Thursday, May 8, 2008

Stanhopea orchids – natural slug and snail control

With onset of cold and wet autumn and winter there is a need for easy and effective control of slugs and snails. These pests love to munch on the tips of emerging shoots and really favor young flower buds. All orchids growers looking for an effective means of controlling them, and Stanhopea growers are no exception – its painful waiting for beautiful flowers to emerge once a year and then to lose it overnight to a hungry snail!

Whether your stanhopea’s growing outside, under the shade of the trees or in a greenhouse due to the weather restrictions – at times we all need to exercise snail and slug control. We all tried commercial pellets and all agree that they less than satisfactory for long term use – with frequent watering of stanhopea plants pellets become moldy and unsightly, dangerous to house pets and wildlife. We all also tried beer, eggshells, lime, wood shavings, sawdust, etc – great for the dry plants, completely unsuitable for stanhopea’s and other orchids that need frequent waterings.

I’ve done some extensive research and found that there is natural and effective remedy and it’s called “mustard meal” – or in other words, grinded mustard seeds. I’ve been using it on my stanhopea orchids for a number of years, and never looked back – its natural, its effective, and it works. Mustard meal been used in organic gardening to control pests, nematodes, fungi and here in Australia can be purchased through Yandilla Mustard Seed Oil Pty Ltd. If you live outside of Australia, check with your local mustard seed oil producers – they may be able to supply you with this natural effective product.

Another way is of course, make it yourself. Visit your local health food store and ask if they have in stock or can order for you bulk quantity of mustard seeds – you would only need small quantity at the time – 100/200g and grind them yourself in coffee or spice grinder. You can also purchase them in the supermarkets in herbs and spices sections, but they usually only sold in 25/30g small packets.

Sprinkle grinded mustard seeds into your orchid compost when you planting and replanting your orchids, on the top of the orchid soil to control slugs and snails, top up any time when its rainy weather and enjoy seeing your beautiful stanhopea plants and flowers in its majestic glory.

1 comment:

  1. Great post and blog. I have added you to my favorites. I especially like the picture of Stanhopea Insignis x Self. Thanks for sharing...
    Phillip Estenson