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Page 11 of 18


11. Are they susceptible to pests and diseases?

Pests also love these plants! Most insects that trouble pot-plants can damage Adro's. Also, beware of green/black/whitefly upon inflorescences in summer. A systemic insecticide used as a soil drench in the warmer months should control pests e.g. imidacloprid, dimethoate. For more advise about treating pest and diseases of succulents, see The Cactus Mall or The Succulent Plant Page(s).

Western Flower Thrips have become a widespread problem in UK glasshouses in recent years. They are so mobile that it is very difficult to eradicate them. I position both yellow and blue sticky strip sections low down among my plants, positioned vertically. These make a dangerous environment for pests.

Soft rot in Adromischus nanus
Soft rot (Botrytis?) rapidly reducing A. nanus from Smorenskadu farm, Bushmanland to mush in winter. The only cure is to remove every trace of soft flesh and keep the remnants in a warm atmosphere to dry out e.g. indoors on a radiator.

Now more bad news! The smaller species of sections 2, 3 (A. nanus) & 5 are particularly prone to fungal problems. As winter approaches in the UK in November, when days are damp and gloomy, deciduous trees drop their leaves. As these start to rot, the air is full of fungal spores. Any dead leaves or flower spikes remaining on your Adromischus plants may also become mouldy. Drops of nectar from the flowers in summer also start going mouldy at this time of year. I have seen rot travel down a flower spike and into the main stem of an Adromischus within two to three days.

Succulent plant greenhouse in winter
Brrr! An Adromischus greenhouse in a UK winter. Alas this sun-trap upon a garage roof was demolished several years ago.

As ever, prevention is better than cure. I water Adro's from sections 2, 3 (A. nanus) & 5 with a systemic fungicide every year in the early autumn (fall). Remove all flower spikes (even if unfinished) on susceptible species by mid-autumn. In addition, dispose of all dead leaves from your Adro's by this time of year. Good hygiene is essential.

Positioning air circulation fans to blow across your plants (e.g. computer ventilation fans) can also reduce the risk of rotting. These fans can also prevent scorching in summer. From bitter experience, never break leaves off A. marianiae (especially "hallii") in winter or the whole plant may be lost!

Last Updated: Feb 2004
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2004 Derek Tribble, London, UK