Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Some plants attract woes like compost draws in green peach beetle grubs. This poor little pelargonium seems to be growing nicely until one day a few aphids showed up. In about a week the entire plant is covered in aphids, their shed exoskeletons, and honeydew.
Then a caterpillar materializes and chews up the leaves that don't have any aphids on them.
Then sooty mold starts growing on the leaves covered with honeydew.
Just for good measure a katydid nymph (haven't seen any of them on any other plants lately) emerges, to disfigure the flowers. It's been observed that plant eating insects detect chemical markers given off by plants under stress, in an evolutionary development not unlike the way bullies instinctively single out the kid least likely to fight back. So if one's pelargonium has called its own troubles down on it due to stress, one must wonder (and worry about) what one has done to cause stress on one's pelargonium; and, how can one alleviate said stress. Or at least how can one teach one's pelargonium to box.