Cacti & Succulents
South Africa, Zone 9-12
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 climbs using tendrils or twines around a structure.
0.1 - 0.2 m (0 - 1 ft )
0.5 m (2 ft)

Plant Overview

This perennial succulent has long thin branched stems that form a cascading or spreading habit. It has small fleshy silver-purple heart-shaped leaves and the tiny pink tube-shaped flowers appear in a small cluster during summer.


Ceropegia woodii is naturally found from Swaziland to Zimbabwe in South Africa growing on the mountains in rocky outcrops and in soil pockets in woodlands to an altitude of 550 m (1,804 ft) or more. It prefers a sharply drained humus rich moist sandy-stony to loamy soil that is tending acidic with a pH range from 6.0 to 7.5. It grows in a protected semi-shaded position and is frost tender but tolerates short periods of drought.


Chain of Hearts is a perennial succulent that is grown for its cascading habit. It is commonly planted in hanging baskets as a spill-over and used as an indoor plant or shade house specimen. It can also be planted in rockeries or above and in rock walls and can tolerate drier periods during winter. It is long lived and establishes in 2 to 4 years growing quickly. It has a medium water requirement once established. (Scale: 2-drops from 3).

UK hardiness zone H1c

Climate zones 21-24


Ceropegia (seer-oh-PEEJ-ee-uh) woodii (WOOD-ee-eye)


Generally 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.


Asclepiadaceae (ass-kle-pee-ad-AY-see-ee)

This large family has many widely used ornamental plants.



The Asclepiads are normally found in the tropics and sub-tropics with some genera in temperate climates around the world.


Diagnostic Features

These plants may be perennial herbs, shrubs, trees and climbers and may be in a succulent form or have milky sap.


The leaves normally have stipules and are arranges opposite or in whorls with a simple shape, may be vestigial.


The regular symmetrical bisexual flowers are borne on cymes, raceme or umbel-like inflorescence. The flowers consist of five semi-fused sepals and five fused petals with five stamens with short filaments that may be fused to the gynoecium, simular to an orchid flower.

The corolla or stamens may have appendages of different types that constitute a single or double corona.

Stamens have two pollen chambers that form a waxy pollinium these are joined by a filamentous glandular connection and the pollinates remove pollen on mass rather than singular.


The gynoecium may be superior or inferior and is composed of two carpels that are held together by the style or a five lobed stigma. Each carpel contains rows of ovules on a single placenta.


The fruit forms into a pair of follicles, which opens longitudinally and has flattish seeds with silk hairs to assist in wind dispersal. The embryo straight and has endosperm.



Many of these ornamental plants are grown in gardens or containers for their showy flowers. Some Australian species are eaten or the sap was used to decorate in body art.


This plant tolerates between USDA zones 9a to 12a and grows to 0.2 m (1 in)

Fahrenheit         20º to 55ºF

These temperatures represent the lowest average.

Celsius                 -6.6º to 12.7ºC



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


A leaf that is broad and lobed at the base tapering towards the apex.

Leaf Arrangement


Leaves that are arranged opposite to each other.

Leaf Margin


A leaf margin with no irregularities (smooth).
Silvery green
8 - 12 mm ( 0.3 - 0.5 in )

Additional Information

The 12 mm (½ in) long thin fleshy cordate (heart-shaped) leaves are silvery green to purple and are arranged oppositely and numerously along the pendent purple stems.



Botanic Flower Description


A flower that forms a tube shape.
Foul smelling (Malodorous)

Flower Inflorescence


Flowers that are both solitary and branching into solitary.
12 - 18 mm ( 0.5 - 0.7 in )

Flowering Season

(Southern Hemisphere)

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

Additional Information

The tubulate flower is swollen at the base and flares out at the apex and is up to 18 mm 7/8 in) long. The top of the funnel has lobes that curve in wards and unite to form a lantern-like appearance. The perfume is only light and not too putrid and the flowers are arranged in an axillary cyme that appears during summer.



