YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Moving? Leave Southland Plants Behind


QUESTION: My husband has been transferred from his job here in Southern California to a new position in South Carolina. My problem: I've got a houseful of plants that I love dearly and would hate to leave behind, but I'm not so sure they can survive a cross-country in winter, and if they do, will they be able to adjust to their new home? What would you recommend I do?

ANSWER: Give them away to plant-loving friends and buy new ones when you get to South Carolina. Plants can and usually do survive long-distance moves, especially if they're transported by professional movers, but not without lots of trauma and possible ill effects.

Unless you've got some rare and irreplaceable specimen plants, you'll be better off buying new ones when you get to your new home and can examine the growing conditions.

Getting to the Root of Pest Problem Q: I have a 7-foot-tall Dracena fragrans. The leaves always have this sticky, small, round light-brown bug. I've used all kinds of sprays the nursery recommends, but it always comes back. I was told there is nothing I can do about it because it is "in the air." Is this true?

A: Your plant has scale. Yes, this pest is in the air, but in your case it's also clearly in the soil. The insects continue to lay their eggs in the soil and they continue to hatch ad infinitum.

The only way to be rid of this problem once and for all is to repot your Dracena (I realize this could be a difficult job with a 7-foot-tall plant).

Throw away all the old potting soil, gently wash away all the dirt left on the roots with warm water, spray the roots with an organic insecticide, then repot the plant in a clean, new pot (or a scrubbed old one) with fresh potting soil.


Are your palms pooping? Are your ferns flopping? Send your houseplant questions to the Indoor Gardener in care of the Real Estate section, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles CA 90053. Questions cannot be answered individually.

Los Angeles Times Articles