Cacti & Succulents
South Eastern Africa, Zone 9-11
Soft wooded

Bark Type

Soft wooded

No secondary (woody) tissue being formed. The texture is fleshy and is soft, easy to cut.

Growth Habit


A plant that when multiplies forms a clump.
2 - 4 m (7 - 13 ft )
2 m (7 ft)

Plant Overview

This shrub has upright slender stems that branch from the base and form a rounded habit. It has fleshy blue green lanced-shaped toothed leaves in lateral and terminal rosettes and the tube-shaped red flowers appear in dense raceme during spring.  

Aloe arborescens is naturally found in South Africa from Malawi to Mozambique and Zimbabwe growing in well drained, moderately fertile sandy-stony soils in an open sunny position and is light frost and drought resistant.

The Candelabra Plant is grown for its foliage and flowers. It is planted in small or arid gardens, roof gardens and rockeries as a specimen establishing in 1 to 2 years from division. It is suitable for coastal or inland regions and used in dry tropical gardens or as a house plant in cool climates. It has a low water requirement once established. (Scale: 1-drop from 3)

Aloe (AL-oh)  arborescens (ahr-bor-ES-senz)

Plants are classed as succulents as they resemble each other. They have fleshy leaves and stems, which can store water. Most of the succulents are indigenous to semi-arid environments with long dry periods followed by a short wet period. The plants swell absorbing water during these wet periods and reduce evaporation by having a waxy cover over the leaves or the leaves are crowded together in a rosette. Hairs and spines (modified leaves) also reduce the evaporation of water and most succulents form rounded shapes to reduce the surface area of the plant.

The size of the plant and flowering period is difficult to predict with succulents as the environmental factors such as weather and light variations control the flowering period. Soil type and available moisture influence the growth.

Xanthorrhoeaceae (zan-thor-RHO-AY-see-ee)

subsp. Asphodeloideae


These plants occur throughout Australia in heathland and sclerophyll forests. They are also found in adjoining tropical northern islands.

Diagnostic Features

This family consists of tufted xeromorphic perennial herbs with woody rhizomes or a woody stem (caudex) that is erect.

The linear to narrow lanceolate leaves are simple and arranged in rosettes and normally have a harsh texture.

The regularly bisexual or unisexual flowers are arranged in terminal solitary, complex spikes and panicles, which may be large.

There are six perianth segments that are arranged in two separate whorls, the inner and outer and may be attached at the base. There are six stamens, three are attached to the perianth segments and three are free with the anthers dehiscing in longitudinal slits.

The ovary is superior with three fused carpels and has one to three chambers with axil placentas. The style is free or connate and has a three lobed stigma.

The fruit is a capsule, berry or nut containing a few seeds that contain endosperm.

There are 9 genera with around 75 species.


Some of the species are grown as ornamental plants and the inflorescences of Xanthorrhoea is poisonous causing paralysis to grazing cattle.

Plants are classed as succulents as they resemble each other. They have fleshy leaves and stems, which can store water. There are three families, Cactaceae, Crassulaceae and Mesembryanthemaceae in which all the species are succulents.

Most of the succulents are indigenous to semi-arid environments with long dry periods followed by a short wet period. The plants swell absorbing water during these wet periods and reduce evaporation by having a waxy cover over the leaves or the leaves are crowded together in a rosette. Hairs and spines (modified leaves) also reduce the evaporation of water and most succulents form rounded shapes to reduce the surface area of the plant.

The size of the plant and flowering period is difficult to predict with succulents as the environmental factors such as weather and light variations control the flowering period. Soil type and available moisture influence the growth.

This plant tolerates between USDA zones 9a to 11a and grows to 4m (12ft)

Fahrenheit         20º to 45ºF

These temperatures represent the lowest average.

Celsius                 -6.6º to 7.2ºC


All photographs and data are covered by copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, reference or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any means with out written permission. All inquiries should be addressed to attention Peter Kirkland.




The leaf that is not divided.

Leaf Shape


Broadest at the centre, three or more times long as broad (Lance-shape).

Leaf Arrangement


A cluster radiating from a common source.

Leaf Margin


When the leaf margin is sharply indented (like the teeth of a saw).
Blue - green
300 - 600 mm ( 11.8 - 23.6 in )

Additional Information

The blue-green sessile lanceolate leaves have a thick fleshy texture, concave above and slightly arching. The margin is armed with large pointed teeth tapering to an acuminate apex.  



Botanic Flower Description


A flower that forms a tube shape.

Flower Inflorescence


An inflorescence forming along a central stem of indefinite length with flowers having there own stems.
35 - 40 mm ( 1.4 - 1.6 in )

Flowering Season

(Southern Hemisphere)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Additional Information

The long tubulate flowers are red to yellow with short recurved petals and a short pedicle. They are arranged in a dense terminal raceme that is up to 300mm (1ft) long and is held above the foliage on a slender scape during spring.



Fruit Type


A dried dehiscent fruit, with an enclosing membrane normally containing may seeds."
- mm ( 0.0 - 0.0 in )

Fruiting Season

(Southern Hemisphere)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Additional Information

The small loculicidal capsule contains numerous small seeds. The small seeds are viable but the plant is commonly reproduced vegetatively.


Tolerates most well drained moderately fertile sandy-stony loams
Pots, tubs, planter boxes and roof gardens with frost protection
Full sun, open to exposed position, drought, light frost and salt spray tolerant
Scale and mealybugs, bipolaris stem rot, soft brown scale

Cultural Uses

The Candelabra Plant is grown for its foliage and flowers. It is planted in small or arid gardens, roof gardens and rockeries as a specimen establishing in 1 to 2 years from division. It is suitable for coastal or inland regions and used in dry tropical gardens or as a house plant in cool climates.

Cultural notes

Outdoor Cultivation

In warm regions with low humidity, cold and frosty nights with hot sunny days cacti and succulents grow well outdoors. The more humid atmosphere will limit the number of successful species. All of these plants require a very well drained soil and ample sunlight to succeed. Once established these plants require minimal maintenance.

Indoor Cultivation

Cacti and succulents grow well in glasshouses or near a sunny window with some ventilation tolerating a marked difference in day and night temperatures.

Cacti have a rest period during mid winter when they can be stored in a cooler area with reduced watering, once every two months. Protect the plants from freezing temperatures or extreme direct hot sunlight behind glass. All plants prefer a period outdoors during summer.


These plants normally have wet and dry periods. Watering should take place during the growing period of the plant. When new growth appears water well once a week and never water if the soil is already wet or place the pot in a saucer of water. Free drainage is essential for a healthy plant and succulents rot easily in moist humid conditions.

Problems related to watering.

Over watering succulent's results in leaves that wilt and discolour or stems that rot.

Under watering results in a sudden loss of leaves or brown and dry spots on the leaves. Leaves also fall if the water is too cold.


Both clay and plastic pots are suitable. The pot should fit the plant comfortably and not be too big as it may remain moist, rotting the plant. Water only when the soil has dried.

Re-pot only when necessary in to a slightly larger pot for older plants. If the plants are very large replenish the surface soil and thoroughly water.


Not normally required, trim or divide to contain after flowering
Not normally required, if container grown apply liquid fertiliser monthly during the growing period


Sow fresh seed and maintain a temperature of 18º to 21º C. (64º to 75º F).

Division of offsets from spring to early summer and pot up into a well drained media.

Propagation by Seed


In order for a seed to germinate it must fulfil three conditions.

1. The embryo must be alive (a viable seed).

2. The seed must have no dormancy-inducing physiological, physical or chemical barrier to germination; also the seed must be nondormant.

3. The seed must have the appropriate environmental requirements, water, temperature and oxygen.

The interaction between these requirements and dormancy is complex and may lead to different environmental requirements that avoid the dormancy of a seed.

Sowing Seeds in Containers

There are two general methods for germinating seeds.

Seeds in a flat or germinating bed, through which seedlings are pricked-out then, transplanted into another flat with wider spacing or directly to an individual pot.

2. Sowing seeds by placing them in to flats with the appropriate spacing or into individual pots.

This method is normally carried out with medium to large seeds such as woody plants and plants that are difficult to transplant.  

Seedling production normally occurs in a greenhouse / glasshouse, cold frames and on hot beds.

Method of Seed Sowing

Fine seed is sown in pots or flats that are no deeper than 70 to 80mm. using a sterilised well-drained media (soil). Fill the container to 20mm from the top and sprinkle sieved peat to 3mm depth.

Press the media down level and firm with a piece of timber and then thoroughly moisten.

Mix the fine seed with washed sand and then sow thinly on the surface. These may be lightly covered with sand.

Larger seeds may be covered with media or a hole is dibbled and the seed is placed in the media.

Watering Methods

For watering you may either mist the containers from above or place the container in tepid water and allow the water to raise through the pot to the surface of the media, then drain away and do not fill to the top of the container.

Place a piece of glass over the pot and store in a protected warm environment (glasshouse).

Seeds germinate best in darkness so shade the containers if in direct sunlight.

After the seedlings have sprouted remove the glass and ease the seedlings into direct light.

When the seedlings are large enough prick them out and transplant into larger containers then place them in a shade house to harden off.

Many seeds have different methods of seed preparation for germination such as nicking or cutting the seed coat to allow water penetration, also placing seeds in hot water and allowing it to cool off.

This is particularly important as it is softening the seed coat.

Natural layering


These are stems that grow horizontal from the mother plant and form new plants from a node that form it's own root system. When these daughter plants root up in the soil they are dug up and planted as a new plant.


These are modified stems that grow horizontal to the ground or under the ground with nodes that can produce new plants as in a potato tuber. These can be cut away from the mother plant and form a new plant.


This is a lateral shoot that forms from at the base of the mother plant. Often referred to in bulbs as bulblets or lateral branching in monocotyledons, which appear as thickened stems and are removed close to the main stem. These natural methods are slow but microporpagation in aseptic culture has greatly enhanced production.


The true meaning of a sucker is a shoot that comes from an adventitious bud on the roots, but generally it is referred to any shoots that arise from the crown of the plant. A sucker may be also seen as any shoot on a rootstock that is below the

grafted section.

The method of removal is to dig out and cut it away from the mother plant with some roots attached to its base. It is then treated as a cutting, potted up and kept moist. This operation is normally carried out during the dormant period of the plant.

Crown Division

The crown is the part of the plant at the surface of the soil where new shoots arise. With lateral shoots the crown of some plants requires division when they become crowded.

Herbaceous perennials and multi-branched woody shrubs may develop large crowns that need dividing.

It is a simple method of propagation that is used by amateurs and professionals for a small increase in plants.

Plants that flower during spring to summer are divided during autumn and if flowering in summer to autumn they are divided in spring. The crown is dug up then cut with a knife in to sections, which has a shoot and abundant roots then planted or potted up. The crown may also be divided in some species by using a shovel to cut and dig sections out.


Scale Insect
Various Scale Species



     Scale Insect

     Various Scale Species



Description of the Pest

Generally scales are soft bodied insects that have a hard (armoured) or soft covering to hide under. They have piercing and sucking mouth parts that are attached to the host, feed off sap and soft scales commonly producing sweet honeydew, which in turn attracts sooty mould and ants.

The adult female has a circular or oval covering depending on the species and is up to 8mm across. The first stage (crawlers) hatch and wander around the leaf surface until finding a suitable place to suck sap, normally in colonies and the smaller male is relatively inconspicuous.

Hard Scale                   Soft Scale, attending Ants

Cactus Scale (Diaspis echinocacti) has a circular greyish female and a narrow white male scale and is commonly found on house plants.

Chain Scales (Pulvinaria species) adult females are obvious with large group of eggs that are white or cottony-like, and the tiny young light green scales are flat and oval-shaped up to 2mm long. The legged nymphs are normally arranged from head to tail along the mid rib of the leaf, and may move to a new position to feed. They excrete honeydew and attract sooty mould and are found on Acacia and Acronychia species.

Chinese Wax Scale

Chinese Wax Scale (Ceroplastes sinensis) is a domed wax scale that has dark spots around its margin and immature scales form waxy material around there margins.

Fern Scale on Aspidistra elatior

Fern Scale or Coconut Scale (Pinnaspis aspidistrae) appears as flecks up to 0.15mm long with a white covering over the male congregating on the underside of the fronds on the axils and among the sporangia causing them to turn yellow. Many species of fern are susceptible to infestation.

