Houseplants and Orchid Program

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Now that fall is in the air, you may be thinking about bringing in houseplants that you moved outside for the summer. Be aware that you can bring creatures inside in those plant containers. I had a tree frog who spent the winter in my dining room one year in a large plant container. Every once in a while, the frog would awaken and make a few chirps. You can also bring in various insects and spiders that may be living in or on the soil in plant containers.

One fairly easy way to get critters out of the soil in containers that are not too large is to emerge them in water for 20 minutes or so. The insects and other critters need oxygen, so will come to the surface where you can easily scoop them out.

Another method is to use a systemic insecticide applied to the soil and watered in. Just plan so that you can leave the plant outside for another couple of weeks as sometimes systemic insecticides can have a strong odor. This will control insects, but may not others such as rolly-polly’s or spiders. Spiders are actually good guys feeding on insects that may damage the plant, so if you can live with them, let them be. I actually have a friend who captures at least one wolf spider each fall and intentionally puts it in her houseplants to help control plant pests over the winter.

If you like houseplants, then you will be interested in attending the Union County Extension Master Gardener meeting this Thursday, September 21 at 7 p.m. at the Union County Ag Center. The topic will be “How to Grow Orchids at Home”. The program will be presented by Shan and Tom Nasser of Carolina Orchids. They will have orchids for sale before their presentation, so come early for the best selection.