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Schomburgkia and ants.

This is a discussion on Schomburgkia and ants. within the Genus Specific forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; What is the correlation between Schomburgkia and ants. I have read somewhere (can't remember where) ...

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  1. #1
    angela's Avatar
    angela is offline Senior Member
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    Default Schomburgkia and ants.

    What is the correlation between Schomburgkia and ants. I have read somewhere (can't remember where) that there is some benefit to the plant???? The ants nest in the hollow of Psbs.
    I ask this since I am in the process of preparing for the BOS Show coming up next year. I have removed a plant of Schm. thomsoniana from my tree and potted it up with the hope that it will bloom in time for the Show. It is teeming with ants. Should I use an insecticide to rid the ants? I certainly cannot take it to the show covered with ants

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    As I understand it, from the reading I have done, that fire ants make their home in the hollow pseudo bulbs. The ants are the polinators for the plant and because the plant is their home they defend and protect it from all predators---including humans. As far as using an insecticide to rid it of the ants I will have to leave that to a member who knows more about this plant than I do. Good luck and would love to see pics.

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    The ants are not essential to culture "in captivity"- even if they are essential to its survival as a species in the wild. I do get ants in my garden entering my greenhouse - the honeydew exuded from leaves when plants are in active growth is I expect irresistible !. I also grow maybe a dozen Schomburgkia plants - two each of several different species including thomsoniana , and the ants are not all interested in them and don't live in them ; of course they would not be fire ants over here.
    But they are very difficult things to get rid of - what has finally done for them here is the very wet weather we have had for some months now, which must have flooded their nests in the garden, usually made under paving .
    Incidentally I have one plant of Schomb. thompsoniana which has ben in flower for 4 months now - flowering successionally on the same spike - always half a dozen flowers out and more buds developing. I guess this is due to our different climate, and if I were to bring it to you,Angela, it would have a much better display, but all at once.

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    What I have read about them is that the ants use the PBs as housing and serve to protect the plant...in the meantime they provide incidental nutrients. That being the case, Geoff is certainly correct. The plant doesn't NEED the ants. Personally, I dont like using insecticides. Ant baits?
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    @ Bill, we dont have fire ants here, thanks heavens.! these are what are commonly called "black ants", they are a real pain, they invade all kinds of citrus and other trees, and with them come other problems ie. blight of all kinds.


    @ Geoff, thanks for responding. The Mahogany trees where these Schoms. are growing (before I took my cutting) are infested with these ants. Those plants seem to have no problem with them, they grow new Psbs. every year and flower without fail from about March - May. I am surprised that yours are in bloom now. I guess it's the difference in climate.
    I am going to treat the plant which I have mounted, with some Seven to get rid of the ants so that I can move it away from the tree, start fertilising and hopefully
    l it will surprise me with blooms for the show.
    Thanks again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dorsetman View Post
    Incidentally I have one plant of Schomb. thompsoniana which has ben in flower for 4 months now - flowering successionally on the same spike - always half a dozen flowers out and more buds developing.
    Could you post a picture of this Geoff?. I have had one now for 12 months, nil flowers, nice light green. AND no ants.

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    Best of luck Angela. How about a photo too.

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    Name:  Schombo-7-thompsonae.jpg
Views: 1436
Size:  131.3 KBName:  Schombo-6-thompsonae.jpg
Views: 584
Size:  51.5 KB
    Quote Originally Posted by rosie View Post
    Could you post a picture of this Geoff?. I have had one now for 12 months, nil flowers, nice light green. AND no ants.
    Not one pic but two...
    (You just snuck in under the wire - I am waiting for friends to come and join me on my way to our week of walking in the North...just time to take a couple of pics, and post).
    BTW you will of course reaolise that the plant does not live where it is pictured, but the light in the greenhouse is very dim this morning, so I took it outside. And I also add that is a six inch pot you see.

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    I just drown the plant in a bucket of water, takes a couple times to get all the ants, but Seven would probably be cleaner and easier. good luck

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    Name:  Mcp. Thomsiana.jpg
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    Geoff, I know you will be away walking up North, but I had to post my picture for comparison.(sorry, hope your inbox doesn't get too full). Mine is growing on cork, under a Melaleuca tree, morning sun, partial sun/shade rest of day.By the way, NO ANTS!!! Do they require a lot of fertilizing? I don't know what more I can do to bring on flowers. By the way, how far did you walk. Were you on an expedition of some kind?

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