                  Flat Brown Scale

Flat Brown Scale (Eucalymnatus tessellates) are light brown up to 0.5mm long, flat and closely attached both sides of the leaf and causing yellowing of the foliage.

Juniper Scale (Diaspis carueli) is tiny and circular, white maturing to grey-black and as it feeds the needles turn yellow and die.

Oleander Scale (Aspidiotus hederae) is a pale yellow circular scale up to 3mm across and is found in dense colonies on the stem or leaves.

Tea-tree Scale (Eriococcus orariensis) are a creamy blue colour normally packed along the branches and are plump and rounded to 4mm across.

                  Wattle Tick Scale

Tick or Wattle Scale (Cryptes baccatus) adult is domed, blue-slate colour with a leathery covering up to 10mm long. All stages of growth are found in groups of over forty, packed along the stems and normally tended by ants as they produce large amounts of honeydew. A serious pest of Acacia species found inland or coastal from temperate to sub tropical climates and commonly accompanied by Sooty Mould.

Toxic Scale (Hemiberlesia lataniae) is a tiny flat rounded scale up to 0.15mm long and is white to pale pink. It is normally found in colonies on the small branches and twigs of shrubs. It injects a toxic substance into the host as it sucks sap causing the death of the branch.

Wattle Scale (Pseudococcus albizziae) is soft, plump and secrets cotton-like threads. It is not a true scale insect and is simular to mealy bugs. It is reddish-brown up to 0.4mm long and secrets large amounts of honeydew as it sucks sap in colonies along the branches.

Life Cycle

These insects have a Hemimetabolous life cycle, ie. When the immature nymphs resemble the adults.

Appearance of the Pest

All parts of the plant above the soil may be attacked, but normally the stems and leaves and scale tends to favour well-lit positions.

Period of Activity

The nymphs and females are active for most of the year, in warm climates. Once they selected a position they attach and don't move. Normally the winged or wingless males are mobile and only soft scales produce honeydew.

Susceptible Plants

There is a wide range of susceptible plants including citrus, willows, holly, and many ornamentals, such as roses or Paeonia species. It also attacks indoor or glasshouse plants and Australian native plants such as wattles, hakeas, grevilleas and eucalyptus.

Acacia species are attacked by the Tick or Wattle Scale, which infest twigs and small branches and heavy infestations will kill the host plant.

Acer species are attacked by the Cotton Maple Scale (Pulvinaria innumerabilia) which prefers Acer saccharinum. Nymphs first attack the leaves and the brown adult scale is covered in a woolly mass up to 14mm across, normally found on the underside of the stems and twigs.

Acmena smithii, Melaleuca, Syzygium and Pittosporum species are attacked by the Chinese Wax Scale.

Aesculus species are attacked by several scale insects including the Walnut Scale (Aspidiotus juglans-regiae) which is saucer-shaped and attacks the main trunks.

Agave species are susceptible to several types of scale including (Aspidiotus nerii), (Aonidiella aurantii) and (Pinnaspis strachani), but generally do not require control.

Asplenium australasicum

Asplenium australasicum is susceptible to Coconut Scale or Fern Scale (Pinnaspis aspidistrae). It is normally found on the under side of the fronds. Small infestations cause little damage.

Bougainvillea species may be attacked by the soft scale (Coccus hesperidum) outdoors or under glass.

Calluna and Vaccinium species are attacked by the Oyster Shell Scale (Lepidosaphes ulmi).

Camellia species may be attacked by the Florida Red Scale (Chrysomphalus aonidum), which is small, circular and black and is found firmly attached to the underside of the leaf along the veins. On inspection after removing the scale the insect has a pale yellow body. Camellias are also attacked by a large variety of scale insects including Tea Scale and Camellia Scale.

Carpinus species may be attacked by the scale (Phenacoccus acericola). It is found on the underside of the leaves forming a white cotton-like clump along the veins.

Casuarina and Allocasuarina species may be attacked by the Casuarina Scale (Frenchia casuarinae), a black hard scale that is upright to 4mm with a pinkish body. During attachment the surrounding tissue swells up and in time can, form galls. This weakens the wood and in severe infestations may kill the tree.

Cotoneaster species are attacked by up to four species of scale including the Oyster Shell Scale (Lepidosaphes ulmi).

Cupressus species are attacked by Bark Scale (Ehrhornia cupressi) is pink and covered in white wax. Heavy infestations cause the leaves to turn yellow or reddish.

Flat Brown Scale on Cycas revoluta

Cycads, palms and some species of Callistemon are attacked by the Flat Brown Scale.

Erica species are attacked by several species of scale including, Greedy, Oleander and Oystershell scale.

Jasminum species can be infested with up to twelve types of scale.

Juniperus x media and other conifer species are attacked by the Juniper Scale.

Leptospermum species are attacked by the Tea-tree Scale which produces ample honey dew that promotes sooty mould.

Palm and Fern species are susceptible to attack by the Coconut Scale or Fern Scale (Pinnaspis aspidistrae) which infests the underside of the leaves. They are also hosts for many other scale species such as red, cottony cushion and tea scale.

Pinus species are attacked by several species of scale including the Pine Tortoise Scale (Toumeyella numismaticum) and the Red Pine Scale (Matsucoccus resinosae).

Sorbus aucuparia is attacked by a five species of scale insect, including Black Cottony Maple, San Jose and Scurfy. Generally they suck on the sap of the new growth and leaves.

Strelitzia species are attacked by the Greedy Scale (Aspidiotus camelliae).

Damage Caused

Leaves become yellow and are shed prematurely and there may be twig or stem die-back. When the infestation occurs on fruit, the fruit is small and its skin becomes pitted and cracked. Small trees and saplings that are heavily infested may be seriously damaged or die. Sooty mould can cover fruit or leaves causing a secondary problem.

Cactus Scale can completely cover the host cactus sucking sap and causing it to die.

Cultural Control

Dead or damaged parts of the plant should be removed and destroyed including fallen fruit. Small infestations may be removed by hand or squashed on the stems. Healthy plants are less susceptible to attack, so maintain vigour of the plant and avoid using high-nitrogen fertiliser that produces excessive soft young growth.

When pruning susceptible plants paint the cuts with antifungal sealant paint as scale insects are attracted to the sweet smell of the sap. This will reduce the infection rate of the plant.

