Baobabs: Uninvited Visitors…

Uninvited visitors like lice tend to infest Baobabs – particularly when they are kept outdoors. There are several ways to cope with these little “pests”. I have not yet tested some of the methods listed below – but to me they sound worthwhile to be shared.

A very simple way to ward off lice is to treat the affected Baobab with a targeted jet of water. If repeated several times it may help to get rid of the lice.

“Useful” insects can be exposed at or near the Baobabs. Among the useful insects are, for example, earwigs, ladybugs and lacewings. In order to convince earwigs to stay next to the Baobabs put some wood-wool in a flower pot and position it near the infested plant.

Or place the afflicted Baobab between plants with a high percentage of essential oils such as lavender. With the strong smell of the essential oils pests are held at bay. Savory is also said to be very helpful.

Another natural method used is nettle extract. Take one kilogram of nettle leaves and soak them for one day in 10 liters of water. The nettles release their toxins into the water. Take the mixture and spray – undiluted – onto the Baobab leaves. The manure left from the nettles can be used as fertilizer for the Baobabs or other plants (please keep in mind that Baobabs do not really need huge amounts of fertilizer…). The manure strengthens the plants and prevents further infestation by pests. After a week of applying the nettle extract the lice should be gone. I have not tried the nettle method myself yet.

Soft soap (without perfume) is another agent helpful in fighting lice on Baobabs. Dissolve one tablespoon of soap in one liter of water and apply to the affected plants. Instead of soap you could use dish-washing soap. In order to enhance the effect – add one tablespoon of alcohol. However, this mixture could leave brown spots on the leaves. I have not tested this method myself so far.

And one could apply the usual chemical agents found at hardware stores or chemists or nurseries on the affected baobabs. Most are poisons that act in a “systemic” way. The plants absorb the applied toxin and spread it through their system. Lice sitting on the leaves and stems feeding on the plants automatically absorb the toxines, too.

The methods listed above are best applied as soon as lice are spotted on Baobabs in order to prevent the spreading of them. Spraying Baobabs is done best early in the mornings or in the evenings and if possible under stable weather conditions without wind.

9 Replies to “Baobabs: Uninvited Visitors…”

  1. Pingback: Grow Baobabs From Seeds at home - Baobab

  2. i would like to grow baobab in drylands, through seeds and vegetative propagation methods. thus, i want techniques from you

  3. personally i just nicked the seed that had been soaking for 2-3 days and planted one to a 6 inch pot filled with seedling mix and scored 11 out of 12 seedlings after about 12-14 days in full sun,am lightly watering every 4 days,so far so good.Gary.

    • Hello Gary, that sounds like an amazing success story – you must be living in ideal baobab growing conditions – that score is amazing, well done & keep on enjoying your baobabs! Best regards, Heike

    • Hi Ted, thank you for your inquiry. Generally speaking: Yes, you can expose
      baobab roots (adansonia digitata) while you are transplanting a baobab
      into a larger pot. But: it depends on the age of the baobab. You should
      not transplant it before it has reached 3 months after germination.
      Baobabs invest a lot into building their little taproot/tuber during the
      first three months of their life and disrupting this period can do
      damage to the plant. Once they are over their first three months you
      still need to be careful but you can repot them. Hope this information
      helps. Kind regards, Heike

  4. Greetings Heiki,
    Hope you and yours are safe and well.
    My Baobab is a little over a year old now and about 2′ tall. I just potted it up into 10″ pot.
    It got spider mites a few months ago but I took care of that.
    My ‘second’ concern is that it is slowly, very slowly, getting spots and light green areas on the leaves that don’t seemed to be caused by anything in particular. I did overfertilize once, I believe, as there are classic symptoms on some leaf tips (over-parenting). My ‘primary’ concern is a lack of new leaf buds. It’s down to about 12 leaves and I’m worried they will not be replaced. It’s lived its life in a south facing window in Northern Michigan and maybe it’s just not the correct season- do baobabs have seasons like our maples and oaks?. I sure would like to see some new growth!
    Thanks for listening, go wash your hands and stay safe!

    • Hi Chris, thank you for contacting me. In fact – yes, baobabs do have seasons and you can find more about leaves in a recent post on my website here:

      The spots and light green areas may mean that they are a reaction to the repotting. It may be that you watered your baobab regularly during winter and you kept it at a warm (20 degrees and more) & sunny spot – then they tend to keep their levaes longer. It was the same with my baobabs – they kept their leaves all winter and just a few weeks ago started to drop them. Meanwhile they show little spots where they will sprout new leaves as it is quite sunny and warm and the days get longer (all of this has an impact on the leaves). This information and the information with the link should give some answers. In case you like you could send some photographs of the leaves – it is a bit difficult to diagnose from far but I’ll try my very best… All the best to you & your baobab & stay healthy – Heike

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