Q. My cyclamen plant has pests. What are they?
Sorry to tell you, your Cyclamen plant may have cyclamen mites--not a good situation.
Sometimes plants contract these pests from other plants in a greenhouse environment. There are organic and safe ways to help rid your plant of these pesky insects. A couple of treatments are listed below, but only one is easily applied by the home gardener. Toxic remedies as they are not good for your health or the environment. Here are two safe treatments:
- Heat treatment: Cyclamen mites are heat sensitive and can be killed if immersed in 110°F water for 30 minutes, or in a whirling water bath held at 111°F for 15 minutes. However, this treatment takes special equipment found only in a commercial greenhouse. These temperatures are generally low enough to cause little damage to most plants, but water temperature must be maintained properly and the whole plant, pot and all, needs to be immersed. Removing heavily infested shoots first may make this process easier. But without the whirling temperature-controlled bath it's unlikely you will be able to replicate the process.
- For the home gardener: Insecticidal soap spray available at your local nursery can be effective. The insecticidal spray must completely cover the insects, so apply liberally and make sure the spray reaches under leaves and into shoot tips where the mites hide. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations.
If you don't succeed in eliminating the mites, you may have to dispose of your plant.