GARDENING: Your problems solved, with BRIAN KIDD

Variegated holly
Variegated holly
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Our expert answers your e-mails and letters.

Q: Our camellia has been attacked by scale insect. Older leaves are smothered with sooty mould; new shoots look wonderful. V and W, Portchester.

A: Provado insecticide will do the trick but there is another method. Use 2oz of soap flakes and an ounce of soda crystals dissolved in a gallon of water. Shake well and spray under the leaves and then on top. Repeat two hours later and the second high pressure spray will remove the mould. Repeat the following week . Don’t spray until the sun has gone off the shrub.

Q: What is the problem with my variegated holly bush? There are blisters on several leaves. GD, Horndean.

A: This is a pest called holly leaf miner. Pesticides are no longer available to deal with it. So, remove every leaf with a blister. This may take an hour but will ensure it will not happen again.

Q: My cyclamen finished blooming but I have kept it in the pot. Will it grow again? I hope so because I have never had one with such a lovely perfume. SP, Southsea.

A: I am glad you enjoyed the perfume. It’s well worthwhile finding one with perfume. In early July remove all the compost and repot it into fresh potting compost. Keep cool in plenty of light but not direct sunshine and it should be in bloom again about Christmas.