray. As always, thorough coverage is essential.


Active Garden Forum

« Prev thread: Rubberplants| Next thread: rubertree plant »
Back to Thread index

Search The Garden Helper: