Checking houseplants for pests

GARDEN Q&A

Garden Q&A

October 01, 2005|By JON TRAUNFELD AND ELLEN NIBALI | JON TRAUNFELD AND ELLEN NIBALI,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

I brought my peace lilies indoors weeks ago for the winter, and now their young leaves have holes in them. I see webbing in the plant base and slime stuff as well. I can't find what is doing the munching.

Examine houseplants carefully before bringing them indoors. A sharp water spray helps dislodge many potential pests such as mites. Your peace lilies likely harbor slugs. Slugs hide in soil and leaf litter and come out at night to feed, leaving slime behind. Try the usual slug control methods, such as a small dish of beer to drown them or an empty grapefruit half, which provides a dark, moist hiding place to lure them so you can catch them. Read our publications, "Slugs" or "IPM: Houseplants."

Checklist

Keep seeds and fertilizers stored in metal containers with tight-fitting lids.

Purchase garlic bulbs from a reputable source for planting this fall.

Jon Traunfeld, regional specialist, and Ellen Nibali, horticulture consultant, work at Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center, which offers Maryland residents free gardening information. Call the center's 'hotline' at 800-342-2507 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.) or e-mail plant and pest questions through the Send a Question feature at hgic.umd.edu.

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