By: Kristi Waterworth
Finding a series of holes dug into your houseplants can be frustrating, but holes in potted plants aren’t uncommon, especially in the fall and winter. As the weather gets cooler, rodents often seek shelter indoors. Even though they don’t necessarily eat houseplants, rodents often see the loose potting soil as a great place for storing bits of found food and can cause a lot of damage.
Any time you’ve got mice digging up houseplants, you’ve got a problem that reaches far beyond just your indoor greenery. Your first and foremost goals should be to eliminate the mouse doing the digging and preventing more mice from doing the same. A house cat allowed to roam freely at night is one of the best control methods for mice, but if you don’t have a cat or Fluffy is laying down on the job, snap traps are almost as effective.
While you’re hunting the mouse, you’ll also need to be looking for his secret passage into your home. Check small, tight spaces that lead directly to the outdoors, like areas where plumbing or ventilation enter the home, large cracks at wall and floor joints or dark corners of cabinets where a mouse could have chewed through the wall. Stuff any holes you find full of steel wool to prevent new mice from entering your home.
The reason your houseplant keeps getting dug up is because the mouse in question is using it to store food, so make sure you’re cutting off that supply, as well. If he’s eating the dog’s food, store the bag in an airtight container and feed Fido regular meals, removing any leftovers after he’s had a chance to eat. Mice that are eating human food scraps should be dealt with in the same way — seal your cereal, flours and any other easy to access foods away from the rodent’s sticky fingers.
Sometimes, gardeners will complain of fairly large holes appearing in their outdoor pots early in the morning. If you happen to live near a water source, this phenomenon is probably caused by young toads. As tadpoles mature into the adult toads that anyone would recognize, they go through a number of growth stages. Their last stage is often carried out in moist, loose soil — much like what’s in your outdoor planters. Toads in pots only need a few days to fully mature, and when they do, they leave a big hole behind.
You can discourage toads by covering your planter’s soil with gravel or simply cutting back on the watering. After all, the dry soil won’t support their further development, so it’s no cause for interest.
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It’s impossible not to notice when something is amiss. The best way to be sure you have a rodent problem is if you look for the following signs.
In Britain, the most likely culprit behind a mouse infestation is the wood mouse. It’s no bigger than 10 cm, with a tail, which can be as long as 11 cm. It has huge ears, pointed face and dark brown coat.
Another example is the yellow-necked mouse, which is slightly bigger and has a longer tail. It’s easily identifiable by the yellow band across its chest. In the south of England the wood mouse’s larger cousin, the yellow-necked mouse, sometimes comes into people’s gardens.
There is also the classic house mouse that invades both gardens and properties. It’s the same size as the wood mouse, but with a grey coat. Because they look alike we have created a guide on how to tell house mice from filed mice. Both species can be found all over the UK, while their yellow-necked cousin is more often found in the southern regions. Neither is protected as a species.
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When you first catch sight of a mouse in your home, Warberg Block says the first step is to immediately find out where it came from. "Getting rid of mice is important, but it's not a solution if there is still a revolving door letting more rodents in," she says. "Since mice usually live and eat within a 20-foot area, you shouldn't have to look far." To figure out where it might have been hiding, grab a flashlight and look under your cabinets, sink, appliances (like the stove or dishwasher), and in the backs of drawers and cupboards.
Since mice often seek shelter in the undisturbed parts of your home, Warberg Block notes that you should also check these "hot spots": pantries, voids under or behind cabinets, dryer vents and ventilation systems, basement crawlspaces, attics, and insulation. "If mice are still eluding you, try this super sleuth secret: Sprinkle baby powder or baking powder on the floor wherever you think there may be mice," she adds. "When the mouse comes out of hiding, it will leave a trail of footprints, helping you identify where it came from and where it was headed," she adds.
Have you got a bit of a bare interior? Houseplants can easily fix an empty or cold-looking home by bringing it to life with greenery and, at the right time of year, flowers. I recommend choosing a few plants of different sizes and grouping them together on shelves, tables and in empty corners to bring some dimension to your decor.
Plants not only generate oxygen to help us breathe they also purify the air, according to a well-known NASA study . Having certain houseplants in the home (and looking after them well) helps to reduce the amount of volatile pollutants in the air, including formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene, which are thought to have a negative impact on health with long-term exposure.
