Sunday, January 9, 2011

Whiteflies and Impatiens

Aaaargh!  Watering plants on my front living room window sill this afternoon, I found a very suspicious, heart sinking sight....these tiny white oval things.

The dreaded whiteflies have struck.

I had them once before, a couple of years ago.  Several years ago, I had an outpatient procedure and a friend of mine very nicely got me a kalanchoe plant as a "get well soon" gift.  Softharded as I am, I kept the plant after it stopped blooming.  I had it, oh, a couple of years.  It grew but never bloomed again.

One day, the whiteflies came.  I didn't know what they were at first but (ha ha) I soon found out.  I did manage to keep other plants from becoming infested.  I since found out that kalanchoes are very prone to these pests.  So a year or so ago, after a neighbor had surgery, got one of these plants, didn't want to take care of it, and gave it to me, I kept it until it finished with its blooming...then put it outside (it was late summer) and finally let the frost claim it.

Well, this time, the pests have appeared on several impatien plants I had potted up for the winter. (How do I do that?  Simple, impatiens root very easily in water.  I take promising cuttings when the first frost is predicted, and if they root, I plant them and keep in a pot on a north windowstill.  They will even bloom for me, but not as nicely as they do outdoors.  I don't try to keep the actual outdoor plants through the winter, I have done that but find the cutting method works better.)  And, it also infested two plants next to it - one a plant I call a Charlie plant because someone called Charlie I met at the Ithaca Art Trail event in October gave me a cutting.  I have no idea what the plant is, but it does nicely on the north windowsill, especially if you take new cuttings each fall. These root nicely in water, too.

So what am I going to try to do?  The same thing that worked last time (after I got rid of the infested kalanchoe) to save plants neighboring the infested plant.  Luckily I had some insecticidal soap in the house, and spouse nicely mixed a small batch for me.  This is the first line of defense.

I hope it works.

This is the first time my Charlie plant, or my impatiens, have gotten whiteflies. It's always "something".

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