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bird of paradise problem

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2004
by ginnywolbert on August 02, 2004 01:27 PM
Help!! I received a bird of paradise 2 summers ago shipped from Calif. We live in Central New York. I repotted it a few months later. It is growing fast (inside), I used miracle grow potting soil w/vermiculite(sp), also watering once a week with Britta filtered water.
2 months ago I noticed spots all over the plant. I can scrape them off with my nail, cleaned the leaves with damp paper towel. Some of the lower leaves are brownish and gooey. What do I do?
by catlover on August 02, 2004 08:50 PM
Ginny...Welcome to the Garden Helper! [wayey]

It is growing fast (inside),
Does that mean your bop (bird of paradise) is an indoor plant or that it is growing fast on the inner area of the plant? [dunno]
If it is an indoor plant I will move your post to houseplants and we might get an answer sooner!

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by ginnywolbert on August 02, 2004 09:26 PM
The bird of paradise is an inside plant as we have tough winter weather and it would never survive in our climate.
by catlover on August 02, 2004 09:34 PM
Okie Dokie...moving this post to houseplants and we will see if we get a quicker response! [thumb]

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by Nako on August 02, 2004 10:17 PM
Hi! *thinks* i would suggest removing the leaves that are squishy and mushy, as long as they're outside leaves. I'm a lil inexperienced with em, so i'm just gonna do my best to suggest stuff ^.^ Another thing you can do is add bone meal. BOPs seem to love bonemeal, very rich soil, and lotsa humidity. I donno what those spots are though o.O do they have legs? if they have legs, then they're scale bugs.

But ya, BOPs also have a natural covering of stuff over their leaves. So whatcha wana do sometimes is whipe the leaves off with a damp cloth or sponge. Don't use a leaf shining thing though, cuz that could damage it. That's what i read anyway.

Good luck!

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Nako's Webshots!
by Will Creed on August 02, 2004 11:50 PM
Hi Ginny,

It sounds like your Bird has scale insects.

Scale can be hard to detect. When they are young these sucking insects are slightly oval, slightly raised, translucent bumps about an eighth of an inch long. They can be found along stems and on the undersides of leaves. They don't look like bugs and don't appear to move. As they get older, they develop a hard, dark brown shell and look like a small mole. As the infestation increases, these sucking insects will secrete a sticky substance called honeydew that falls onto leaves, furniture and floors. This stickiness is the most obvious sign of scale and the one that most people notice first.

The key to eliminating scale is to treat even the ones that you cannot see. That means thoroughly drenching all leaf and stem surfaces until they are dripping wet. It is also best if you repeat this treatment all over again in 5 to 7 days to catch any crawlers (the translucent young ones) that you missed the first time. After that, you should check your plant weekly to see if they return.

Soap sprays are not as effective as some other treatments because soap doesn't always penetrate the hard outer shell of the scale.

I do not recommend any pesticides because they are all hazardous to use and not 100% effective against scale. The best non-toxic treatment for mealybug and scale is called Brand X Foliage Cleaner. It is available through Southwest Plantscape Products in California ( Their phone is 1-800-333-7977.It is a silicon-based product so it is very slippery. Its ability to penetrate is probably the key to its effectiveness because it gets into the tiny crevices that other sprays miss.

You may want to try spraying with rubbing alcohol that will help break through the hard outer barrier of the scale and kill it. Mix 1 part alcohol with 8 to 10 parts of water. Add a little liquid soap to help it spread.

Be sure to get lots of the alcohol spray down inside the spaces where the leaves are joined to the base.

Good luck!

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