Fruit Type


This dehiscent or indehiscent fruit has one or several seeds in a unicarpellate ovary. Commonly referred to as a pod. "
0 - 0 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 pod contains small flat seeds are covered in small hairs. These hairs assist in dispersal by wind. The seeds are viable but the plant may be reproduced vegetatively as the stems root at the nodes when in contact with the ground.


Very well drained, poor-fertile, moist-dry organic, sandy-stony soil, pH 6.0-7.5
Hanging baskets, pots, window boxes, under glass in frost prone climates
Partial sun to indirect bright light, frost tender slightly drought tolerant
Warm to sub-tropical
Susceptible to aphids, scale, mealybugs, wilting leaves from over watering

Cultural Uses

Chain of Hearts is a perennial succulent that is grown for its cascading habit. It is commonly planted in hanging baskets as a spill-over and used as an indoor plant or shade house specimen. It can also be planted in rockeries or above and in rock walls and can tolerate drier periods during winter. It is long lived and establishes in 2 to 4 years growing quickly.


Cultural notes

Outdoor Cultivation

In warm regions with low humidity, cold and frosty night's 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 a 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.

Overwatering succulents results in leaves that wilt and discolour or stems that rot.

Underwatering 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.

Repot 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 but will tolerate a trim
Added organic matter to the soil, slow release fertiliser during the growing period


This plant produces aerial stem tubers that may be separated and planted up.

Take stem cuttings from spring until autumn.

Sow fresh seeds during spring in a very well-drained media and keep moist.


Propagation by Seed (General)


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.


1. Sowing 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.


Asexual Propagation (Cuttings) (General)

Propagation from cuttings is possible because every cell of a plant containers the genetic information to create an entire plant.


1. Reproduction occurs through the formation of adventitious roots and shoots.


2. The uniting of vegetative parts with budding and grafting.


3. Taking stem cuttings and layering is possible due to the development of adventitious roots


4. Root cuttings can form new shoots then it is possible to join roots and shoots to form a new plant.


5. A new plant may be formed from a single cell in an aseptic culture system, (cloning).


It is important to propagate vegetatively as this form of cloning retains the unique characteristics of the cultivars or where particular aspects of a plant may be lost if propagated by seed.


Equipment Required for Taking Cuttings


1. A sharp knife that is not too large or a razor mounted in a handle.


2. Good pair of sharp secateurs that is clean.


3. A dibbler to make a hole in the media and allow the cutting to be placed in.


4. Propagation structures that are either a timber frame with glass or polyethylene cover or a glasshouse.

The object of the structure is to create an environment where the temperature and humidity can be controlled. This can be achieved with a simple cover over a pot with a wire frame and plastic.

This stops the draughts and maintains humidity.


5. A hotbed is a useful item as many plants root more quickly if the media is slightly warmer.

Bottom heat is obtained from thermostatically controlled heating cables that are running under the media.


6. Misting systems are of great benefit to cuttings as the regulated fogging with water inhibits the cuttings from drying out and as a result the cuttings may be grown in full sun.

This results in faster root development that is less subject to diseases by fungi and bacteria.


7. Rooting mediums

The rooting medium must be well drained, sand may be used as long as it is thoroughly washed and leached of all salts. It is very well drained and it is excellent for cutting that root up quickly. Equal parts of sand and peat moss have good results for cuttings, which are left for a period of time to allow the roots to form.

Vermiculite and perlite are also used as a well-drained rooting media but has the same disadvantage as sand having no nutrients. The cuttings must be potted up as soon as the roots developed, or a light application of liquid fertiliser can be applied.


Types of Cuttings

Stem cuttings

These are the main types of cuttings.

1. Softwood cuttings.

These cuttings are taken from young growth on side shoots and tip growth.


2. Semi hardwood cuttings.

These cuttings are taken from wood that is firmer and semi ripe usually during mid summer.


3. Hardwood cuttings.

These cuttings are taken from mature wood normally towards the end of the season.


4. Root Cuttings

Cut sections of roots to obtain new plants during late winter to early spring.


5. Leaf Cuttings

Cut the leaf blade in order to obtain new plants during the growing period of the plant.


