Virus questions

Bill Richardson
Fri, 12 Jul 2002 20:45:33 PDT
Dear Mary Sue,
As always, Mary Sue, your posts are  thought-provoking and interesting and
give us all plenty to discuss.
The recipe I referred to in my article was for MILK SPRAY, which basically
said "dissolve 500 grams of dried milk in 4 litres of water and spray
directly onto the leaves, showing signs of virus disease." I have not had
need to  try this.
I know this sounds like a generalisation and I will refer back to my
references to see if I can find more about it.
But if milk is suggested, I wonder what the properties and components of
milk might be that would work?
How would it work?
Why would it work?
I wonder if any of our forum team have any experience in this area, who may
Here is the link to my article on Suite 101:

The only virus I have seen here at home has been on Fuchsias which are very
prone to virus and I have not wanted to use the chemicals suggested, so I
usually destroy the plant and replace it.

I have been fortunate enough not to experience virus in any of my bulbs.
Most of what I grow has been from seed, probably mainly because what I want
to grow is not available in Australia and if they are, usually over-priced
by some of the specialist nurseries here that sell bulbs in Australia.

I  bought Lachenalia bulbs, but mostly seed from Bruce Knight in NSW when he
was in business,  but Bruce was very fastidious about his plants and I'm not
sure if he ever experienced virus. I also got some Agapanthus and a few
Hippeastrums from him with no problems.
I have a few Romulea from other sources and I grow Sparaxis (none virused).

Mary Sue, I used to sterilise all my soil, either in the oven (I wasn't
popular with the cook!) or by pouring boiling water through the soil. I have
also tried the microwave. Probably the radiation of the microwave would
affect your bulbs.

I don't bother sterilising soil any more and I still re-use  my  old mix as
like you, the cost is prohibitive when you pot a 1000 or more pots. I don't
use chemicals of any kind and I use minimal amounts of blood and bone.
Sometimes I use garlic spray or pyrethrum.

Often I think the problem is we over-stress our plants with chemicals,
over-fertilising, over-watering or whatever and weaken them; and often
unseasonable climatic conditions bring on problems, which we are unable to

Your reference to using black plastic is spot on  for killing weeds, and
possibly the depth in the ground of the bulbs might have saved them as well
as getting rid if the competition of grasses and weeds. The heat generated
kills everything close to the top and this would benefit any bulbs that may
have been laying dormant for years underground.
This has been noted in a lot of South African Botanical Society  and IBSA
articles and observations made where fire has been through an area and bulbs
have appeared that have been dormant for a long time.

Mary Sue, it would be interesting and worthwhile to possibly compile our own
list of plants where people have had problems with Virus.
Yours is a good start.
Meanwhile, I will look further into it, but be patient as I work full time
and I am also studying at present and time is precious and scarce at my

Presently, I tend to a lot of my bulb chores in the dark in the mornings
before I go to work and arrive home in the dark to  jobs and assignments and
essays. Hopefully, this will improve when daylight saving starts here and
the days lengthen.
Life is not dull around here.
Bill Richardson
0-15c. Cold, wet days of winter.
Ixia site:
Suite 101 site:

----- Original Message -----
From: "Mary Sue Ittner <>" 
To: "Pacific Bulb Society" <>
Sent: Saturday, July 13, 2002 12:29 AM
Subject: Virus questions

Also I was reading Bill Richardson's article in BULBS about ways of dealing with pests with common ingredients available to us like garlic. In it there is a suggested treatment for virus that I had missed the first time I read it. I had always read there was no solution. Bill, do you know anyone who has tried it and found it works?

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