Gerbera or gerber daisies (Gerbera jamesonii) are popular flowers used for cut flowers, container gardening and bedding plants. These colorful flowers are prone to several diseases and pest problems. Specifically, leaf miners, spider mites, cyclamen mites, whiteflies, aphids, and thrips have been known to attack Gerbera daisies. However, there are a number of quick and easy solutions that will not harm Gerbera daisy plants.
Neem is a natural insecticide that comes from oil derived from the neem tree, a Southeastern Asian shade tree. Azadirachtrin, the active ingredient in neem, kills a number of pests and repels others. Neem can be used on Gerbera daisy plants to treat aphids, leaf miners, whiteflies and thrips. In addition, neem oil protects the plants against powdery mildew, a common fungus which affects the plant. Neem is often produced under the trade name Bioneem by Safer Products.
Insecticidal soaps are a popular option because they work selectively, only affecting small soft-bodied insects instead of beneficial bugs such as ladybugs and pollinating bees. According to Colorado State Extension, the active ingredient of all insecticidal soaps is potassium salt of fatty acid. And although the actual process by which these products kill pests is currently unknown, the soaps do seem to work against aphids, leaf miners, whiteflies and spider mites. Trade name insecticidal soaps include Safer Insecticidal Soap, M-Pede and Concern Insect Killing Soap, all of which are safe for use on Gerbera daisies. Traditional detergents and soaps have shown to be effective at riding plants of pest infestations as well. However, if not diluted properly, they can be harmful to the plant.
Horticultural oils are oil-based liquids diluted with water and applied to common houseplants such as Gerbera daisies to manage pests. The oil blocks the air holes of insects or acts as a poison against whiteflies, aphids, mealybugs, spider mites and scales. Some common commercial manufacturers of horticulture oil include PureSpray Green, Golden Pest Spray and Organocide.
Capsaicin is the active ingredient in hot peppers that make them hot. Clemson University Extension states that capsaicin can be used on ornamental plants to control aphids, spider mites, thrips, whiteflies, lace bugs, leafhoppers and other pests. However, CUE also states that most capsaicin products are used to repel insects rather than kill existing infestations. Trade name products with capsaicin include Hot Pepper Wax Insect Repellent and Bonide Hot Pepper Wax.
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