Friday, October 16, 2009

Blooming in the Bathtub

Yesterday, I went to check on my four tropical Hibiscus plants (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis), and I discovered to my chagrin, that my peach-flowered plant had aphids. I immediately removed them all from their spots in the window and brought them to my bathtub, where I sprayed them liberally with a soapy water solution. Even though only one showed signs of infestation, they are grouped close together, so I knew I had to treat all four. I decided to let them stay there overnight, and I would rinse them with clear water in the morning before returning them to the window.

So this morning I enter the bathroom, and I'm greeted with three out of the four in bloom:

Apparently being sprayed down with soap and being kept in total darkness for several hours is no deterrent to them putting on a cheerful show.

Here are a couple of closeups:

Interestingly enough, the orange highlights on the second flower are not visible to the naked eye, at least not my naked eyes. They only show up in photographs. In person this plant's blooms always appear to be a plain bright red.

I do have an Hibiscus with orange flowers; that is the one that didn't bloom, though it does have buds. Maybe tomorrow.

And for what it's worth, I don't find aphids as easy to eliminate as some folks say. A strong spray of water won't do it. Soap, either dish or insecticidal, works, though it usually takes repeated treatments. Occasionally, I follow-up with a systemic insecticide in the soil.


mr_subjunctive said...

Aphids do appear to be harder to eliminate on Hibiscus than other plants, or maybe are just more strongly attracted to it in the first place. I don't know. I would still, given the choice, rather have five aphid infestations than one mealybug one.

I've had the same experience, with the camera picking up patterns on Hibiscus that my eye didn't. My camera also is really terrible at getting pictures of Pelargonium flowers. It's not just any strong red; it's specifically Pelargonium, and it's not only the red ones. I don't know what the deal is, but it's annoying.

Karen715 said...

Oh, I'm with you on the mealybug thing Mr_S. Aphids are annoying, and more persistent than one might expect, but mealybugs are familiars of the devil.

I can deal with aphids, I can deal with spider mites, and I can even deal with scale (though they have cost me a plant or two) but so far I've had to toss any plant I've had with mealybugs. Fortunately I haven't had them on a plant I truly love.

Water Roots said...

Yup, I agree about the mealybugs; they're surely the most evil things to get on your houseplants. Fortunately, I haven't had to deal with them often.

Karen, your plants are absolutely gorgeous! You must have a really nice spot for them; they're all doing so well. The blooms are lovely.