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- New Hyde Park, NY
I have a potted plumeria that gets white flies in the winter (in the soil and on the leaves). How can I get rid of them for good?
Long Island, NY
- Oakland, OR
Whiteflies are not only annoying, they are also very damaging to plants. The first line of attack is to suck them off your plant with one of the cleaner attachments from your vacuum. You might try placing a sticky trap or hanging sticky tape to catch the adults. You’ll find these at most any garden center. Next on tap is to spray your plant with an insecticidal soap spray, covering the tops and bottoms of leaves as well as the surface of the soil. Or simply take your plant outside on a sunny day and gently hose it down with a soft spray from your garden hose, then spray as above with a homemade soap spray; about 1 to 2 tablespoons of liquid soap per quart of water. One option we used to get rid of whiteflies in our greenhouse was to release encarsia formosa--a very tiny parasitic wasp that parasitize the eggs and feed on pest larvae. Encarsia formosa are suited for indoor use with temperatures of at least 63 degrees F and higher, and white flies are their only target. Once you clear up the infestation, the best defense is to keep your plumeria healthy and happy.