Infestation

Bird's Nest Fern

Bird's Nest Fern

Today Frank noticed that our bird’s nest fern was infested with …. something. It’s happened before and I’ve washed “them” off. They have sprung up seemingly overnight but I imagine it was the way the sun hit the plant that made them so visible. I didn’t take a “before” photo (next time), this is the after – after cleaning the leaves with soapy water containing a drop of vegetable oil. That’s the simplest version of my cure-all pest deterrent. Unfortunately that didn’t get them all so I then spent some time scraping the long leaves with my finger nail to get rid of the bigger? older? clingier? browner pests (yuck). Even if the wash doesn’t keep the pests away, it sure does make the leaves look shiny (though you can see a bit of damage created by the infestation if you look closely).

After some research on the internet I’m guessing the infestation was mites. Apparently they go for ferns. My pests were about the size of aphids, white or brown in colour. The white ones were mainly clustered all over the underside of the leaves. The larger brown versions were primarily on the top of the leaves and didn’t easily wipe off like the white pests did. I suppose it could have been 2 different animals altogether.

This plant just appeared in our jade plant and when we cut the jade up and jammed it into pots, the fern came along for the ride. It’s quite healthy and is getting a lot of new leaves so I hope that if I stay on top of the pests, it will continue to thrive inside, sharing a pot with my jade plant.

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About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: www.laurarittenhouse.com for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
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