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My s. divinorum is suffering, help! Options
 
Nydex
#1 Posted : 9/22/2018 12:50:16 PM

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Hi friends, I need your advice. My salvia plants seem to be having a hard time. Most of their leaves are browning at the edges a lot, and some of the leaves are very deformed. Others are turning yellow and are falling off of the stem.

I'm keeping the soil moist enough, and they get several hours of full sunlight per day, but what worries me the most is that when I shake the pots little flies come out of the soil and fly around. Someone suggested that I make a hydrogen peroxide solution and water the soil with that, but they also said it's gonna virtually destroy the entire biome of that soil, so I need your advice - what do I do so my plants are healthy?

Thanks a bunch!
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Loveall
#2 Posted : 9/22/2018 6:38:03 PM

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Sounds like you got fungus gnats. The adults don't hurt the plant I think, but the larvae can.

In my experience (after a lot of trial and error) the best way to get rid of them is to use biological control. I use "moskito bits" which have a bacteria (Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis) that attacks the larva. Nowadays I use the bits as profilactics and just add them to the soil mix to begin with.

Good luck with your salvia plant!
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Orion
#3 Posted : 9/22/2018 7:21:58 PM

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I think excess moisture can lead to gnats further down the line. How much does the soil dry between waterings ? Sometimes there can be excess moisture below the soil which causes roots to rot, which I found salvia to be quite susceptible to.
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Nydex
#4 Posted : 9/23/2018 12:17:51 PM

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Loveall wrote:
Sounds like you got fungus gnats. The adults don't hurt the plant I think, but the larvae can.

In my experience (after a lot of trial and error) the best way to get rid of them is to use biological control. I use "moskito bits" which have a bacteria (Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis) that attacks the larva. Nowadays I use the bits as profilactics and just add them to the soil mix to begin with.

Good luck with your salvia plant!


Thanks for the info Loveall, I am trying to find this bacteria in Europe but have no success so far, except for one huge 20 liters concentrate package that is just too expensive to even consider. If you happen to know where to buy this thing from EU I'd be very thankful if you share.

Orion wrote:
How much does the soil dry between waterings


Sometimes I leave it to completely dry up to the point the plants start to wilt before I water it thoroughly again. I really doubt there is any excess moisture in the pots as the soil gets very dry and has excellent drainage. Also, big fan of your art man, I've shared it countless times before. You're awesome!
antrocles wrote:
IT IS ONLY TO THE EXTENT THAT WE ARE WILLING TO EXPOSE OURSELVES OVER AND OVER AGAIN TO ANNIHILATION THAT WE DISCOVER THAT PART OF OURSELVES THAT IS INDESTRUCTIBLE.
 
Loveall
#5 Posted : 9/23/2018 3:30:35 PM

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Sorry, Nydex not sure how to get the beneficial bacteria in Europe. In the US, the bits are sold in big stores.
“... (a) psychedelic substance occasionally causes psychotic behaviour in people who have not taken it.”
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Spaced Out 2
#6 Posted : 9/23/2018 4:55:20 PM

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Put Yellow sticky traps near your plants for the adults, its like magnets to them and will keep them from laying more eggs in the soil.

Since they like moist soil I put a layer of diatomaceous earth on the surface and bottom watered only when they looked like they needed it. I also keep mine in a small greenhouse so that I have better control of them and situations like this, my salvia plants love it.

Just some suggestions!
 
pinkoyd
#7 Posted : 9/24/2018 5:28:21 AM

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S. divinorum doesn't like a lot of sun the way most salvias do. Mine get two hours or so of morning sun right now and it's a bit too much for them, especially since it's been so hot. As the season changes they will get less sun and will perk up.

The secret of my success with them is dapple shade, moist (but not wet) soil, lots of nutrients (but not too much), and a mist system on a timer set to run for ten minutes every three or four hours during the daytime.