Biological Control

Natural predators such as parasitic wasps may reduce numbers of active nymphs; parasitic wasps are bred commercially in some areas for this purpose. It should be noted, however, that wasps would avoid dusty conditions.

Other predators that assist in control are assassin bugs, ladybirds, lacewings, hover flies and scale eating caterpillars. A variety of birds also attack scales.

The control of ants that transport aphid from one host to another also reduces infestation and can be carried out by applying at least three greased bandages 5mm apart around the stem or trunk of the plant.

Chemical Control

Spray the entire plant with dilute white oil solution; a follow-up spray may be required after four weeks, for heavy infestations. Spraying of chemicals will also kill of natural predators and in some cases the secondary scale infestation is more prolific especially when using copper based chemicals.

Some chemical controls, such as methidathion, are available - please seek advice from your local nursery as to the suitable product for your area.


Always read the label for registration details and direction of use prior to application of any chemicals.

Soft Brown Scale
Coccus hesperidium



     Soft Brown Scale

     Coccus hesperidium





Description of the Pest

The mature female is soft, yellow-brown or dark brown scale, oval-shaped and 3-5mm long. The scale produces honeydew, which attracts ants.

Appearance and Distribution of the Pest

Known worldwide, this scale is found throughout Australia but primarily seen in warm, dry areas of eastern Australia.

                  Lophostemon confertus

Life Cycle

This insect has a Hemimetabolous life cycle, ie. When the immature nymphs resemble the adults.

Females produce 1-2 eggs each day; several generations occur annually.

Period of Activity

Most activity occurs during the warmer months.

Damage Caused

Damage is caused by the sap-sucking of nymphs and adults, especially on plant shoots and leaf mid-ribs and stalks. Sooty mould is caused by honeydew production. Leaves and stems have an unattractive appearance as a result of a heavy coverage of sooty mould.

Attached to midrib          Sooty Mould

Susceptible Plants

There are many plants that are susceptible to this pest, including Citrus, Ficus, Camellia species, Nerium oleander, Lophostemon confertus and many fern or orchid species.

Araucaria heterophylla, Aloe, Arctostaphylos, Clerodendrum and Senna species are also susceptible to infestation.

Cultural Control

Rub off by hand, if numbers are small.

Biological Control

Ladybeetle larvae and adults, parasitic wasps and predatory caterpillars normally control the scale.

  Ladybeetle larvae

Chemical Control

Spray with white oil in Summer.


Always read the label for registration details and direction of use prior to application of any chemicals.

Cervus species

Note: Plants affected by this pest are Deer Resistant plants not the susceptible plants.





     Cervus species







Description of the Pest

There are two species of the deer in North America, the Whitetail (Odocoileus virginianus) and the Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) with several regional variations such as the Pacific coastal Blacktail (O.h. columbianus) which is regarded as a sub-species of the Mule deer.


The Whitetail on average grows to 112 cm (44in) tall and 180 mm (70 in) long and weigh 68 kgs (150lbs). The fir colour varies according to its environment but generally it is reddish-brown during summer and grey-brown in winter with a pure white underside on its tail. When the tail is erect it is known as the "white flag". Its antlers consist of two main beams from which the points emerge.


The Mule deer grow to 105 cm (42 in) tall and are up to 200 cm (80 in) long with the adult buck weighing up to 137 kgs (300 lbs) and the does up to 80 kgs (175 lbs). The fir is generally tawny brown during summer and during winter it has a heaver grey-brown to blue-grey coat with a small white tail that is tipped in black. The other distinguishing features are its ears that are up to 300 mm (1 ft) long (mule-like) and its antlers, with the two beams that are forked into smaller beams, which inturn fork again and again.


The Blacktail deer (Pacific coastal Blacktail) grows to 97 cm (38 in) tall and is up to 105 cm (60 in) long and weighs on average 73 kgs (160 lbs). The fir is generally tawny brown during summer and during winter it has a heaver grey-brown to blue-grey coat with a tail that is dark brown at the base then changing to black for 50% of its length. The antlers consist of two beams that are forked into smaller beams, which inturn fork again and again.


Appearance and Distribution of the Pest

The Whitetail deer are found throughout eastern United States, on the coast and inland but are not commonly seen in California, Utah or Nevada. They do not migrate but congregate together (yard up) during winter and feed in a part of their existing territory.


The Mule Deer are found in the western part of North America from South eastern Alaska to Mexico and from the Pacific coast to Texas. They migrate from highland mountain meadows to southern or lower snow free forested valleys during winter.


The Blacktail deer are found on the Pacific coast from Alaska to northern California. There is both resident and migratory Blacktails. The  migratory Blacktails move southwards during late autumn at the first sigh of snow or heavy sustained rain and the resident Blacktails seek cover their existing territory amongst woodlands during the winter months.  


Life Cycle

All Deer breed from autumn to early winter and the does give birth from late spring to early summer.


Period of Activity

Deer are most active from spring to autumn but can be troublesome during winter when the feed is scarce. In some regions urban landscapes become the major food source both in summer and winter.


Damage Caused

Browsing deer will feed on almost any plant and is most commonly noticeable during spring feeding on the new growth or twigs and stems leaving a shredded appearance. Deer also rub their antlers against trees damaging bark and snapping off small branches, this action also incurs damage under hoof as plants, lawns and garden structures are trampled on.


Susceptible Plants

Some plants are more palatable to deer but when a deer is hungry or during drought conditions there are no "Deer Proof" plants. There is a range of plants that have a bad taste and are not destroyed and are regarded as (deer resistant plants). Deer resistant plants are the plants that are attached to this file not the susceptible plants.


Cultural Control

There are many cultural controls that have been tried to move browsing deer such as frightening them with strobe lights, pyrotechnics or tethered savage dogs. These actions are only temporary and may cause more trouble as the stampeding animals move off. Fencing and netting can be an effective method of discouraging hungry deer from gardens but may be expensive on a large scale and require maintenance. There are several types of fences which include conventional 2.2m (8 ft) deer-proof woven wire fences or single-wire electric fences and slanted deer fences. Plant selection can also be effective, by using less desirable plants (deer resistant plants) as an outer border to the more desirable plant species and  thus discouraging the deer to enter the garden. Hedges and windrows of less desirable thorny plants can also be a deterrent to browsing deer.