If you work or study from home, you might want to do so in a room which also contains plants! This is because a study by The Royal College of Agriculture found that students attending lectures in planted rooms were much more attentive, with distractions reduced by 70%. Interestingly, they also found that students were almost 100% more likely to return to lectures in planted rooms! So not only will you get more work done, you’ll feel more motivated to work when there are plants around.
Have you seen QVC fantastic new range of houseplants? If you’re thinking about adding houseplants to your home – whether you’re already a houseplant fiend or not – getting your houseplants from QVC is convenient and easy, and there’s plenty of choice! Here are a few of my favourites…
This Kalanchoe Dolly potted plant features frilly pink and green double flowers and glossy, well-branched foliage. Tough and very easy to grow, these gorgeous plants make the perfect addition to your patio table or a bright room in your home, and will flower all summer long.
This Begonia Maculata boasts charming spotted green leaves contrasted against a dark red underside as well as clusters of white buds during flowering season. Bring some exotic charm and gorgeous greenery to your home with this delightful house plant.
This gorgeous Gardenia boasts a bouquet of elegantly fragranced creamy-white flowers among a bed of glossy dark green foliage. Brighten up any table or sideboard with this delicate and beautiful plant.
This Calathea orbifolia features lush rounded leaves with elegant silver and green stripes that create a textural, corrugated appearance, with a bushy, clump-forming habit. This tropical native creates a luxuriant, leafy display and thrives in a warm room with good humidity, making it a perfect addition to a bright bathroom or kitchen.
Think you know houseplants? I’ve got an extra hard quiz for you to test your knowledge – and you could even win a Kalanchoe Dolly plant if you take part!
On 30th June 2020 I’ll collect the results and a winner will be picked at random from participants who have scored eight or more (the maximum number of correct answers is nine). Use the form below to take part. To enter this competition you will need to input your first name and email address in the form so that I can contact you if you have won.
If you want to test your plant knowledge, but don’t want to enter the competition or you are based outside of the UK, click here to take an alternative version of the quiz (the questions are the same).
This competition is open to UK entrants only. Prize is one potted Kalanchoe Dolly plant from QVC. No cash alternative. Competition ends at 11:59pm on 30th June 2020. A winner will be picked at random from participants who have scored eight or more (the maximum number of correct answers is nine). To enter this competition you will need to input your first name and email address so that I can contact you if you have won. By entering, you agree to being added to the Mr Plant Geek mailing list, which you can opt out of at any time using a link in the email.
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook. You can also listen to The Plant Based Podcast with Michael and co-host Ellen-Mary on iTunes, Spotify and Google.
A reliable and humane remedy, if you exclude direct contact with the rodent’s fur, which will force uninvited guests to leave your home. Mint essential oil can be used in several ways, for example, add a few drops to the water for washing floors – the main thing is not to overdo it, otherwise, the strong smell will give you a headache. Oil can be moistened napkins and put them in jars, which must be placed in the basement, cellar or shed. A solution with essential oil of mint, water, and alcohol copes well with rodents. To prepare it, you will need 300 ml of water, 10-15 drops of mint essential oil, 10 ml of alcohol. With the help of a spray gun, it is necessary to treat all cracks, floors and other hard-to-reach places where rodents can be found.
Ledum essential oil uses. The pungent smell repels bugs and fleas, so essential oil of ledum disinfect rooms in residential buildings.
Ever since the beginning of social distancing, many of us are stuck inside looking for a new hobby.
We set out and kept busy learning to keep indoor plants alive, and the next thing we knew, we had 45 new plants vying for prime spots at our windows.
We started hanging our plants with lovely hangers and even learning how to macrame our own plant hangers. Now, it’s a current and ongoing obsession if we are honest.
All was well for quite some time until we noticed the stickiness from aphids and a large number of fungus gnats flitting about like they owned the place.
Household pests were on the verge of ruining this fantastic oasis, and something needed to be done.
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These tiny whiteflies tend to hide out on the underside of leaves and fly up in a puff when disturbed. They suck on leaves and stems, weakening plants and causing distortions and discolorations. Whiteflies reproduce very quickly, so catching them early will make eliminating them easier. You can catch them with yellow sticky traps and spray them with either insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. The spray must make contact with the insect to work.