Cutting preparation

Hardwood cuttings

When taking hardwood cuttings remove the leaves and in semi hardwood reduce the number of leaves by half. Cut the wood straight across just below a node or joint. Hardwood cuttings are normally between 100 to 760 mm long and may have either a heel of the older wood attached to the base, or a short section of the older wood at the base. These cuttings are prepared during the dormant season from late autumn to early spring and are made up from previous season's growth.

This type of cutting is used for woody deciduous plants such as Crepe Myrtle, Rose rootstocks and some fruit trees.

The cuttings should be healthy wood with ample supply of stored food as to nourish developing roots, shoots and placed in the rooting media with the aid of a dibbler stick.


Softwood Cuttings

The cuttings for softwood should be 60 to 130 mm long and be of material with enough substance as to not deteriorate before the new roots appear. Cut below a node and retain the leaves on the upper portion. Place in a well-drained media and maintain a high humidity.

Soaking the cuttings and leaving them standing in water for long periods is undesirable.


Herbaceous Cuttings

These cuttings are taken from succulent plants such as Geraniums and Coleus. The cutting should be 70 to 130 mm long with leaves retained on the upper end. As in softwood cuttings these require an environment of high humidity. Some fleshy cuttings ooze sap and may require a drying period for a few hours before being placed in the rooting media.


Leaf Cutting

In these cuttings a leaf blade and petiole or part off is used to raise a new plant.  The original leaf doses not become a part of the new plant as roots and shoots appear from the base of the leaf. In some cases roots appear from the severed veins.


Leaf-Bud Cuttings

These cuttings incorporate a leaf, petiole and a small piece of the stem. These cuttings are an advantage where the plant uses the axillary bud at the base of the petiole for new shoot growth and maximises available propagation material, as each node will produce a new plant.

As in softwood cuttings these require an environment with high humidity and warmth.


Root Cuttings

These cuttings are best taken from younger plants during late winter to early spring prior the new season's growth unless the dormant period is during summer.

Trim the roots as they are dug up, to maintain polarity cut strength at the crown end and a slanted cut at the distal end (away from the crown).


Root cuttings of small plants are placed in flats in lengths of 20 to 50 mm and laying horizontally on the surface of the soil. These may be lightly covered with sieved sand or media, watered and then placing a piece of glass or polyethylene over the container till roots / shoots appear.


Fleshy Root Cuttings

These cuttings should be 50 to 75 mm long and placed vertically in a well-drained sand media.

Keep the polarity correct and when the roots develop transplant the cuttings into a separate container.


Large Root Cuttings

These cuttings are 50 to 150 mm long are tied up in bundles and placed in boxes of damp sand, sawdust or peat for about three weeks at a temperature of 4. 5 deg C When taken out they should be planted in a prepared bed 50 to 80 mm apart with the tops of the cuttings level with or just below the soil level.


Bulbs, Tubers and Corms (General)

This is an underground organ with a short fleshy stem and a flower primordium that is enclosed by fleshy scales. The structure of this monocotyledon is designed for food storage and reproduction.


Tunicate Bulbs         daffodils, tulip, onion

These bulbs have a dry outer layer that protects the fleshy concentric inner scales as in an onion forming a solid appearance.


Nontunicate Bulbs        lilies

These bulbs have no protective dry outer layer and are easily damaged. The scales are separate and are attached to the basil plate so care should be taken to keep them moist, as drying is detrimental to their health. Roots appear from the base and in some cases from the stem, normally growing during mid summer to autumn.


Offsets or Bulblets

This type of propagation is used on many bulbs which are normally removed when the bulbs are lifted then planted as separate plants. Some plants require a few years to produce offsets and they can remain on the plant undisturbed for many seasons.

Tulip produces offsets which should be lifted when the foliage dies off and daffodil forms offsets (split) over several years. These offsets may be stored or planted up directly.

Lilies increase slowly but the bulb in some species may be split and the scales produce bulblets as with other lily species bulblets are produced at the base.


Stem Cuttings

Lily species may be grown from stem cuttings where bulblets form at the base of the stem or leaf-bud cuttings with a single leaf and an old stem heal, the bulblets will form in the axil of the leaf.


