I am new to the world of bonsai and gardening in general. I am wondering if pest maintenance is necessary on my indoor portulacaria afra due to two recent observations:
There are extremely small (~2-3mm long) shiny silver bugs on the surface roots and soil. I can't tell if they have wings, but they remind me of beetles. I haven't seen them on the trunk or above yet. I'll only be able to provide a photo if I can manage to catch one since they never seem to stay still.
A small spiky green growth has appeared between two of the surface roots. Perhaps this is some sort of fungus or moss? I haven't tried removing it yet. Here are images of this odd growth:
Here is some background information that may contain clues:
The afra receives 12hrs of light per day from a full spectrum LED grow light. I can provide more details on the light if helpful.
The afra resides in a small greenhouse I made out of a clear plastic comforter zipper bag and pvc pipes to improve humidity. The humidity scale within the greenhouse often reads 70-80% when the light is on. At these times you can see a mist/condensation on the inside of the greenhouse. Perhaps this species requires less humidity in general, I'm not sure.
The greenhouse resides in a relatively warm room in our basement due to a nearby furnace. I've never measured the temperature in there, but it never feels "cold".
The afra receives water about every 5 days. I wait until the soil is dry before watering. I use a soil moisture sensor to determine when it is dry enough to warrant watering.
Someday I hope to meet the artist that showcased that beautiful and inspiring portulacaria afra at the Denver Botanic Gardens last September. Would be nice to learn more about basic care, pest maintenance, and styling techniques unique to this species.
Thank you for your time reading this post,
Hey Travis, those little green growths almost look like Irish moss. It grows pretty crazy in my outdoor trees and is a bit invasive. As it matures it makes little flowers that explode and spread their seeds everywhere. You could let them grow some more to see what they end up being it you're curious.
I'd advise just pluck them out with tweezers and keep a watchful eye.
Welcome to the club. It is hard to tell from your photo what your talking about. Assuming for the moment it is an insect of some kind, mix half and half water and rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle. Spray the whole tree, trunk, branches, leaves, soil, pot three days in a row. That should kill any insects except scale. You can also just use a q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol and swab the bugs. Spray is best though. Q-tip would be good for follow up care. Pull the little green things off. You should not have to use a greenhouse with your tree. Just leave it under the lights and it will be fine. Mealy bugs love your tree by the way and are hard to get rid off. You can also try Bayer Advanced and apply to the soil. It is a systemic insecticide and might kill off your bugs. You can buy that any box store.