From the beginning of February onwards, increasingly be on the look-out for possible pest infestation of your potted plants in their winter quarters. With clearly increasing sun radiation from the end of January onwards, greenflies and later also scale insects, mealy bugs and spider mites re-appear in increasing numbers.
The first sign – with greenflies and scale insects – is the so-called honeydew, a sticky excretion of the animals. If spider mites are involved, on the other hand, you can see – at an advanced stage – fine gossamer in the leaf axes of the potted plants. Mealy bugs can be identified as white specks on the plants. Similarly to mealy bugs, thrips sit as small transversely striped mini-insects on the underside of the leaf. And whiteflies fly into the air as soon as a plant is vibrated when touched or moved.
Combat all these pests with an environmentally-friendly pesticide from specialist dealers.
In addition, prevent your potted plants from drying out. They should only be watered very little in their winter quarters, just so much that they do not die, but especially in the case of evergreens the water requirement may already increase significantly from February onwards.
Also ensure that the plants’ winter quarters does not heat up too much with the increasing sun radiation, as this could provoke premature budding of the winter-dormant plants. If necessary, shade windows from time to time or air the hibernation room, but keep it free from frost.
From the end of the month, you can already begin to re-pot the potted plants where this is required.
Tip: In the case of potted plants of which you wish to eat parts later – such as leaves of herbs or fruits of citrus plants, figs etc. – do not use so-called systemically effective pesticides. These are administered via the roots (for example as pesticide sticks) and spread to the whole plant as insect poison.