Chemical Control

There are two main types of repellents contact and area. Contact repellents are applied directly to the plants and deter deer with a bad taste or smell. They can be applied by rubbing or spraying on to the plants and commonly used in an egg mixture. The commercial products have proven to work better than home remedies which include soap or chilli mixtures and hanging bags of human hair.

Area repellents rely on an offensive odour and are placed around areas that are frequently visited.


Contact your local distributor for available types and application.

Various Mealybug Species




     Various Mealybug Species





Description of the Pest

Adult females are 3-5mm long, flattened oval-shaped white insects, which secrete a white, mealy wax that forms a row of hair-like filaments of fairly uniform length around the edge of the body; the hind end bears one or two pairs of filaments that are longer than the others. They are mobile but slow-moving. The seldom-seen adult males are tiny winged insects with a pair of long waxy tail filaments. Early stage nymphs are tiny, pink and mobile; later stages resemble adult females.


There are many types of mealybugs including;

·        Longtailed Mealybugs (Pseudococcus longispinus) generally have tail filaments that are longer than there body. If squashed yellow body fluid is revealed and the eggs are laid under the body and normally hatch immediately.

·        Citrus Mealybug (Planococcus citri). This insect has tail filaments that are less than 1/3 the length of its body. It produces yellow orange body fluid and lays eggs in a cottony mass.

·        Citrophilous Mealybug ( Pseudococcus calceolariae). This insect has tail filaments that are about 1/3 the length of its body. It produces dark red body fluid and the eggs are laid in a cottony sac.

·        Root Mealybug (Rhizeocus falcifer). This insect is not normally seen but produces a open white mass as it feeds on the outer or terminal roots, normally container plants, particularly cacti species. The eggs are laid in the waxy mass and adults may dispersed by ants.

·        Hibiscus Mealybug (Maconellicoccus hirsutus)

·        Tuber Mealybug (Pseudococcus affinis)

The Mealybugs (Pseudococcus  adonidum) and (Planococcus citri) are a major pest of cacti species,  sucking sap and turning the infected area yellow. These pests are also found on Strelitzia, Camellia and Yucca species.

Appearance and Distribution of the Pest

Mealy bugs are found worldwide. The above ground species are found in sheltered areas such as under a leaf or in leaf bases. They are also found where two fruits or leaves touch and are not readily noticeable.

The below ground species are only found when a plant is re-potted or the infected plant wilts and dies. Mealybugs are distributed several ways including slowly walking to a new host or transferred on clothing, contaminated plants or strong wind and on visiting insects. They are also farmed by ants which in a nursery situation infest pots by tunnelling and carrying mealybugs to the roots.

Attending Ants

Life Cycle

These insects have a Hemimetabolous life cycle, ie. When the immature nymphs resemble the adults.

Up to 200 young are produced in 2-3 weeks; eggs may hatch as they are being laid. The life cycle includes eggs, nymphs (3 to 4 stages) to adult takes 6 weeks, in warmer months; several generations appear throughout the year.

Period of Activity

Active all year, particularly in spring and autumn. Warm, humid conditions are preferred and the insect overwinter outdoors as eggs. These may be found on surrounding weeds. In Citrus species many longtailed mealybugs overwinter as juveniles, maturing during spring. In a Glasshouse conditions mealybugs are active through the year.

Damage Caused

Adults and nymphs suck sap, congregating in sheltered parts of the plants; some species feed undetected on roots. Early infestations may go unnoticed until the plant begins to wilt. The insect also produces honeydew, which gives rise to sooty mould.

         Clivia miniata

Susceptible Plants

Mealybugs are found on a wide variety of trees and shrubs. They are also destructive to many ornamentals; including indoor plants (especially African violets and ferns), and are a major greenhouse pest.

Cactus species

Many species of mealybug are common pest of cactus and succulents.  The small, grey to light brown mealy bugs are difficult to see amongst the spines. Nesting females appear as the small balls of white fluff on cactus spines or around the base and under the rim of the pots.  The female will produce eggs or living nymphs and the insect will produce honeydew that attracts ants.  Ants should be discouraged as they farm mealy bugs, moving them from one place to another in a cactus collection.

Cactus is also attacked by the root mealybugs that infest the roots of plants and their damage allows fungal and bacterial infections to enter the plant tissue.  They can be identified by white fluffy deposits in the soil or underneath a pot and appeared as tiny pinkish brown wood lice up to 3 mm long.

Catalpa species are susceptible to the mealybug (Pseudococcus comstocki) which is a wax covered mealybug that causes distorted growth of the branches and branchlets.

Fern species are commonly attacked by mealy bugs and can be recognised by small white, waxy secretions as it feeds in the crevices at vein junctions or on the exposed rhizome.

Hedera and Crassula species are susceptible to three species of mealybugs including Citrus Mealybug (Planococcus citri) and not normally requiring control.

Laburnum anagyroides is infested with the Grape Mealybug (Pseudococcus maritimus) infesting the branches and twigs.

Plumeria acutifolia becomes infested with mealybugs on the new growth but normally control is not required.

Psidium species are attacked by the Longtailed Mealybugs (Pseudococcus longispinus).

Sequoia species are attacked by three species of Mealybugs including (Planococcus citri).

Thymus species are attacked by the Root Mealybug (Rhizeocus falcifer).

Thuja species Cupressus macrocarpa and Araucaria heterophylla are can be infested with the mealybugs (Pseudococcus ryani).

Turf Grass may be infested with mealybugs causing severs damage and often go undetected and build up large colonies quickly. The turf forms brown dry patches and looks simular to Dollar Spot the infestation may also occur around core holes and can be discouraged by generous watering. Agrostis palustris (Bent) and Cynodon species (Couch) are commonly attacked.

Yucca species are attacked by the mealybug (Planococcus citri).

Cultural Control

Small plants may be sprayed with a soapy water solution or sponged down preferably during the evening. Heavily infected areas should be pruned and destroyed or the whole plant removed. Infested pot-plants should be discarded and thoroughly disinfect pots before recycling). Maintain vigour by watering to replace sap loss, this helps infected plants to recover.

As a preventative measure for root mealybugs grind up mothballs and add them to the potting mix to discourage infestations.  Care should be taken as the chemicals in mothballs can damage plastic pots (use clay pots) and in some countries such as the UK. mothballs must be used as directed on the label.