Basal Cuttage

This method includes 'scooping' and 'scoring' on larger bulbs 170 mm diameter. Scooping is carried out with a curved blade removing the basal plate of the bulb. Adventitious bulblets develop on the exposed scales.

The scoring method involves three cuts through the basal plate of the bulb, which produces bulblets in the axils of the scales.

In both of these methods the bulbs are planted out for one to two seasons where the mother bulb disintegrates and the bulbils multiply then grow.


Leaf Cuttings

This method is used for blood lily, hyacinth and other species. Well-developed leaves are cut from the base, then cut into sections and planted in a rooting medium 30mm deep. In a few weeks bulbils will develop at the base of the leaf. These are then potted up and grown on.


Bulb Cuttings

Narcissus, Hippeastrum, Cooperia and many other species may be propagated in this method.

The mature bulb is cut into eight to ten sections each containing a part of the basal plate. These are planted in a rooting medium vertically as to just show the tip and maintained in a warm environment. Bulbils will form at the basal plate with in a few weeks. After developing the bulbils are potted up.



The corm is a swollen base that is covered in a protective tunic, which prevents drying out. It is composed of scale like leaves that have nodes and internodes where axillary buds develop. There are two types of roots, fleshy contractile from the new corms and fibrous from the base of the mother corm.


After the foliage dies off the corm is lifted then allowed to stand after which old corms, new corms and cormels are separated.

The cormels are stored during winter and planted during spring after soaking in water for 2 to 3 days. These may be planted into containers or in a prepared bed and allowed to grow on for one season.

The corm may also be divided by cutting it into sections, which develop into new corms.



This is a swollen underground stem that acts as a food storage organ with nodes and small buds as in the potato. Tubers may be propagated by either cutting the tuber in to pieces that contain buds (eyes) with sufficient stored food for growth or planted as a complete tuber.


Tuberous Roots and Stems

These tuber roots differ in that there are no nodes or internodes and the buds are only produced at the crown with fibrous roots at the opposite end. The tuberous stems have a vertical orientation and arise from the first nodes as in Cyclamen species.

One or more bud is produced at the top of the crown and may be propagated by dividing the tuber so that it contains a shoot bud. Each section should be dried for a few days and stored in sawdust or vermiculite to avoid shrivelling.

In a warm humid environment the tubers will shoot.



A rhizome is a stem that grows horizontally either below or on the surface of the soil with the shoots growing vertically as in bamboo and many grasses. The stems are composed of nodes and inter nodes giving it a segmented appearance.

Propagation is normally carried out by division during spring and autumn, by cutting the rhizome into sections each with at least one node. Placed on a moist bed or slightly buried and kept them warm which will produce roots, shoots from the nodes.



This is a large fleshy section of the stem that may have one or several nodes. They are produced on orchids and may vary depending on the species. They are propagated from offsets, which develop at the nodes or by division of the rhizome containing pseudobulbs during the dormant period.  


Various Aphid Species




     Various Aphid Species





Description of the Pest

The common name varies and aphids may be referred to as black fly, greenfly, ant cows or plant lice.

These small insects have soft globular body that is from 1mm to 8mm long and vary in colour from green, yellow, black and pink, with the winged forms being elongated. Both adult and nymphs, have piercing and sucking mouthparts.

Aphids are found on buds, flowers, or leaves and stems, preferring soft new growth. On older leaves the aphids are found in protected positions, such as under the leaf. Certain species of aphids form galls as they suck sap and may be found on the roots of the plant. (E.g. Woolly aphids and Black peach aphids)

Most aphids possess a pair of characteristic tubular projections, known as cornicles; these secrete a pheromone and a waxy fluid, which is thought to protect them from some of their predacious enemies.

White exoskeletons, honey dew and sooty mould indicate the presence of Aphids

Balsam Twig Aphid (Mindarus abietinus) is greenish and covered in a white wax and is normally found on the young shoots of conifers bending and killing the needles. It is found on Abies and Picea species.

Aphid and their exoskeletons    on underside of a leaf

Black Citrus Aphid (Toxoptera aurantii) has a soft plump green body and the black coloured adults may or may not be winged. They feed in groups, curling leaves and producing honeydew attracting sooty mould.