Been growing them for over 20 years and they always seem happiest when I use the misters.
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Nydex
#8 Posted : 9/24/2018 1:54:24 PM

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Loveall wrote:
Sorry, Nydex not sure how to get the beneficial bacteria in Europe. In the US, the bits are sold in big stores.


Yeah I looked it up and the only way I can get this stuff online is if I pay 11 dollars for the product itself and 108 dollars for the shipping lol, gonna search locally a bit more for sure.

Spaced Out 2 wrote:
Put Yellow sticky traps near your plants for the adults, its like magnets to them and will keep them from laying more eggs in the soil.

Since they like moist soil I put a layer of diatomaceous earth on the surface and bottom watered only when they looked like they needed it.


Will look into those yellow sticky traps for sure. Also, do you use diatomaceous earth for the nutrients, or for the moisture trapping characteristic? Maybe a bit of both?

pinkoyd wrote:

S. divinorum doesn't like a lot of sun the way most salvias do. Mine get two hours or so of morning sun right now and it's a bit too much for them, especially since it's been so hot. As the season changes they will get less sun and will perk up.

The secret of my success with them is dapple shade, moist (but not wet) soil, lots of nutrients (but not too much), and a mist system on a timer set to run for ten minutes every three or four hours during the daytime.


Wow man, 20 years is a lot of experience with this plant...what climate do you grow them in? As of right now I can't really provide dapple shade as they are on my closed balcony. The only thing I can think of is covering the glass on my windows with rice paper that I've cut small holes into - what do you think of that? That should reduce the amount of sun light they get. I also manually mist them two-three times a day - once in the morning and two times before I go to bed. Can't really make up a misting system right now.
antrocles wrote:
IT IS ONLY TO THE EXTENT THAT WE ARE WILLING TO EXPOSE OURSELVES OVER AND OVER AGAIN TO ANNIHILATION THAT WE DISCOVER THAT PART OF OURSELVES THAT IS INDESTRUCTIBLE.
 
Spaced Out 2
#9 Posted : 9/24/2018 10:17:33 PM

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Yes those sticky traps work wonders for such a cheap option, because if there is larvae still in the soil, they will eventually emerge as an adult and fly right for the yellow trap.

I'm pretty sure the diatomaceous earth is inert and mainly contains silica and trace elements and didn't seem to affect the plant detrimentally. I put a nice layer on the surface after it dried to keep any adults from laying eggs in the top centimeter or two of soil, and if they did and they hatched they'd likely be sliced up by the dust.

In my case it got rid of all gnats that I'd seen and haven't had any return so I'm attributing these two remedies, aside from limiting waterings, to taking care of the problem because that's all I did. I'm glad it worked and was able to keep them confined to my greenhouse so that they didn't affect my other house plant's.

Good luck friend and I hope you can get them SD plants back to being healthy!
 
MasonJarBong
#10 Posted : 10/3/2018 4:00:33 PM

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Not to muddy the waters here, but you can also defeat fungus gnats by layering some sand atop your soil. The intent here is to create a temporary barrier which will prevent any fungus gnats from emerging from the soil and flying away as adults to reproduce. If you use sand to block any access to the soil's surface, adults cannot lay their eggs in the soil and emerging gnats cannot burrow through the sand and thus die before becoming adults.

It is vital that you layer enough sand to prevent burrowing. I have found that 3/4 to 1 inch of sand is sufficient to prevent burrowing. And you must layer it anywhere the soil surface is exposed. In one case I had to layer sand not only atop the soil in the pot, but even around any drainage holes in the pot (since I saw gnats emerging from the soil near those holes as well). If you employ this method, a couple of weeks or so should be all you need to eliminate the gnats in your soil, as their breeding cycle will be completely disrupted.

And as some posters above have stated, fungus gnats are usually an indication that your soil is remaining too moist. The most common culprits here are inadequate drainage, inadequate soil aeration, or watering too frequently.

Also be careful where you buy your soil and compost. Some places store the bags outdoors where fungus gnats are only too happy to make themselves a nice home...and eventually you become an unwitting and unwilling foster parent.

Best of luck!
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