Ask Greenman: “White Flies Infesting My Plants”
“Just experimenting but planted 6 seeds in outdoor small starter pots. Way late in season but all came up healthy. My very first time and I am trying to learn by watching closely. At 36 days all into 6th nodes I noticed white flies and larva. So I used a recommended organic pesticide which they did not like. So I lost two plants. The remaining four are trying so hard to grow but they are stressed. Plus they needed re-potting so I thought as leaves were stretching beyond perimeter of pot. So I re-potted only to find the root systems was not as expanded as I thought. Still they recovering fine. Then I topped 3 of them and clipped lower leaves with the white fly larva on them. They are still trying so hard but I fear too much stress has stopped them from thriving now they still look healthy but grow rate has slowed quite a bit. After topping within end of second day little leaves are sprouting from the nodes, all the nodes too. Just real slow. I am tricking them with a light on in yard which I shut off around 11pm. Do you think these little babies have a chance?”.
The Greenman: It sounds like you are doing everything you can to try and save your plants. However, you have to be wary of whiteflies, they build up a strong defence and will find their way to the underside of the leaves. Even if you believe you have cropped them away.
Rotenone and Pyrethrins, commonly used in organic farming as an alternative to chemicals work well in getting rid of white flies but act as fast as you can. Do not be disheartened if all of this crop fails, it is your first time and you will learn from any errors.