June 21st, 2019

Winter Sunlight

My cactus has aphids, and other minor woes

This requires some backstory.

Last fall, the first long-ish story I wrote for Iron Fist was Cute But Prickly, a post-S2 story in which Ward accidentally gets turned into a cactus.

This turned into a running joke when [personal profile] rachelmanija and I were in Tucson in February, where there are CACTUS EVERYWHERE (including loads of little potted cactuses) and led to me coming home not just with cactus-themed everything, but with three miniature potted cactuses that Rachel helped me pick out. I was only going to get one (Rachel: "Which one of these cactuses looks like it's saying 'I have been turned into a cactus and I'm not happy about it?") but then I realized that I could also get a Danny cactus to keep my Ward cactus company, and you can't have a Danny cactus without a Colleen cactus and, uh, this is how I ended up with three potted cactuses.

The Ward cactus is the absolute prickliest cactus I could find (it pokes me every time I try to water it, I swear); the Colleen cactus is tiny and cute but also very prickly, although in a somewhat less in-your-face way than the Ward one; and the Danny cactus is a very serene-looking cactus with only the smallest of tokenistic prickles. (Rachel and I decided that Danny would probably be pretty okay with being a cactus; it's good for meditating.) If these cactus each had a philosophy of life, it would be, respectively: "I am a cactus and I hate it," "I am a cactus; plz don't touch me or I will poke you," and "I am a cactus; life is good. :)"

(I don't know how much of our conversation the nursery staff could hear, but they really must have wondered about us.)

Anyway, the reason why I'm making this post is because I just have to say that I really wish I'd owned a cactus before writing that story, because I would have had SO MANY MORE THINGS for Danny to panic about than just making sure Ward-cactus has proper humidity and doesn't get too much sun. Since becoming a cactus owner, I have:

- Dropped my cactus.
- Accidentally broken spines off my cactus.
- Poked myself on my cactus. A lot. (Particularly the Ward cactus, which is the prickliest cactus imaginable. The Colleen cactus pokes me occasionally. The Danny one never has.)
- Gotten one cactus stuck to another cactus, to my hand, to the plastic dish in which they live, etc.

But then there was today, when O. was looking at my cactuses in the window and said, "Did you know one of your cactuses has fungus on it?"

It was the Ward cactus. OF COURSE it was the Ward cactus. If ever there was a cactus this sort of thing WOULD happen to ... Though the Colleen one has a little of it too. The Danny one does not. (He's too serene.)

So I panicked about having over-watered them and put them outside in the sunshine for awhile, and then I decided it would maybe help to take a Q-tip and clean off the fungus. I was diligently working on this when I realized that the white fluffy stuff all over the cactus wasn't fungus or mold, it was the white fluff that aphids produce, and I know this because IT'S MOVING. D:

Brand new panic time! I know how to get rid of aphids on houseplants by spraying them thoroughly with soapy water, but can you do that to a cactus? What if getting wet kills them?! We Googled this and it turns out that the soapy water treatment is fine for this, so we did that and now the cactus are drying in the sun. I assume they're going to be okay. I hope. I didn't realize that getting aphids was a thing that could happen to cactuses, but apparently it is.

(Also, I'm pretty sure the Colleen cactus caught aphids from the Ward cactus, which does seem like something that would happen to her.)

So basically the point is, I missed an opportunity to write Danny panicking about Ward having aphids*, and I had to tell you all about it.

*Pretty sure there is no h/c bingo square for this.

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