Q&As/Insects and Pests/Whitefly and Aphids

Question

I have a cyclamen as a pot plant in my home’s enclosed conservatory. This cyclamen has been there for some time, but has recently got infested by small grey pests. They look like tiny hyphens and have appeared from nowhere. None of the surrounding pot plants have been infected. What are these pests and where did they come from? How do I deal with this infestation, apart from using soapy warm water?

Answer

It is a possibility that your cyclamen is infected with whitefly or aphids. The course of action to follow is to give the plant a quick wash with a small hand atomoiser (so the plant does not become excessively wet) to remove some of the insects. If it is aphids, you can also try spraying the underside of the leaves with a safe horticultural oil.

Then place the plant (pot and all) outside under some trees etc, where there is good air movement and dappled light. Leave outside for 1-2 weeks, checking from time to time to make sure the plant is not excessively wet or dry. Doing this will help freshen up the plant, as clyclamen grow best in cooler weather as opposed to your warm conservatory. 

After the 1-2 weeks, the plant can then be returned to your conservatory, hopefully in full bloom - although the cyclamen’s natural flowering period is throughout the Winter months. Do not throw your plant away at the end of the season. Plant the pot under some trees where it will be cool throughout summer. Then in March/April repot the plant into a slightly larger pot with fresh potting mix such as Daltons Premium Tub Mix and enjoy their winter flowering.

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