Biological Control

Lacewing and ladybeetle larvae (Cryptolaemus montrouzeri) control small infestations. This predator insect requires temperatures of at least 21° C. (70°F) and in small infestations it is difficult to maintain a balance between predator and prey.  


Ladybird beetle larvae eats Mealybugs                              Ladybird beetle up to 4 mm long

Chemical Control

Spray with white oil may have an effect on the population or spray Omethoate. Contact insecticides are usually ineffective because of the insect's protective waxy coating.


Always read the label for registration details and direction of use prior to application of any chemicals.


Fungi (General)
Various Fungal species



     Fungi (General)

     Various Fungal species


A fungus is a plant that lacks chlorophyll and conductive tissue. Generally they are made up of branched threads called 'hyphae' and collectively form a vegetative body called 'mycelium'. The fungus is small but the fruiting bodies can become very large up to 600mm across such as bracket fungi or mushrooms. Common fungi are mould and mildews. problem that attacks the roots causing them to rot.

Fungus can reproduce many ways but primarily it is asexually, simular to cuttings of a plant and often occurs with minute portions of the mycelium (spores) separating. The spores can be arranged in a structure such as a sporangia or pycnidia or develop without an enclosed structure called a "conidia". Either way the fungus propagates very rapidly.  Sexually reproduction occurs when two nuclei unite and form sexual fruiting bodies (zygospore).

Strelitzia reginae flower


Fungus attacks all the above or below ground level parts of the plant living within the tissue of the plant and are very small and not normally detected until the fruiting body appears. However parasitic types such as powdery mildew or rust are visible on the outer surface of the plant.

Fungi hyphae may be divided by cross walls and known as "septate" while others with no cross walls are known as "nonseptate". These are the fungi responsible for cell leakage as in rot.

Back Mold (Chalariopsis thielavioides) affects understocks of grafted Rosa species by inhibiting the development of callus. It is whitish-grey maturing to black and can be found in the pith of the rose stem.

Black Root Rot (Chalara elegans).This recently introduced fungal disease in Australia (1993) affect plants by blackening the root systems and turning leaves yellow or purple. It is difficult to identify specifically as other pathogenic root diseases and nutritional deficiencies have simular characteristics.  

The asexual spores are dispersed by wind or water. It is also transmitted on insects and in contaminated growing media or plants preferring humid moist conditions.

This fungus affects a wide range of ornamental plants including; annuals, perennials and shrubs. Examples are Begonia, Boronia, Camellia, Cyclamen, Fuchsia, Gerbera, Grevillea, Impatiens, Pansy, Petunia, Rosa species and Snapdragon.

Black Stem Rot (Pythium splendens) normally is a rot that occurs in cuttings turning the stem progressively black and shrunken. The leaves fall and the plant becomes stunted, eventually dieing.

Bleeding Necrosis (Botyosphaeria ribis) attacks and kills the inner wood causing the bark to split open and bleed sap giving it an oily appearance.

Blight (Endothia parasitica) is a serious pest of Castanea species, entering the twigs and small branches, and then progressively travelling throughout the tree killing it. It may form cankers on the base of the trunk or in the dead branches above with the amber coloured fruiting bodies pushing there way through the bark.

Copper Web ((Rhizoctonia crocorum). This fungal disease appears in defined patches causing the corms in the centre to become a black powdery mass. Corms on the outer ring of the patch that are partially infected forming a felty mass of violet threads on the corm scales. These threads extend into the soil and large sclerotia forms in the soil and on the corms. Healthy corms become infected from contaminated soil that contains mycelium and sclerotia.

Dry Rot (Phyllosticta concave) forms small circular spots that increase to a diameter of 30mm, and then becomes sunken as the cells collapse. The infected area develops minute black fruiting bodies.

Dutch Elm Disease (Ceratocystis ulmi) is a serious fungal problem of Ulmus species that initially causes yellowing then wilting of the leaves that turn brown and die. This may be seen on certain branches of the tree and on inspection under the bark the sapwood reveals brown streaks. A cross section of the affected branch displays round spots that are dark brown. This infection normally spreads quickly throughout, killing the tree in one to two seasons.

Dieback in Camellia (Glomerella cingulate) is a pathogenic fungus that infecting existing wounds such as leaf scars or mechanical damage, forming a sunken area (canker) that spreads around the stem causing die back. The affected plant has new shoots that are brown-black and the tips curl, forming a 'Shepard's Crook' appearance. The leaves also die but are persistent on the plant and the spores are found in soil or on other infected plants.

Curvularia Leaf Spot (Curvularia species) in Turf Grass. This is normally a secondary weak fungal infection that forms spots on the leaves that lengthens turning the leaves greyish. The leaf shrivels then dies and infected areas appear as weak patches in the turf. Preventive measures include minimising leaf wetness and excessive use of nitrogen fertiliser.

Fairy Rings Blue Couch     

Fairy Rings are a fungal problem in Turf Grass and is caused by several species including (Lycoperdon species), (Marasmius species) and (Tricholoma species). Rings appear in the turf as fruiting bodies or dead grass and as lush green foliage. The mycelia expand radially in the turf feeding on soil nutrients and organic matter with water present.

Under severs conditions the mycelia consume all available nutrients resulting in the death of the turf. Lush turf can result from a less developed infection, where the decomposing hyphal releases nitrogen. This available nitrogen may be beneficial to the turf but some forms of nitrogen are detrimental.

Leaf Blister (Taphrina coerulescens) appears as yellowish circular raised areas on the upper side and depressions on the underside of leaves, up to 15mm across. As the fungus spreads the leaf dies but remains attached to the tree and this infection is commonly found on Quercus species..

Leaf Blotch (Guignardia aesculi) forms small or large water soaked spots that are reddish with a bright yellow margin and form black fruiting bodies in the centre. The affected leaf and petiole have a scorched appearance before falling, found on Aesculus species

Grevillea robusta     Leaf Scorch

Leaf Scorch (Verrucispora proteacearum) is a fungal disease that infects leaves causing large parts of the leaf to turn grey-brown, giving the appearance that it has been singed by fire. Black fruiting bodies appear on the affected areas and the leaf soon withers then dies. New, mature leaves are affected during very wet periods towards the end of the branches and Grevillea and Hakea species are susceptible.

