Two questions from readers: million bells get brown, bleach on roses

million bells in Amherst NY 2010Question #1: What should you do about million bells that get brown?
Here’s a question from reader Jim Barbati:
“Every year in mid-August my million bells begin to brown out on the underside of the plant. I think the cause may be white flies. Any ideas about how to control this? Thank you.”Question #2: Can you save a rose that was damaged by bleach?
Here’s a question from Charlotte Luksic:
“I sprayed my roses with water and bleach. Is there anything I can do to save them? I had two bottles. The one was marked, so I thought the one I had was just soap and water– wrong. Very foolish mistake. I was using the soapy water to get rid of pesky bugs. So sad.”

Readers, can you help?

Sometimes readers contact me with questions that I can’t answer. I’m not a gardening expert– I’m a writer by profession. I interview knowledgeable people in order to provide you with great articles on

So when someone asks a question I can’t answer, I post the question and rely on my readers to share their expertise. If you have advice for Jim or Charlotte, please leave a comment below. If you want to know the answer to this question, check back later to read the comments.

Sending a question to me to post can be helpful if you’re looking for a wide range of opinions and don’t mind waiting for the answer. If you want to try this route, email the question to me at and I’ll pose it to my readers in an upcoming issue.

A more efficient route for getting your questions answered is to turn to Master Gardeners with Cornell Cooperative Extension or to turn to your local garden center.

For Master Gardeners at Cornell Cooperative Extension Erie County, call (716) 652-5400 from 9 a.m. to noon weekdays or email them at For Chautauqua County, email your question to; call the Helpline at (716) 664-9502, ext 224, or stop in to the Ag Center, 3542 Turner Rd., Jamestown,  from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays.

There are helpful Cornell Cooperative Extension offices in other counties, too. Find contact information here for your county’s Cooperative Extension office.

The shops that support this magazine have very knowledgeable staff. Click on an ad and you’ll be taken to their website or Facebook page to get their hours, address and other important information.

4 Comments on “Two questions from readers: million bells get brown, bleach on roses

  1. For the bleach, I would say rinse the plant thoroughly under the hose for a while and hope for the best!

  2. Carol Ann, thanks for that helpful advice. How about the question concerning bleach on the rose plant? Can anything be done?

  3. When it is warm whiteflies can be quite a problem. Blast the underside of the plants with water. Some people also use a small hand vacuum to suck up the flies. You can cut away the damaged plant tissue. Using insecticides for this problem is difficult because they must directly strike the whiteflies to be effective. Neem oil and/or horticultural oils are also a possibility.

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