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Southern Inspirations Garden Design

A family-run business since 1997

Southern Inspirations
Plant Health - Makes Happier Home and Container Gardens
Identify any plant health problems. Plants can be affected by pests, mineral deficiencies, pets, climate and neglect. We have supplied information on identification and treatment of certain plant disease and health problems. Get the solutions for your plants health and have happy thriving plants!

All your plants are at risk from pests and diseases. Prevention is always better than cure. Practice good hygiene when working with your plants. Make use of sterile pots and potting mixtures. Inspect your plants often.

Check the underside of the leaves, stems, soil etc. Look for any signs of the pests and diseases described below. Try to detect any problems early. Plants can’t speak to you, but they will indicate their unhappiness in other ways.

Plant Pests

Bug Infestation Many different kinds of plant pests will affect your plants’ health. Caterpillars and weevils feed by chewing and biting your plants. Aphids and scale insects will suck the sap out of the plants. Snails eat the plants and leave trails.

Ants eat the roots of plants close to their nest. Treat any ant problem with a mixture of icing sugar and borax. Dust the area all around the nest with this mixture.

There are many different types of bugs, and many different insecticides. Look at healthier alternatives before treating your plants with strong insecticides like malathion or fenitrothion. Try use an environmental friendly solution first. A soft soap solution or quassia will be more environmentally friendly, and cheaper.

Environmentally friendly pest control measures ensure better plant health. It will also prevents the destruction of your gardens friendly bugs and worms.

Snails love eating young shoots. Get rid of snails using a snail trap. Open up a tin of beer with a tin opener (to allow for space for the snails to fall in). Dig a hole in the ground and place the open tin, half full of beer, inside the hole. The top of the tin should be at ground level. Fill in the sides and cover with some cabbage leaves. The snails will be attracted by the smell of hobs, and will drown in your beer.

Plant Deficiencies

Plants will develop mineral deficiencies when they are not fed properly. This will have a negative effect on plant health. Mineral deficiencies can easily be identified by looking at symptoms. Some of these symptoms may occur through the use of chemical fertilizers. Chemical fertilizers eventually do cause an imbalance in your soil.

Using Organic feedings at regular times will result in almost disease free container plants. Healthy plants do not easily get infected. Increase your plants’ resistance to disease by feeding them well on a balanced diet.

Potassium Deficiency Take the time and means to feed your plants now. Investment in your plants health now, will save you additional effort and disappointment later on. Mineral deficiencies include the following:


A boron deficiency will cause rotting on the inside. You can rectify this by feeding with good organic compost.


A Potassium shortage will cause brown spots and scorch marks on leaves and fruit. You can rectify this by feeding with more compost than usual.

Magnesium This mineral deficiency will cause the lower leaves of your plant to turn yellow. The veins will remain green. Rectify this by feeding with a good organic compost.


Calcium deficiencies show up as brown patches at the bases of the fruit. Growing points of shoots will die back. Leaves turn a purple brown. Rectify calcium deficiency by applying lime to the soil. Stop using any sulphate of ammonia fertilizer (or any other sulphate rich fertilizer). Apply a large quantity of other ammonia and well rotted manure.


Calcium Deficiency A shortage of phosphor will produce stunted leaves and purple tints in older foliage. To remedy this mineral deficiency is a good dressing of bone meal in the autumn.


Chlorosis can be spotted by the yellowing of plant foliage due to the lack of chlorophyll in the plant. These symptoms are very similar to a magnesium deficiency. The remedy is the same for both; feed with good organic compost!

Iron and Manganese With this deficiency the foliage of your plants turn yellow early in the season. An iron deficiency causes the plants youngest leaves to loose their color first. Rectify this mineral deficiency by feeding with a good compost.

Birds and Pets

Birds can cause damage to your plants. They stop your plant growth by shredding leaves for their nests. They also pick off the flower buds and damage the fruit. Normally bird damage is not to extreme, and the birds usually make up for it through their presence in the garden.

Dog and cats urine is very acidic. It will damage plants and paintwork on your clay pots. It also changes the PH balance in the soil. This will have a long term effect on your plants health. Train up your animals and clean up behind them, to minimise any damage to the plants.

Animals should be kept in a separate animal friendly garden. Keep them away from your entertainment area.

Climatic Conditions

Plant health is also affected by hail, snow, heavy rain, frost, heat, winds and drought. Consider all these conditions carefully when placing a container in the garden design. Make provision for protection of the plants from the elements as far as it is possible.

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