Thursday, December 14, 2006

Vaseline for Africa

Caring for your Ficus

one ficus tree

Surprise! It's getting near Christmas, and in those last frenzied weeks of preparation, your beloved 15 year old ficus tree suddenly comes down with the sniffles. When you examine it you discover that in the space of one weeks' time, in full midwinter yet, your ficus has become infested with not one, not two but THREE different types of death dealing gross insect bugs!

1. The thrip is a fascinating creature. Attaching itself permanently to the stem of the plant and then concealing itself with a hard coating of chitin, the thrip is easily mistaken for a leaf bud, which strategy is purposefully deceptive on it's part and meant to lure you into it's thrippy trap. Not only will it subject your woody-stemmed plants to a slow death, it will actually shoot disgusting thrip faeces out its tiny thrip ass for a distance of up to three inches, coating your corner table, wall, telephone and neiboring leaves with clear, sticky driblets resembling Karo syrup, but not as tasty.

2. Mealy bugs are another threat to the health of your ficus. The mealy bug first permanently burrows its tiny mealy head into the leaf axils of your plant. Straining its minute sphincter muscles, it then poots out and coat its' mealy rest of itself hanging out of the branch with a wad of white, cottony fluff. Once hidden inside this fluffy white domicile of pooted outedness it performs secret mealy rituals which eventually prove fatal to the ficus.

3. No bigger than a gnat, the fungus gnat is a flying, beer actuated gnat which is driven to a suicidal frenzy by the presence of adult beverages in open containers, into which it leaps like a meth crazed diver off the rocks of Acapulco. Those gnats late to the fray retreat in a sulk to the potting soil of your ficus and burrow in deeply. Millions of vampiric grubs then shoot out their asses (seeing a pattern here?) and proceed to burrow into the root system of the plant and chew their way up to its' brain and out its' eyes. Most ficii find this fatal.

THE CURE: I used to have their t-shirt . The 'Absolute Beginners' one.

Have a glass container ready.
Grasp your biker firmly by the handle and squeeze gently. When the quid emerges, catch it in the glass container, and pat and pet your biker lovingly. This reinforces positive behaviors in your biker.
Add hot, not boiling water. To the glass, not the biker.
Set aside for several days, covered lightly. See above.
Watch as the fluid in the glass turns dark brown.
Transfer the now unnaturally thickened, lumpy substance into a larger glass container.
Add more hot water.
Place in an area reserved for the sanitary preparation of food.
Wait until someone complains.
Using a fine meshed, metal tea strainer which you fully intend to soak in boiling bleach afterwards, strain the liquid into a clean, empty spray container. Tap dregs into sink. Avoid examining the drain trap. Really. Don't do it.
Turning to your ficus, remove any dead leaves or twigs from the branches and the surface of the soil.
Place the giant, heavy, rootbound ficus tree into the center of your dining table, directly on the surface normally used for the sanitary consumption of food.
Go put on your husbands elastic hernia belt and take a brief lager break. Bat at fungus gnats.
Contemplate your ficus tree. Watch leaves fall off.
Work yourself into a murderous frenzy.
Without spreading anything to catch the drips, thoroughly and liberally spray the entire ficus with the unutterably foul nicotine solution, taking great care to coat every single surface above and below, as well as the entire surface of the soil, the table, the chairs, part of the carpet, your Opie, and the glass shade on the dining room light.
Step back and enjoy the fresh, holiday aroma of wintergreen chew and fermented biker saliva!
Note that your table, the chairs, your Opie, part of the rug and the glass shade on the dining room light now sport a shiny brown glaze, adding to that holiday mood!
Adjust hernia belt and settle in for another lager break. Curse fungus gnats.
Notice that as your body temperature adjusts upwards to compensate for the arctic conditions in your kitchen, the sleeves of your sweatshirt are emitting the fresh, clean
wintergreen aroma of chewing tobacco and fermented biker saliva.
Go back, stir the surface of the soil to a depth of at least one inch and soak with remaining tobacco solution. Watch emerging fungus gnats skitter across the surface. Soak them mercilessly with the solution, taking inordinate and unseemly joy in watching them twitch and struggle in agony as they die.

No it would NOT be easier to throw the whole thing in the trash. I raised this thing from a twig with two leaves on it. I'll be damned if I give up without a fight.


  1. Anonymous9:46 AM

    No wonder all my ficus trees die within days of buying them. I never knew they liked to be covered in liquid nicotine. Does it have to be mixed with biker spit or will it work if I just use the glass of water on the bedside table which I dropped my cigarette into last night? (was trying to locate the ashtray without switching the lamp back on)

    Where you been chickie???????
    and yes, that will work. the only time you drench them with nicotine is when they are infested with gross insect bugs, because this gives the bugs lung cancer and they die. anyway it kills them. but the ficus is noticeably perkier this morning.

  3. Anonymous11:45 AM

    check your email

  4. well that is FASCINATING.

    I do appreciate the sanitary aspect of this procedure.

    Very interesting. The ficus knows how much you love it. That's sweet.

  5. Oh fuckus it's a ficus with fungus gnats.

  6. Anonymous2:23 AM

    India. And we could have done with some of your nicotiney bikerspit potion there. The bugs FN, the bugs!

  7. Anonymous3:51 AM

    I use washing up liquid mixed with water in a sprayer - kills thrips and greenfly.

  8. Anonymous1:47 PM

    Good luck in the struggle. Scissors had a ficus for about fifteen years and when we first moved into our house, he left it on the porch during a rainstorm. Gone the next day. Bastards.

    Luckily that's the worst crime we've suffered.

  9. Anonymous7:08 AM

    Marvellous , I like a bit of extreme gardening with added body fluids.
    Does anyone else pee in their compost heap ?????

  10. Never heard of this plant sounds like a monster plant.
    I'm a little confused what this bum obesession has to do with plants.
    I like when bugs die. Winter takes care of that.