Stewarts Office Plants

We supply many businesses across the South, from Sussex and Surrey, through Hampshire and Dorset to Wiltshire and Somerset. For more information about the services we offer visit our home page, or contact us here. In this blog you'll find news, interesting snippets, stories and pictures of our staff's adventures out on the road.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Wooden herb planters

I've blogged about these Fat Leaf planters before (twice in fact). I really like them, but because they aren't very 'officy' I don't get to use them a lot.

They are made from Larch, which is naturally tough so doesn't need treating.

This installation was for a balcony in an office in Southampton, specifically a balcony off the canteen. So the client wanted planters full of mixed herbs that the chef could use in the kitchen. Job done!

I showed these to my partner with some trepidation as I feared that she would like them so much that she would want one on our terrace at home. So far I have got away with it!


Monday, April 16, 2018

Feature pest: Red Spider Mite

As you may be able to tell by the fact it's only a few days since my last post I'm going through a welcome quiet period, so I thought I'd add another feature pest post, and an appropriate one as the weather is (at last) about to turn nice, because this critter loves the sun!

On the right we have an image of a Red Spider Mite. Along with Mealy Bug (that I've already featured), the most common pest on office plants, and like Mealy bug very hard to control, let alone eradicate.

Thankfully this photo is not actual size! The mites are - just - visible to the naked eye. To the untrained eye they look like dust or powder.

Much more noticeable is the damage that they cause as they feed on the leaves.

This distinct pale spotting is classic Red Spider Mite damage. Later I'll blog about Thrips, whose damage looks similar, but they are much rarer, so assume it's Red Spider.In extreme cases you'll get fine spider webs in between the leaves but this is quite unusual.

As I mentioned in my preamble, they love sunny positions and need low humidity, so your best weapon is to keep the plant as damp as you can, and wet-wipe the leaves (in particular the undersides where they mostly live), being careful to thoroughly clean said wipe before going near another plant with it, or even better throwing it away. If you can get your hands on an oily leaf shine product this seems to keep it in check too.

There are predators available too - I've used them successfully on large trees.

Finally, as the leaf damage pattern is permanent, how can you tell if you are keeping the infestation under control? The mites have a distinct gritty feel to them as you rub a finger over the leaf underside, and they will turn a cloth slightly green if you rub it over them.


Friday, April 13, 2018

Feature plant: Dracaena Sunray

I'm going to give up apologising for the large gaps between posts, it's getting repetitive. As before, we are busy busy busy!

This (ahem)  month's feature plant is called Dracaena Sunray. Keen house plant enthusiasts will instantly recognise that it is a variegated D. Marginata, but instead of being a pale pink/green colour, it's got this striking dark green (almost black) edge with a yellow green centre, and still (as the close up below shows) the dark red margin that gives the common D. Marginata its name.

I'd seen a few small two-stem ones in Stewarts Garden Centre, but my trusty Dutch wholesaler managed to come up with these 1.1-1.2m three-stem ones which are a bit more useful in our maintenance clients.

Care tips: well, I assume it'll be like a normal 'Margi' in that it will need warmth and little water, but being a bright variegation I suspect it will need good light.

Incidentally, my plan is to use one where a previous unusual plant (Codieum Tamara) that I blogged about went at one of my clients in Gillingham. Sadly, for all that said plant made me say "wow", it was a rather difficult plant to care for, and is now looking rather sorry for itself. But there's the great advantage of having our maintenance service on your plants, when it dies we replace it, and pick up the bill.