Pest control tips for container gardens

Pest control tips for container gardens

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Our best tips from the experts on pest control and disease control for your container gardens

Select nursery plants that are healthy and completely free of insects. Ask nursery staff or check on the Internet about disease-resistant cultivars.

“Pay close attention to the environmental needs of your chosen container plants. A plant intended for shade will be stressed and much more susceptible to disease if planted with a grouping of sun-lovers. ” – Conway Lum, Mandeville Garden Centre information manager and GardenWise Magazine plant pest and disease expert

Remove all weeds and dead foliage from containers as they will have a tendency to attract pests.

“Certain plants, like begonias, are subject to powdery mildew. To help prevent powdery mildew, plant begonias close to the edge of your container. This provides the plants with better air circulation thereby minimizing the opportunity for powdery mildew to develop. Similarly, look for plants that are resistant to powdery mildew, such as the ‘Tapien’ or ‘Temari’ verbenas.” – Conway Lum

Plants that are not thriving or show signs of disease should be removed before they infect your other plants.

” Aphids often attack plants in containers. To remove aphids from an infested plant, wash the plant thoroughly using a mild solution of 15 mL (1 Tbsp.) dish detergent mixed into 1 L. (1 qt.) of lukewarm water. (Note: Safer’s Insecticidal Soap is a good choice for this purpose as it is less toxic to plants than conventional detergent.) Before applying the mixture to the plant, test it on a single leaf to make sure it does not burn the tender foliage. A spray bottle provides an excellent way to ensure the leaves are thoroughly covered. Use your fingers to gently rub all surfaces, and be sure to give plenty of attention to the undersides of the leaves. When done, rinse the plant thoroughly using fresh water. Aphids can be stubborn pests, so be prepared to repeat the process.” – Vonnie Kovacic, organic gardening expert and GardenWise Magazine contributor

The best way to control pests is through constant observation and prompt action. If you don’t let pests take a foothold, they won’t be a problem. Try to control pests by removing them by hand, without the use of chemicals. However, if chemicals are needed, talk to the experts at your local nursery for the right product and tips on safe application.