Friday, February 18, 2005

Return of the red bastards

I recently lost all of last years Lophophora fricii seedlings (and a lot of the L. diffusa and L. williamsii seedlings as well) because of too prudent a watering scheme – or so I presumed.

To my dismay the withering of the surviving seedlings continued, even after generous waterings. After a closer inspection of the seedlings, using a x10 magnifying lens, the reason became clear: a bunch of red spider mites were feasting on the plants.

The plants were promptly sprayed with insect soap and the treatment will be repeated in a week. It probably won’t kill off all of the spider mites, so the battle is now on. Last year I fought the spider mites using soap, predator mites, cinnamon and garlic brews, and by raising the humidity levels and increasing the air circulation – apparently some survived.

I wonder if I would have been able to save my L. fricii plants if the mites had been discovered sooner.


  1. I have an unidentified bug in my lophophora's. Its almost microscopic and I think they may be eating at the very fresh green tissue. The plants get a rust look to them but are not dying.

  2. That definitely sounds like spider mites - they are barely visible to the naked eye and will leave a brown scarring on the plants. You can find examples of cacti infested with spider mites and other pests on this page.

    If you have pictures of the plants you can post them at


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