Thursday, September 10, 2015

See the pretty white butterflies...........argh!

Hello September! I always look at September as being the end of summer (even though temps have been in the low 90’s/high 80’s) and the end of gardening. Some may gasp and say, “What? There’s lots of gardening left to do.” Yes, I know.

My cynicism comes from the awful look of many of my plants. 
This is one of the many pots of beautiful impatiens I have on my deck. The colors I got are just gorgeous, especially the lavender ones which you don't find in the stores too often. I always throw in white flowers when I plant a mix together because they seem to make all the gorgeous colors "pop" (to use a hackneyed or over-used expression!). 

      Here is a large pot I filled with impatiens and a matching coleus, along with white vinca and a piece of woodland fern I stuck in the pot some years ago.  I just love how the impatiens flows over the side of the pot.

 AND here is the pot a few days - the next day? - later Well it shows how much the fern has actually grown.....
Another photo of the healthy pot. See that darling solar light (watering can I got at CVS when I took a trip to Fenwick Island Delaware this past Spring)

I’ve only really planted impatiens and coleus to any great extent. They have been my favorites forever. But the white flies/moths/whatever have done their dirty little deeds on the coleus plants and now they look sad.

Did you know that coleus was named the Annual of the Year by the National Gardening Association?

Trying to find out what's eating your plants is about the most difficult and frustrating part of gardening. The real problem is when one day you have gorgeous pots and the next day you have sticks like what happened in my pot above. When researching, there were so many options as to what might have 'et my coleus. But here's the thing: A lot of the suggestions were regarding those plants that were in the ground. These are in containers OFF the ground. Now, that doesn't mean that slugs are not in this large pot, because it has sat on the ground for the past five years up until this summer.  The creepy slimy crawlies can make their way right up through the dirt to munch on roots and leaves. I haven't seen slugs, but I have seen two things: webs, and there seems to be an over-abundance of white moth-like creatures flying around. I have a feeling these are the voracious little culprits.
Whitfely is a sucker of plant juices. I think the above plant (right next to my big pot) is a good example of sucking damage. What I don't get is how the critters damaged a huge coleus in one or two days, although I've seen tomato worms work this way.
Here's a great article on whitefly from the Master Gardener Program at the university of California Ventura County

Annie's Tips: If your plants are in pots on the ground, creepy crawlies can make their way through the drainage holes and up to attack the plants. Place your pots on saucers or something that will protect them from the critters!
I vow that next year I will win the battle of the predator that is sucking the life juices out of my flowers! How do you protect your plants?

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