The Sacramento Bee hosts a network of high-quality news providers and bloggers in the Sacramento region. Here is a sampling of the best of the current Home & Garden blogs. Check out the full postings: www.sacramentoconnect.com.
• Davis gardener and succulent collector Gerhard Bock, author of “ Succulents and More,” battles an outbreak of mealybugs on a baby Duvalia:
“Mealybugs are the bane of my existence as a succulent collector. Some plant groups are more prone than others, but I deal with these nasty leaf suckers every summer (they thrive in warm weather). In fact, last summer was the worst I can remember. I was constantly spritzing plants in an effort to keep the mealies away.
“Fortunately, mealybugs are easy to kill. You just need to spring into action at the first sign of an infestation. My remedy of choice is straight 70 percent isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. This works great on many succulents, especially those with a thicker epidermis (or skin). However, straight isopropyl alcohol can mar softer leaves, like those of echeverias. For those plants, it is wise to dilute it with water.
“Since this is my first Duvalia, I wasn’t sure how well it would tolerate 70 percent isopropyl alcohol. To be on the side safe, I diluted it 1-to-1 with water and added a teaspoon of Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap (I like the peppermint-scented variety). Soap helps break down the waxy coating that protects mealybugs so the alcohol can kill them more efficiently.”
Read more (and see photos) at: www.succulentsandmore.com