Green Peach Aphid (Myzus persicae) is a soft plump green insect up to 0.2mm long and may be wingless. The nymphs are yellowish green and are responsible for spreading viruses in Dianthus species.

Spruce Gall Aphid (Chermes abietis) form cone shaped galls up to 12mm long resulting from the feeding. The wingless female adult lays eggs on the stems and the immature females overwinter on bud scales. Large infestation will weaken trees such as Picea abies and Pseudotsuga menziesii.

Tulip Bulb Aphid (Anuraphis tulipae) is small, waxy grey coloured and infests the underside of the bulb scales or rhizomes. They occur in the ground or on above ground parts and during storage.

Life Cycle

These insects have a Hemimetabolous life cycle, i.e. The nymphs resemble the adults.

During spring all eggs produced hatch as female nymphs. Adult Aphids are capable reproducing without fertilisation.  The males are only produced in some species as the weather cools down, and the day length shortens.

Aphids are capable of giving birth to living young and large populations build up quickly during summer. Over crowding causes the aphids to become smaller, less fertile and produce more winged forms that can migrate to other host plants.

There are many different types of aphids and the life cycle varies from warm to cold climates.

Typical life cycles

Distribution of the Pest

World wide

Period of Activity

In warm climates they are seen throughout the year, but aphids dislike hot dry or cold conditions and heavy rain will decrease the population. In cold areas aphid eggs are laid around a bud base or other protected areas of the plant during autumn and emerge as nymphs during spring, feeding on the new growth.

Numbers build up quickly in the warmer months of the year. Some species feed during winter on Sow thistles.

Susceptible Plants

There is a wide range of plants attacked, from roses to vegetables, shrubs and trees. Certain aphids attack a specific genus while others have a wide range of host plants. Many are capable of transmitting plant virus diseases.

Adults and nymphs feeding    A colony of aphids

Acer species are attacked by several aphids including the Norway Maple Aphid (Periphyllus lyropictus) which is a greenish with brown markings and secret honeydew, preferring Acer platanoides. Other aphids include (Drepanaphis acerifolia) and (Periphyllus aceris) which are commonly found on the underside of leaves.

Acer species are also attacked by the Woolly Maple Aphid (Phenacoccus acericola) which covers the undersides of the leaves with a cotton-like mass

Alnus species are infested with the Alder Blight Aphid (Prociphilus tessellates) which is blue-black adult that forms woolly masses on the down-turned leaves. The nymphs overwinter in bark crevices.

Aquilegia species are attacked by several aphids including (Pergandeidia trirhoda) which is a small, flat cream coloured insect that is found on young branches and the underside of leaves.

Betula species may be attacked by the European Birch Aphid (Euceraphis betulae) which is small and yellowish or the Common Birch Aphid (Calaphis betulaecolens) which is large and green producing ample honeydew for sooty mold to grow on.

Callistephus species may be attacked by the Corn Root Aphid (Anuraphis maidi-radicis) causing the plant to become stunted, the leaves wilt and turn yellow. The aphids feed on the roots producing honeydew and are dispersed to other host by ants. It is also attacked by the Potato Aphid (Macrosiphum solanifolii).

Carya species are attacked by Gall Aphids (Phylloxera caryaecaulis) which is found on the leaves, twigs and stems forming galls and turning them black.

Chaenomeles and Gladiolus species, new growth and leaves become infested with the aphid (Aphis Gossypii)

Cupressus macrocarpa may become infested with the Cypress Aphid (Siphonartrophia cupressi).

Cyclamen species are attacked by the aphid (Myzus circumflexus) and (Aphis gossypii) which can infest healthy plants.

Dendranthema, Dianthus  and Crocus species are attacked by several types of aphid including the Green Peach Aphid (Myzus persicae) and the Chrysanthemum Aphid (Macrosiphoniella sanborni).

Hibiscus species are attacked by the aphids (Aphis craccivora)  and (Aphis gossypii), both congregate towards the branch tips and may cause leaf curl. Normally only seen in sub-tropical climates.

