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Lemon Plant

hello people
I'm really in need of some help/advise regarding my Lemon Plant.
A mate gave it to me 25 years grown from just a lemon pip .
The thing is I keep getting these brown aphid like pests that make the leaves sticky and despite cleaning them along with the stems, they keep reappearing and now the leaves are looking a bit sorry. Curling and dry on the edges.
Ive read soapy water, rubbing alcohol (really?) gets them off but I really could do with some advise on improving the health of the only plant I own and treasure.
Thanks in advance and Merry Christmas
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  • If it is growing indoors it is probably scale insects that are really difficult to get rid of.
    I use pads of cotton wool soaked in cheap vodka to clean both sides of each leaf, thoroughly. douse the trunk and stems and give each leaf joint where it attaches to a stem or branch a good rub and soak, use a small paintbrush to get right into all crevasses. Fiddly and time consuming but it works. Neat washing-up liquid can also be used but make sure you wash the whole plant down thoroughly to remove any detergent when you have finished. Alcohol just evaporates.
    Dry conditions are usually why scale insects appear. You will need to use really firm pressure to remove the scale insects as they hang on really tightly. Lay a piece of newspaper on top of the soil in the pot before you start to catch any stray insects which may fall and then crawl back to re-infect your plant.shamm68elsZZlSP said:
    hello people
    I'm really in need of some help/advise regarding my Lemon Plant.
    A mate gave it to me 25 years grown from just a lemon pip .
    The thing is I keep getting these brown aphid like pests that make the leaves sticky and despite cleaning them along with the stems, they keep reappearing and now the leaves are looking a bit sorry. Curling and dry on the edges.
    Ive read soapy water, rubbing alcohol (really?) gets them off but I really could do with some advise on improving the health of the only plant I own and treasure.
    Thanks in advance and Merry Christmas

  • Lena_vs_DeerLena_vs_Deer Seattle WA, USAPosts: 200
    Well, the leaves themselves don’t matter too much, they will grow back even if all of them drop. But you do need to save stems from complete exhaustion for sure.

    When my citrus (7y.o. lemon and 13y.o. Kafir lime) gets attacked, first line of defense is always blast it with cold water from a hose (jet nozzle or cover hose partially with a finger to make that super strong water pressure ) to blast bugs away from plant AND soil. One of the reasons bugs may come back is because smallest ones of them just drop in a pot. And then they just crawl back on the stems. So instead of rubbing them off try blast bugs off with cold water. I’d also recommend to re-pot the plant in clean soil or at least replace top inch of soil (or more if you can) to maybe safeguard from as much dormant larvae as you can. Sometimes they may just sit there till conditions are right. 

    Cold blasting so far had given me better results than soap had ever did. I also tried mixture of soap, onions and cayenne pepper… water blast is still the best. 
    But If that doesn’t solve the problem, I’d recommend to get a spray with neem oil. To be honest if you have a serious infestation soap probably won’t do much . You need to bring “bigger guns” to this battle . In my experience soap only helps if you have just a beginning of aphid problem, but from description it sounds like this  had been going on for a while. 

    Also where citrus usually is located may define how healthy it is. I noticed that keeping my trees outside gets them less prone to pest attacks. Colder time of the year definitely keeps a lid on it, too. Meanwhile when I used to keep it in the dining room it used to get attacked by aphids all the time . 
    May be worth to try keep it outside for a bit? If it’s not freezing . 


  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 7,735
    We use neem oil on ours. At the end of the day,it's a tree, image quite big now, they don't like "indoors" central heating. That will give you crispy leaves. Can we have a picture,and tell us your watering/feeding regime. Where are you situated? You must be doing something right if you've kept it 25 years. Our lemons live in a Frost free green house overwinter. The oranges in the conservatory.,(much more tender) we have a grapefruit hubby grew from a pip about 28 years ago,had gorgeous scented flowers after 10 years which is the norm,never flowered again.
  • Thanks for your replies and advice all
    The odd thing is these things dont look scaley. The best way i can describe is when rubbing them they look like the chewed sesame seeds only a bit darker.
    I have to be honest i have neglected it and feel ashamed relying on my wife to water it. Just normal tap water, no feeds and probably the same old soil.
    Time to sort this thing
    Thanks once again

  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 7,735
    edited December 2021
    Under a microscope you can see the blighters,micro armadillos. If left untreated they can eventually kill a tree. Rainwater,if you can access it. Proper summer and winter feed. Ours are also in citrus compost,apart from the grapefruit. Spray the plant regularly,if you are unable to access rain water, leave the tap water 24 hours to dechlorinate. Keep the leaves moist,you don't  want red spider mites as well. Mine are watered weekly in winter,small amount. If you are in the UK they shouldn't go below 10c
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 7,735
    just this minute taken picture,hubby found ripe lemon in green house,these calamondins are in the conservatory,on the dining table,needed for Christmas lunch,so gone in the summer house for a few hours. He's our citrus expert,says don't blast it with cold water,it will die of shock
  • hello people
    I'm really in need of some help/advise regarding my Lemon Plant.
    A mate gave it to me 25 years grown from just a lemon pip .
    The thing is I keep getting these brown aphid like pests that make the leaves sticky and despite cleaning them along with the stems, they keep reappearing and now the leaves are looking a bit sorry. Curling and dry on the edges.
    Ive read soapy water, rubbing alcohol (really?) gets them off but I really could do with some advise on improving the health of the only plant I own and treasure.
    Thanks in advance and Merry Christmas
    I read that tobacco and onion skins help. Or predatory mites
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 7,735
    What smoke onion skins,and blow the smoke on the plant!
  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 5,004
    I use cheap cooking brandy, on a cotton bud (or3 they don't last long).
    As mentioned scale insects have a waxy coat so the Alcohol gets into them. I know it's tedious but it's the only way I have found to really work with mine.


    AB Still learning

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 19,920
    @Nanny Beach. You’d be shocked, amazed, hysterical if I told you what my OH has smoked in his youth.  Not sure onion skins were there though. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

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