Spider mites on the Buddleja

Every time I visit another country, I try to bring back with me some plants that took my fancy, and those that I think will have a chance to grow in my garden. I’m particularly taken with “showy” plants, plants with nice flowers and those that can attract nice wildlife.

hydrangea border
A gorgeous hydrangea border

One that I tried to grow in my garden several times over the last ten years was the hydrangea. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to, so far. I’ve tried many varieties that I brought back from Amsterdam, Victoria BC and of course the UK. None have survived the blistering Bahraini summers. Some didn’t even like our winters, while other variety of plants behaved more like annuals than the perennials they were supposed to be and survived only one season. At least we got to enjoy them for a while.

hydrangea paniculata white lady
Hydrangea paniculata “White Lady”

Not to buck my own tradition, I determined to try once more and brought back four plants from Scotland which I think have better luck, I hope. Through research I found out that the Hydrangea paniculata might be more heat tolerant if planted in dappled shade. I have a few spots in my garden which can host both the “White Lady” and the “Magical Fire” I have.

Other plants I brought back have a better chance to grow here and I have been successful with them before. Those are the lovely Buddlejas which are the butterflies favourites. They go crazy over them. I have two varieties chosen by my wife: Buddleja dav. “Black Knight” and Buddleja “Lochninch”.

Hydrangeas and Buddlejas
2 Hydrangeas on the left and 2 Buddlejas on the right

In order to transport them and keep within Bahraini law; we removed all soil from their roots by washing them just before we travelled, and immediately potted them on arrival. To ease their transition, we kept them inside in front of a French window. The air conditioning and the light should keep them healthy.

As expected, all of them went into shock and I thought we had lost the White Lady. Its leaves and flower went completely dry. I was ready to prune hard and bide my time. I’ve done that before and was successful in encouraging growth. My wife thought better of that idea and convinced me to leave them alone and just continue to water them. True enough, four weeks after they’ve been potted, even the one I thought to be dead sprouted very healthy growth. I’m so happy with this development.

I’m not very happy with the known Buddlejas spider mites though. I’ve noticed just a couple of days ago that one of the Buddlejas was infested with them. I researched on ways to combat them and found a good reference that suggested readily available ingredients to apply to the plants. That I have done this morning and hope that it will be effective. Time will tell.

I intend to slowly wean them off the air conditioning in preparation to them being planted in the garden. My target for the planting would be December, so I’ll start putting them in the balcony for a few hours a day in late October, not to shock them too much.

Here’s to them making our garden their home!


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