Melting Out (Helminthosporium vegans) forms bluish black spots with straw coloured centres on the leaves and may be found on the sheath, encircling it causing Foot Rot. It infects grasses particularly Poa pratensis. There is another fungus that is simular Helminthosporium Blight (Helminthosporium dictyoides) that infects Poa, Festuca and Agrostis species.

Pad decay (Aspergilus alliaceus) infects Cereus and Opuntia species and occurs at during periods of high temperature.  The yellow spores at the epidermal layer through wounds and germinate on mass causing the area to become soft and spongy. An anthracnose called Shot Hole is a similar forming brownish spots the turn grey, and then black destroying pads. Control methods include physically removing damaged pads and allowing the Sun to heal wounds.

Potato Gangrene (Phoma foveate) is a soil borne fungus that infects the roots during harvest primarly through wounds and develops during storage. The potatoes rot from the inside forming rounded depressions on the surface and have a strong odour of rotten fish.

Root Rot Fungi (Phymatotrichum omnivorum) and (Pellicularia filamentosa) cause the roots to rot and the plant suddenly wilts then dies.

Root Rot (Pythium debaryanum) forms water soaked dark brown streaks that affect all parts of the plant causing wilting then dieing. It infects Ranunculus species, it also infects cactus species by forming brown spotting and wilting that appears at the base of the plant then extends towards the top. It quickly spreads from plant to plant in collections and is controlled by avoiding over watering, excessive humidity and are using a sterilised soil when potting up.

This fungus also is responsible for damping off of seedlings in a glasshouse environment.

Spring Dead Spot     

Spring Dead Spot (Leptosphaeri species) is a fungal disease that infects Couch Grass. It first appears during autumn as pale bleaches areas up to 500mm (20in) wide and persists throughout winter. In spring the affected areas do not recover or recover slowly and on inspection the roots or rhizomes are rotted. Runners from the surrounding healthy turf will help with recovery and all signs of the problem disappear by mid summer.

Cactus species      Pachypodium species

Stem Rot (Helminthosporium cactivorum) forms well defined yellow lesions that mature into soft dark brown rot. It commonly infects Cactus species entering through the stomates or wounds. Heavily infected plants collapse and die.

Stem Rot or Basal Rot (Pellicularia rolfsii) is a soil borne fungus that infects the stem root junction and extends into the leaves. In orchids the leaves become discoloured, dry and detach from the base which is covered in a fungal growth that produces sclerotia. The sclerotia is whitish to yellow then becoming dark brown and can be viable for up to four years.

White Mold  (Ramularia desta f. odorati) occurs on both sides of the leaf and looks simular to powdery mildew but forms faint dull, reddish brown elongated spots on the leaf that may be depressed or along the margin where they have a watery appearance. Tufts of hyphae develop in the stomates.

Wilt (Ceratocystis fagacearum) causes leaves to curl then turn brown and the sap wood may also turn brown or black. Heavy infection may kill a tree within two seasons and is found on Quercus species and other ornamental trees.

Witches Broom may be a fungal problem that causes a proliferation of small axillary shoots to appear at the end of the branches. Little is known about this problem, though it affects a wide range of plants including Eucalyptus, Leptospermum and Pinus species.

Source and Dispersal

Fungus is found in the soil or on other infected plants and after releasing the spores, they are dispersed by wind or are transmitted in infected stock, insects and with splashing water.

Wilt is transmitted by infected root stocks, several species of insect and contaminated tools.

Dutch Elm Disease is transmitted by bark beetles such as (Scolytus multistriatus) and (Hylurgopinus rufipes). These beetles deposit eggs in the sapwood where the lava tunnel and pupate. The emerging beetles tunnel the bark and carry the fungus to fresh feeding sites on the tree. Infected beetles may also be transported to fresh sites in waist material.

Favoured Conditions

Prefers cool moist conditions with temperatures from 10º to 25ºC and is more common from autumn to spring when it is wet.    


Affected Plants

A wide range of plants and all parts can be infected by various fungal diseases. Bleeding Necrosis is found in Liquidambar species and Stem Rot or Dry Rot infects Cactus species such as Opuntia and Pelargonium.

Abies species are infected by several fungi that cause Leaf Cast which turn the needles yellow to brown then fall prematurely.

Abutilon species are infected by the Stem Rot (Macrophomina phaseolin) affecting the lower stems and is not commonly seen.

Achillea, Cuphea, Leucanthemum, Euphorbia species are infected by the Stem Rot (Pellicularia filamentosa) which enters through the roots and rots the base of the stem.

Alternanthera species are infected by the Leaf Blight (Phyllosticta amaranthi) which forms small brown spots on the leaves causing them to curl and die.

Aloe, Astrophytum, Copiapoa, Echinocactus, Espostoa, Ferocactus, Gymnocalycium, Kalanchoe and Schlumbergerera species are infected by Bipolaris Stem Rot (Bipolaris cactivora). This infection affects many cacti species causing rot in the stems with a blackish appearance.

Amelanchler is affected by the Witches Broom (Apiosporina collinsii).

Antirrhinum species are infected by the Blight (Phyllosticta antirrhini) that forms light brown spots on the upper-side of the leaf and on the stem. As the spots enlarge they turn greyish with black fruiting bodies in the centre, then become brown and killing the affected areas.

Begonia species are infected by the Stem Rot (Pythium ultimum) turning stems black then becoming soft and causing the plant to collapse. This is the same fungus that causes Damping-off.

Betula species are affected by the Leaf Blister (Taphrina bacteriosperma) which curls the leaves and forms reddish blisters.

Chamaedorea and other cain-like species are infected with Gliocladium Stem Rot (Gliocladium vermoseni) which forms a dark basil stem rot generally on damaged plants and produces orange-pink spores.  The mature leaves are first affected and eventually the stems or cains rot and die.

Crocus and Gladiolus species are infected by the Dry Rot (Stromatinia gladioli), which causes lesions on the corms and rots the leaf sheath.

Crocus, Iris, Tulipa, and Narcissus species are infected Copper Web ((Rhizoctonia crocorum).

Dianthus species are infected by Phialophora Wilt (Phialophora cinerescens) that causes the leaves to fade and plants to wilt. There is obvious vascular discoloration which is very dark. It is not found in Australia.

