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HelloI have two table grape vines growing in my conservatory

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I have two table grape vines growing in my conservatory, although the roots are outside as they once grew over a pergola. About 20 years ago we took down the pergola and built a conservatory round them without disturbing the roots. They create lovely shade in the spring and summer and provide quantities of grapes, far more than we need.

Over the past two years, and especially this year, they are creating a stickiness which gets on to the tiled floor and furniture. Towards the end of this season I needed to wash the floor everyday. We took the fruit off earlier than the leaves, and this helped slightly but not a great deal. All the leaves are now off and the problem of stickiness seems to have more or less gone. At least the floor no longer feels sticky.

We love the vine, but are seriously contemplating taking it down, or at least cutting the root and using the frame to grow something else up.

Could you help us with either solving the problem, or giving us some advice on what we might grow up the dead vine frame instead.

Very many thanks.

Patricia Dexter



I suspect you have a problem pest rather than a problem vine.

The stickiness is probably Honeydew, a sugar food source for Aphid, Ant, Wasp and all and sundry of insect.

29 Oct, 2011


Hi Patricia,

Apart from the problem that you described, It sounds like you have a relatively healthy mature grape vine producing nice fruit.

What you appear to have is an infestation of Mealybug. they are sap sucking insects that feed on the sap from your plant and produce a sticky sugary substance called honeydew on the leaves.

You can check to see if it's Mealybug. Do the leaves appear to have fluffy white wax like patches on the leaf axils, with Orange or pink spots underneath this coating, which are the eggs?

Mainly mealybugs thrive in warm conditions and don't usually present a problem with outdoor plants. They are active all year round on indoor plants and in greenhouses, so beware. Although the leaves on the vine will drop, and the vine will go into winter dormancy, as far as I'm aware, they will probably be active or have laid eggs in the branches of the plant.

I wouldn't get rid of your vine Patricia, as it should be relatively easy to treat. You could try using a systemic insecticide in the growing season, or treat the problem naturally if you like by introducing ladybirds into your conservatory which will feed on them.

Hope this helps?

29 Oct, 2011

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