Timely Tip – Methylated Spirit
– Ruth Coulson
Ruth is with the Australian African Violet Association and lives on the Central North Coast of NSW)
(Originally published on the African Violets Down Under Facebook page.(www.facebook.com/groups/241227626277942/?fref=nf)
In growing your African violets never discount the value of products that you may have around the house as a matter of course. Such a one is methylated spirits. You may know it mainly for cleaning windows and mirrors, removing some stains like lipstick and marker pen from clothing and leather and so on.
But it is among your plants that metho really comes into its own. And the fact it is so inexpensive and available from supermarkets make it the product to keep on hand for a number of plant uses:
• Use to clean all tools that you have been using after a session of potting, or after trimming and grooming.
• Should mealy bugs attach your plants you can use a cotton bud dipped in metho to lightly dab each bug to kill it. Repeat daily until no more bugs appear. A useful trick, particularly in a small collection.
• Should soil mealy bugs attack plants that cannot be satisfactorily propagated from leaf, cut the top of the plant off. Discard the roots (including mealy bugs) completely. Before planting just the top with a couple of rows of tiny leaves, dip it (completely) in methylated spirit.
• Remove sticky residue from labels on pots, trays or other products with a cloth soaked in methylated spirit. Works for most adhesives.
• Use it to wipe down the potting bench to give a clean start for the next time.
• If working with infected plants of any kind hands can be dipped in metho as an extra precaution after washing. For me, disposable gloves for the bad jobs make a better alternative.
WARNING: Don’t smoke while using methylated spirit. It is a flammable liquid.