Erythrina x sykesii may be infected by the Root Rot Fungi (Phymatotrichum omnivorum).

Fern species are infected by Tip Blight (Phyllosticta pteridis). This blight produces ash-grey spots with purple brown margins and the fruiting bodies appear as black pimple like spots.  It is transmitted by air or moisture and in infected fronds become brown and die.  Control methods include sprang fungicide on leaves or reducing humidity and avoid wetting the fronds.

Forsythia species are infected by Stem Gall (Phomopsis species). It forms rounded growths along the stems causing them to die and look unsightly.

Gladiolus species are infected by Penicillium Rot of Corms (Penicillium gladioli). This disease forms deeply sunken reddish brown areas that become corky and produce a greenish fungal growth.

Hedera species are susceptible to several Fungal Leaf Spots including (Glomerella cingulate), (Phyllosticta concentrica) and (Ramularia hedericola). All of which cause yellowish spots that develop into dry brown blotches that kill the leaf.

Larix species are susceptible to Leaf Cast (Hypodermella laricis). This fungus attacks the needles and spur shoots turning them yellow at first then brown after which small black fruiting bodies appear on the leaves during winter.

There are several other fungi including (Cladosporium species) and (Lophodermium laricis) cause leaf blight or leaf casts.

Orchids such as Cattleya, Cymbidium, Cypripedium, Dendrobium, Epidendrum, Oncidium, Paphiopedilum, Phalaenopsis and Zygopetalum species are infected by Phomopsis Rot (Phomopsis species). This fungal problem forms a firm brown rot that appears on the leaves, pseudobulbs and rhizomes. The affected areas have yellow margins and the centre is covered in tiny black specks (fruiting bodies). Cattleya species are particularly susceptible. These plants are also infected by Psudobulb Rot (Mycolleptodiscus coloratus implicated). Dark spots appear on the pseudobulbs eventually causing extensive rot and killing the bulb.

Palms are infected by the fungus Butt Rot (Ganoderma sulcatum). The fungus entered the lower trunk normally as a result of mechanical damage (lawn mower). Symptoms include stunting of new growth and yellowing of the lower leaves. Fruiting bodies become evident at the base of the trunk. There is no effective control method and replanting in infected soil should be avoided.

Kikuyu Yellows     

Pennisetum clandestinum (Kikuyu) is susceptible to Kikuyu Yellows (Verrucalvus flavofaciens), thisis a water mould that infects the roots and causes them to rot. The infection extends up the stem and onto the leaves with yellow discolouration and can be limited to a small or large area up to 1m (3ft) wide.

It is found in warm temperate to sub tropical regions and dispersed in infected soil or plant material. There is no chemical control, nitrogen fertiliser masks the symptoms and complete fertiliser encourages stronger roots to fight the disease.

Pittosporum, Antirrhinum, Aquilegia, Echinops and Orchid species are infected by the Stem Rot or Basal Rot (Pellicularia rolfsii) commonly in the northern hemisphere and preferring humid glasshouse conditions.

Solidago species are infected by the fungal Scab (Elsinoe solidaginis) which covers the leaves and stunts the growth of the plant. Young plants may be killed.

Trillium species are infected by the stem rot (Pellicularia rolfsii) and ( Ciborinia trillii). This normally occurs in wet soils and is detrimental to the plants life.

Tsuga species are infected by Sapwood Rot or Butt Rot (Ganoderma lucidum) and (Coniophora puteana), which attacks the sapwood close to the bark, towards the base of the tree. Commonly killing the host.

Tulipa species are affected Blue Mold (Penicillium species) and the fungus (Rhizopus stolonifer) causing rot in the bulbs.

Vinca species are infected by the soil born Root Rot (Pellicularia filamentosa) which rots the stems and roots.

Viola species may be infected with the Scab (Sphaceloma violae) which attacks all parts of the plant including the seed capsule forming yellowish spots that turn brown and in leaves fall out. Stems and petioles can be girdled killing the upper part.

Viola species are also infected with the Stem Rot (Myrothecium roridum) which attacks the stems at ground level causing them to become dry and brittle. The leaves show symptoms by turning purplish-black and this fungus also infects Alcea and Antirrhinum species.

Non-chemical Control

Generally remove and destroy any infected plants or plant parts, when replanting, avoid using susceptible species for 3 years.  When growing crops space the plants to reduce the humidity and airflow and cultivate the soil to increase the drainage.  Remove weed growth from around the susceptible plants.

Avoid over watering the surrounding soil which encourages fungal development. In the case of trees remove any infected branches and heavily infected trees should be cut down and removed. This infected material should be disposed or burnt. Damaged trees should have the wounds dressed and sealed as a preventative measure particularly for Dieback in Camellia.

Deter Potato Gangrene by planting clean stock and be careful not to damage the crop when weeding. When harvesting the tubers choose a dryer period and be careful not to damage them.

     Fairy Rings

Fairy Rings in Turf are difficult to control and may appear or disappear sporadically. Cultural practice such as minimal thatch build-up, regular aeration and a reduction of organic matter spread on the turf will reduce infection.

Chemical Control

No suitable fungicides available, though drenching or spraying the soil with the fungicide dichloran helps control soil born fungi.


Always read the label for registration details and direction of use prior to application of any chemicals.

Leaf to 600mm (2ft) long
Flower to 40mm (1 1/2in) long
Mound Habit

Plant Photo Gallery - Click thumbnails to enlarge

Climate zone

This Plant tolerates zones 9-11

Average Lowest Temperature : 0º C 32º F


This USDA hardiness zone chart can be used to to indicate a plant’s ability to withstand average minimum temperatures. However, other factors such as soil type, moisture, drainage, humidity and exposure to sun and wind will also have a direct effect on your plant’s survival. Use this chart only as a guide, always keep the other factors in mind when deciding where, when and what to plant.

Plant's individual USDA zone can be found in the Plant Overview...

Climate Description

This zone has low humidity with high summer temperatures and cold winters.
Frosts and droughts are severe with strong very dry wind.

Plant growth

Endemic native and few exotic plants survive.


Dictionary Growth Habit
Leaf Type Botanic Flower Description
Leaf Shape Flower Inflorescence
Leaf Arrangement Fruit Type
Leaf Margin Bark Type
Leaf Apex And Bases Flower Description