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PlantParenthood

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Lazyplantparent avatar @Lazyplantparent 路 3M
Happy Tuesday, #GregGang! Sending you all the good vibes today! 馃挌 For today鈥檚 #TuesdayTips, I wanted to create a post about the most common question topic: pests. 馃 An inevitable nuisance, pests are unfortunately something that goes hand in hand with #PlantParenthood. But thankfully, there are lots of ways to not only treat, but also prevent these annoying little buggers. Read on to see my personal strategies and methods using mostly all-natural products! Tip 1锔忊儯 鈥 Happy plants are stronger against pests. * Predictable, consistent care helps our plants grow happy, healthy, and strong. Plants that are under stress due to inconsistency/change, thirsty and weak, or just all around struggling and sad are plants that are more vulnerable to pests. * Helping our plants to stay happy and healthy is a great first step in preventing pests by decreasing their overall vulnerability! Tip 2锔忊儯 鈥 You can鈥檛 treat something you don鈥檛 know about. * Catching pests early鈥攂efore they do real damage, or spread to other plants鈥攊s absolutely key! * The simplest way to start would be to visually inspect your plants, especially the parts where bugs like to hide. Once a week, just scan your plants for any possible problems. so that you鈥檒l have the upper hand by catching things early! * When scanning your plants, especially focus on the undersides of leaves, around the nodes, the stem, and the base of the plant/topsoil. Tip 3锔忊儯 鈥 Prevention is a lot easier than treatment. * I like to preventatively 鈥渢reat鈥 my plants using gentle, all-natural pest deterring products usually once a week or every other week. * I rotate the products that I use in an effort to keep the pests on their toes, and hopefully reduce the chance of the pests developing a resistance to a product. * My favorite things to use are mint-based essential oil sprays, neem oil sprays, and all-natural leaf cleaner solutions. * The first spray I use is called 鈥淢ighty Mint Plant Protection Spray,鈥 which is a blend of peppermint, rosemary, and geraniol. It鈥檚 all natural and safe for people and pets, which I love. An added bonus is that it smells heavenly, like a minty spa retreat. This blend of essential oils is said to be a natural miticide, fungicide, and eliminate many types of pests (spider mites, insects, and fungus). * The next spray that I use is called 鈥淓mily's Naturals Neem Oil Plant Spray,鈥 which has a blend of castile soap and neem oil. Neem oil is a very popular pest deterrent and there seems to be a lot of existing evidence that this natural oil can be quite effective for reducing and eliminating pests. * I also use a cleaning spray from rePotMe called, 鈥淲ash Me Natural Leaf Cleaner.鈥 I like this spray because it鈥檚 super gentle, but really effective! It鈥檚 made from water, organic natural castile soap, and a pinch of citric acid. Cleaning leaves is a great preventative step to remove any little bugs you can鈥檛 obviously see, remove dust for more effective photosynthesis, and help your plants look their best. Tip 4锔忊儯 鈥 Cut the crap, literally. * I hate fungus gnats with a burning passion! Don鈥檛 we all? These annoying little guys are soil-born pests that love all the icky stuff in compost and traditional soil. * I made the decision to go soilless a year ago, and it was the best choice I made in the fight against fungus gnats. I hardly ever see them now, and only when I bring home a new plant that hasn鈥檛 been repotted into a soilless growing medium yet! * There are so many great recipes online for homemade soilless blends. If that seems overwhelming, there are also some fantastic Etsy shops that sell handmixed soilless blends tailored to specific plant species, which is pretty cool. 鈥淩ootingForYouOregon鈥 and 鈥淐reativePlantMama鈥 are the two shops that I used when I was first getting started with my transition to soil-free growing. * Generally, the base ingredients for a soilless blend include coco coir, perlite or vermiculite, and bark (equal amounts of each is the 鈥渟tandard鈥 suggested ratio). * Soil amendments (i.e. other ingredients you can mix in with those base ingredients to make a more specialized/fancy blend) include things like horticultural charcoal, fir needles, sphagnum moss, coco husk chips, and many more options. * If you choose to go soilless, just don鈥檛 forget to add some form of nutrition to your blend, since it won鈥檛 be getting nutrients from compost. I like to use vegan fertilizer, and recently I鈥檝e been using Osmocote slow-release granules. * For plants that aren鈥檛 ready to be repotted, I usually apply some anti-pest granules to the topsoil. It is designed to seep down deep with each watering and attack fungus gnats at the source. My favorite is from an Etsy shop called 鈥淧lantAnswers鈥 that makes a super effective all-natural product called 鈥淔ungus Gnat Control Insecticide Granules鈥 which lasts for 4 months with a single application! Tip 5锔忊儯 鈥 A little extra TLC can go a long way. * So let鈥檚 say that you do find a pest when scanning your plants. The first step would be to quarantine the affected plant(s), check nearby plants to make sure the pest hasn鈥檛 spread, and then treat the affected plant(s) in isolation. * After removing the pest, it can be helpful to use a leaf cleaner to wipe down each leaf, and then prune off any damaged leafs so that the plant can focus on putting energy into the remaining healthy leaves and/or new healthy growth. * Using rubbing alcohol is a great way to kill pests on contact! I like to dip a q-tip in rubbing alcohol to spot treat pests on plant leaves and stems. * From there, I like to apply the heavy-hitting 鈥淐aptain Jack鈥檚 Dead Bug Brew,鈥 which is a spray that kills pests using a naturally occurring bacteria called Spinosad. * I also continue to apply the mint spray and neem oil throughout the plant鈥檚 time in isolation. I usually keep the plant isolated for 1-2 weeks, or until I鈥檓 consistently not seeing any more pests. These are just a few tips and ideas as you think about which pest control methods would be best for you, but I hope it鈥檚 been helpful! If you have any questions about the methods I鈥檝e mentioned, feel free to drop a comment below. Cheers to chemical-free pest prevention, and happy growing, #Greggers! 馃 #AllNatural #PetSafe #PestControl #TipsandTricks #Advice #PlantMemes