Hi , just a reminder of mandatory masks almost everywhere. Stay safe.

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thrive failing geraniums

Geraniums - failing to thrive?
#1
If your geraniums aren't doing as well as usual check the growing tips to see if they have been attacked by a caterpillar known as 'pino procesional'. It is a bristly little thing varying in colour from pale cream to a vibrant green. The largest one I have seen is about 1.5cm long. The little sods burrow into the growing tip and take up residence inside, quickly devouring the inside of the stem. Often the first sign of infestation is the stem turning black. The 'green' solution is to cut off each affected growing tip beneath the black area making sure you cut back to clean green solid stems. Other possible solutions include Tromin Oil (not cheap, about 40€, but bottle lasts for years), or Ralbi 10 which is nasty stuff but pretty effective (wear mask and cover all exposed skin). After the caterpillar has eaten it's fill of the stem it comes out and pupates under a leaf so you may find them there but the damage has already been done.

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They are out and about at the moment!
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#2
It's that time again!

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and the best ones …...

[Image: tv38QqQ.jpg] squashed!  Big Grin
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#3
Dead-heading is one of the best things you can do for your geraniums: it promotes more flowers to form as the plant wants to set seed and multiply and it gives you the opportunity for a close encounter with each plant!
Yellowing leaves? Too much or too little water or just natural aging - one of the hardest judgements to make! If it's just one or two of the oldest leaves it's probably just natural aging. On the water issue, carefully dig down into the soil/potting medium a bit. If it's still damp - don't water! Geraniums prefer to be on the dryer side of damp.
White/grey/fluffy bits in the flower heads or leaf/stem joints or under leaves? Ants up and down the stems? Probably cochineal or one of the other similar scale insects. Needs 2 types of treatment, 1 for the cochineal and 1 for the ants! I dust liberally with ant powder on day 1 and then a Neem oil spray on day 2, other propriety sprays are available to buy when we're not on lockdown!  
Caterpillar crap sprinkled on leaves or under plant? Often the first sign that 'pino procesional' caterpillars are munching away again. Found loads today so it's out with the Ralbi 10 tomorrow  Angry 

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[Image: pFTeD8m.jpg] alert for cochineal!

While I was doing the dead-heading today it occurred to me that I was using a tool bought for me by my father many, many years ago and that I have never seen for sale in shops so others may be unaware of its' existence. It's a form of scissors designed for cutting blooms and has an extra sprung vertical section that grasps the stem that you've cut so you can bring the bloom/dead head back towards you with the tool rather than having to use two hands. Useful if you need to support yourself with one hand or are reaching up or far forward or even if you just want your bucket in your other hand!

Just looked on line and it's called 'Victorinox flower/grape gatherer'.

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#4
I am not a gardener Tamara that's management,s job, but what I do know is "'Victorinox " was quite a prestigious cutlery manufacturer back in the day.
Do not confuse my personality with my attitude my personality is down to me, but my attitude depends on you!
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#5
Victornox manufacture the Swiss Army knives. I always had a small miniature knife with a blade, a scissors, a file, tooth pick and tweezers on my key ring until 911 happened and you were no longer allowed carry knives on your person.
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#6
Pino procesional on the rampage again - check your geraniums!

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