The end of winter is a good time to give your indoor plants a little TLC. Inspect plants for signs of trouble, and resolve them early with these clever tips.
Mealy bugs are among the worst house plant offenders, so look for the telltale white, fluff-covered bumps, especially under leaves and at the base of plants. Scale insects are usually raised lumps on the leaves, often accompanied by a sticky exudation that can coat the floor or furniture.
Quarantine pest-infested plants by moving them away from others, ideally taking them outside for treatment in a shaded, frost-free position. Treat a minor mealy bug infestation by dabbing with a cotton bud dipped in methylated spirits. Remove scale insects by hand or by gently scrubbing with a brush dipped in soap.
If it looks like the pests are winning the battle and the plant is looking sorry for itself, the best solution is to throw it out and treat yourself to a beautiful replacement.
There are plenty more winter tasks in the August issue of ABC Gardening Australia magazine, out now.