So let's just get it out of the way: the scale are back. I've seen scale on nine Anthurium seedlings in the last couple weeks.1 So far, the infestation is localized to a particular corner of the basement, but it's not as if the scale stay still, so that means probably no Anthurium-selling this year. Which is perhaps just as well, since I hadn't made any real progress on deciding which seedlings to sell. (If you feel like you really, really want an Anthurium and don't care whether it comes with scale or not, uh, I guess e-mail me or something.)
The cause in this particular case is that I have had a Gasteraloe x beguinii for many years, and it got infested by scale, but I thought maybe I could clean off and restart four offsets and have scale-free plants again. The restart attempt happened in November, and by March, it was clear that I had not, in fact, managed to get the scale off three of the four offsets. So out those went. One offset appeared clean, though, so I let it stay. A week ago, while I was shoving its flat back into place on the shelf, I happened to snag a leaf from the single remaining Gasteraloe on something, and it broke off and fell into the flat of Anthuriums below. I didn't know that's what had happened at the time, but even if I had known, I might not have worried about it, since I hadn't seen scale on that plant for a while. But, there were enough scale on the leaf that fell down that they managed to colonize several Anthuriums in a short period of time. And so now there's a new outbreak to deal with.
The moral of the story: some plants cannot be de-scaled, and attempting to de-scale them anyway only compounds the problem.2
Which brings us to Anthurium 0580 "Marsha Marsha Marsha." I liked her well enough when I saw her bloom that I up-potted her to a 6-inch pot, but the only available space for the new pot was the general area that's experiencing the outbreak, and the outbreak's extent wasn't known at the time, so now she, too, has scale. We had best not get too attached to Marsha.
But. The bloom is pretty nice, more or less interchangeable with that of 0120 "Eliza Boutisecksis." Marsha's only the second orange / orange bloom I've seen,3 and appears to be long-lived, a normal size, and decently shaped. So she's got that going for her.
The foliage is okay. Marsha and her clone (or sibling) 0581 "Adam All" did something odd simultaneously in March, where a few of the larger, newer leaves on both plants developed odd lighter-colored squiggles throughout them, almost overnight. Subsequent leaves haven't had that problem, but the discoloration appears to be permanent on the affected leaves. Ordinarily, I'd assume that that sort of color change indicated a nutrient deficiency (or maybe overdose?), but since it's only happening to two closely-related plants out of several hundred, and those two aren't getting anything the other 700 don't, I'm sort of at a loss to explain. It's at least sort of pretty.
The overall plant is pretty nice-looking, too, as the seedlings go. Still pretty compact, no thrips damage.
But when I went down to the basement to check on the discolored leaves, I still found several tiny little scale insects to rub off the leaves, and I'm sure I didn't get them all. You never get them all. So Marsha is probably, ultimately, doomed. I don't want her to be, I intend to try to get rid of the scale even if it involves throwing out a bunch of other seedlings (and it probably will), but in the end I think I will probably fail, and Marsha will end up in the garbage. I don't feel particularly depressed by this: it's closer to a sort of weary numbness. I'm not sure if that's better or worse than being depressed.
2 Which plants? I have found that there's no point in even trying to salvage Agave, Aloe, Alworthia, Asparagus, Ficus, Furcraea, Gasteraloe, Gasterworthia, Hoya, Manfreda, Neoregelia, and Pereskia, because no matter what you do or how thoroughly you do it, they'll always come back, and in the process of trying, you'll often get yourself stabbed with spines, soaked with neem oil, or otherwise frustrated.
It's also pointless to try to rid Alpinia, Ardisia, Cyrtomium, Nematanthus, Podocarpus, Schefflera, and Zingiber of scale, but the experience is somewhat less horrible.
Occasionally, it actually is possible to eliminate scale from Albuca, Anthurium, Begonia, Coffea, Epipremnum, Hatiora, Haworthia, Hippeastrum, Murraya, Philodendron, Phlebodium, Strelitzia, Syngonium, and Yucca, though in many of those cases the solution is to cut the plant back to the ground and/or remove all foliage, and let it start over again, which is a drastic enough solution that it's not always going to be worth it.
Also it should be kept in mind that this only applies to the particular species of scale I'm dealing with, and in my particular home environment: I won't guarantee anything when it comes to other kinds of scale and other living conditions.
3 Maybe the third, if 0118 "Elijah Sturdabowtit" counts as orange / orange. Elijah is definitely orange / orange when the spathe first opens, but he changes to pink / pink so quickly that it's tough to put him in either category.