Help with my little garden: dealing with spider mites + plants similar to hostas?


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Hi everyone,

A few months ago, I made myself a little garden on our apartment balcony. It isn't much, just a 3.5x1.5ft area with 5 shelves and room for about 20 potted plants. It gets indirect sunlight for 6-7 hours a day, but most would call it a shaded space. I think most of my plants are perennials, some are annuals. Here is my current roster.
  • Asparagus plumosa
  • Celosia (x3)
  • Coleus
  • English ivy
  • Golden money wart
  • Hosta (x3)
  • Huchera americana
  • Ice plant
  • Jacob's ladder
  • Orchid
  • Polka dot plant
  • Waterleaf

Early on, I learned that some plants are better suited to my environment than others; filling all my pots has been a trial and error process. That being said, the ones listed were all doing very well... until THEY came. The spider mites. They have been a cancer on my little garden. I tried using insecticidal soap, but the bastards seem to shrug it off like nothing. Tried releasing 1,500 ladybugs on my balcony, but all of them flew away. Useless.

Taking the fight to the next level, I'm now trying Hot Shot No-Pest Strips. If these don't work, the measures I will try next are: Monterey Garden Spray, Azamax, Pyrethrum, Avid, and Forbid (in that order, based on what I've read online). Wish me luck, and if you have any other suggestions, let me hear them!

Most of my plants are breathing their last breaths now due to the mites. However, through it all, the Hostas have remained lively as ever. Not only do they seem unaffected by the mites, but they thrive no matter the condition. I love them so much, they're so easy!

Naturally, my fight with the spider mites is to the death. I won't give up until they're gone. But as I replace each plant I lose, I want to buy stronger, hardier plants like my Hostas. Only, I don't want them all to be Hostas. What other plants can I buy that are similarly resilient?

Thanks!
 
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Spider mites are difficult to get rid of. Killing the individual mite is easy but breaking their reproductive cycle is not. You will need two products, Neem Oil and any product with the active ingredient spinosad. One of the most popular is Captian Jacks. The first thing you do is spray the plant completely with the spinosad product. This will kill the adult mites on the plant by contact. Next you will make a soil drench out of the Neem Oil and pour it on all of the soil. This will l kill the eggs in the soil. Next you spray the plant with Neem Oil. This will kill any above ground eggs plus any mites the spinosad might have missed. Do this every 5-7 days for 5 weeks. You do it for 5 weeks because there are 5 different reproductive cycles in a spider mites life.
 
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Great advice, Chuck! I beat spider mites using insecticidal soap, a garden hose or my sink sprayer, and then if I am bringing out the big weapons I reach for my mixture of neem oil, dish detergent, and water. Moisture is key to preventing spider mites. Sharp blasts also serve to simply knock them off the plant. I gave up on ivy but understand in order to beat mites on it people literally shower with their ivy. I am not willing to go that far! Lol. I maintain a deck garden also, I think the only plants that have not been affected by mites at some point this year are my various trumpet plants. I have quite the miniature orchard, and until I started spraying down the entire plant when I watered mites were awful on citrus. The disadvantage...some more succulent plants will have to be potted almost entirely in wood chunks and perlite or even reported after their baths. Take comfort knowing I was panicking at one point this summer, but within weeks the situation was managed. It will simply come together for you and feel well worth it very soon with your continued efforts!
 
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