Q: For abounding years, my African violets bloomed beautifully. About a year ago, one and eventually all developed a white adhesive actuality on their leaves, which die if I don’t clean them off. What should I do?
— Stefi Giesel, Chicago
A: Adhesive leaves usually beggarly an insect is agriculture on sap and excreting a actuality alleged honeydew. Sap-feeding insects that affect African violets (Saintpaulia ionantha) accommodate aphids, calibration and the best accepted culprit, mealybug, which acceptable is the botheration you have.
Wiping honeydew off the leaves is a acceptable aboriginal footfall because it helps them to abide axis sunlight into energy, and removes some of the pests. But, as you discovered, it doesn’t break the problem.
For a baby infestation, the recommended ascendancy is dabbing anniversary mealybug (or scale) with an alcohol-soaked affection swab. Look for them on both abandon of leaves, on stems and in blade crotches. Several treatments may be necessary.
For a beyond infection, accede replacing your plants, as abundant infestations are difficult to treat. If new plants are not an option, accede spraying with insecticidal soap or application a artefact absolute imidacloprid. Both controls additionally assignment on calibration and aphids. Use alone articles labeled for use on African violets and anxiously chase all characterization instructions, decidedly afore spraying indoors.
Monitor advantageous plants and abstract any with new signs of infestation, allowance to anticipate its advance to added plants.
Q: Can amethyst basil leaves be broiled for affable this winter?
— Robin Campbell, Park Ridge
A: The generally annoyed and added acutely flavored leaves of amethyst basil (Ocimum basilicum) can be broiled for comestible use. It’s generally developed as an accessory plant; don’t autumn leaves from plants that were advised or apparent to actinic articles that are not labeled for use on comestible crops.
It’s best to autumn all varieties of basils back their leaves are dry. You can adhere bundles of leaves or abode attenuate layers on screens until leaves are dry abundant to crumble. Abundance broiled leaves in an closed container.
Many cooks accept broiled basil has beneath acidity than frozen. For best flavor, benumb accomplished leaves on a cookie area and abundance them in a artificial bag or alembic for up to four months.
Denise Corkery writes for the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe. Write to: Gardening Q&A, Home&Garden, Chicago Tribune, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611-4041; e-mail to home& [email protected]
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