Aphids on a stem    Mandevilla species

Larix species is attacked by the Woolly Larch Aphid (Adelges strobilobius). The winged adults deposit eggs at the base of the needles during spring and white woolly areas appear attached to the needles where the adult aphids feed. The young aphids overwinter in the crevices of the bark.

Mandevilla species is attacked by aphids that congregate towards the branch tips and may cause leaf curl.

Pinus species is attacked by several species of aphid including Pine Bark Aphid (Pineus strobi), Pine leaf Aphid (Pineus pinifoliae) and the White Pine Aphid (Cinara strobi).

Primula species are attacked by four species of aphid including foxglove, and green peach aphid.

Rudbeckia, Delphinium, Chrysanthemum and Helianthus species are attacked by a bright red aphid (Macrosiphum rudbeckiae).

Sorbus aucuparia is affected by the Rosy Apple and Woolly Apple aphid which attacked the foliage and young shoots.

Spiraea species are attacked by the Aphid (Aphis spiraecola) which feeds on the young shoots and flowers.

Tropaeolum species are attacked by the Black Bean Aphid (Aphis fabae), which is found in large numbers on the underside of the leaves, turning them yellow and causing them to wilt then die.

Tulipa, Iris, Freesia, Gladiolus and Zephyranthes species are infested with the Tulip Bulb Aphid.

Ulmus species are infected by two types the Woolly Apple Aphid (Eriosoma lanigerum), which curls and kills young terminal leaves and the Elm Leaf-Curl Aphid (Eriosoma ulmi) which occasionally attacks the trees.

Viburnum species are attacked by the Snowball Aphid (Anuraphis viburnicola). This aphid congregates at the end of the branches causing the leaves to curl and become deformed under which they hide.

Aphids on Quercus robur

Damage Caused

Buds that have been attacked may not open, leaves and twigs become twisted or distorted and wilt. The aphids also produce honeydew, which is sticky and attracts sooty mould (fungus). This fungus forms a thick layer over the leaf, fruit or stems reducing the plants photosynthesis capability. The sooty mould spoils the plants appearance and its fruit, as does the insects white exoskeletons.


Cultural Control

Aphids may be removed from a plant by hosing them off with water (limited success) or applying soapy water to aphids.. Another organic sprays can be efficient in controlling aphids. Aphids  may also be removed physically by hand for small colonies on spine less plants. Species that live under ground are difficult to control but cultivation of the surrounding soil may help in controlling the infestation. (limited mainly to annual or commercial crops)

Reflective mulch around the plants also reduces numbers by repelling the insect this material is available commercially. (Reflective mulches are mainly used in market gardens for avoiding the Green peach Aphids) Resistant rootstocks are available to avoid some root feeding aphid of commercial plants, e.g. Vines and fruit trees

Biological control

Aphids are attacked by several insects includes parasitic wasps or predators such as ladybirds/ lady beetles, hover flies, lacewings, spiders.

   Parasitised aphids

Chemical Control

Aphids may be controlled by spraying with a contact or systemic insecticide. The type of application used will depend on the plant is being attacked.

Aphids can be suffocated and therefore controlled with the use of e.g. White oil, Pest oil, Soapy water from soap such as Lux Flakes ®


It is your responsibility by law to read & follow the directions on the label of any pesticide


Aphid are attracted by yellow colour and traps such as boards painted yellow and covered in glue or sticky substance will attract and trap the insects.  There is also a commercially sticky yellow tape that can be attached to susceptible plants

Amendments by B. Sonsie Dip Hort Sc Burnley

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.

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.


No Record Found . . .
Leaf to 12 mm (1/2 in) wide
Flower to 18 mm (3/4 in) long
Cascading habit
Slender stems

Plant Photo Gallery - Click thumbnails to enlarge

Climate zone

This Plant tolerates zones 9-12

Average Lowest Temperature : -1º C 30º F

USDA : 9-12

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

Warm to Sub-tropical
This overlaping zone has ample rain with high summer temeperatures and high humidity. Winters are mild. Pockets of sub-tropical climates exist within coastal warm temperate zones.
Frosts and droughts rarely occur along the coast.

Plant growth

Tropical and warm temperate native and exotic plants grow well.


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