Are these plants infested?

HoyabeginnerFebruary 10, 2013

Hi Everyone,

This is the first time I ever have houseplants. I live in a condo where the window does not open, but receive ample light....the air circulation is so bad that I thought a few plants will help. I fell in love at the first sight of Hoya...and ordered them from Hirt's....

Then...I read about all sorts of mealy bugs and how easy Hoyas get infested.....

My hoyas all have white powdery stuff on them....i tried to wash them gently...but the powder remains them...i don't know if these are mealy bugs or any other pests....I searched forums and forums of photos...but still not sure......can anyone please please help me identify?

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I'm not sure what you're talking about - your Hoyas look fine. Do a google image search of mealies and you can see what they look like. You'll typically see them in the leaf axils (where the leaf joins the stem), sometimes on the leaf undersides. Just watch your plants, keep the leaves clean by spraying them vigorously with water now and then. Isolate new plants until you are confident they are bug free.

Denise in Omaha

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 8:43PM
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Hi Denise,

Thank you so much....I can't tell because there are so many white powdery stuff on top of the leaves...and then one day...I saw a small white thing flying....and disappeared.....I guess I was just concerned because this is the first time I have any houseplants!

It is a huge relief to hear from someone who knows what to look for! I only watered the soil and not from the top of the leaves. I will do so them! Thanks a lot!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 8:50PM
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I don't see anything white or powdery, so I'm wondering if you're noticing the natural "fuzz" on leaves. It's very fine and those of us with old eyes don't even see it anymore (unless it's a particularly hairy plant!) The flying bug may have been either a fungus gnat or a whitefly. I can't really advise you on whitefly because I've never had them, but you can buy little yellow sticky things to put in your pots that attract and kill fungus gnats. They're usually a sign of heavy soil that's too moist. Be sure to let them approach dryness before watering (not bone-dry, mind you...)

And as for keeping the leaves clean, I keep a few spray bottles handy (I have LOTS of plants) with water and some VF-11 (a mild fertilizer) and when I water, I spray the foliage. It gives them a little foliar feed and keeps them clean - two birds, one stone!

Denise in Omaha

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 9:40AM
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It looks like it's probably mineral residue from evaporated water, or something like that. That can be very hard to remove (for a photo shoot - not b/c it's necessary).

Denise covered your question very well, but I just wanted to add one thing, because I remember feeling just like you when I first started collecting Hoyas.

Mealy bug eggs do look a bit like a spattered spray of white stuff, but it's visibly three dimensional. All mealy bug "materials" have a sort of fluffy cobwebby feel to them. Not powdery. Also, adult mealies are distinctive looking and easy to see with the naked eye. You will definitely know them when you see them. They are like small pill bugs. So feel confident. :) The most common enemies of Hoyas (mealies and scale) are very easy to spot indeed.

Also, if you ever get feeling like a nervous nelly, Mike always recommends putting a little Palmolive in a spray bottle, and spraying your plants thoroughly with it. This will smother a lot of bug stages, and keep you with the upper hand. (Do not use harsher detergents.) You can do this regularly, just to be bug discouraging.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 4:43PM
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Hi Everyone,

Denise, thank you again for answering my post and your tips!!!! So much too learn...and will definitely try that! They do have furry white hair...very short ones...but also some white spots....which as greedy ghost suggests...could be mineral spots.....but I feel safer that they are not pests....thanks again...

Greedy ghost, thank you for explaining it to me...l got nervous because I can't wash the white stuff away...but they don't look 3D.....and the white powder don't move....though the flying white stuff flew once and I couldn't seem to spot it again......and it is the first time growing houseplants for me...and I don't want to accidentally kill anything because of my negligence.....

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 5:13PM
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Yeah, I feel you. It's hard in the beginning when you haven't seen the face of your enemy, and everything spooks you.

I took the time to download the pictures and zoom in all the way, since you provided such nice large photos. That's definitely just mineral residue. The leaves themselves have hairs, of course, and bits of fuzz or dust can get stuck to them, too. But, if you actually had mealy bugs, they and their eggs would wipe away as effortlessly as wiping dust from a shelf. It's exterminating them from every nook and cranny that's the hard part. If you're using a q-tip soaked with alcohol, you'll see their color change from white to brown, when you touch them, too.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 2:34PM
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Wow! Greedy ghost,

That was a lot of details so I know what to look for....I did try to use q tip, and nothing came I thought these eggs must be really tough.... :) of course now I know what there are after your explanation....!!! Thanks again!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 3:24PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Mealy bugs are very distinctive looking, they appear as white cottony fluff (nothing else looks like that that I've seen) & this particular plant can be a magnet for them.

So Hurray that you don't have them, so now you can relax a bit & enjoy. That's a nice looking H compacta you've got, looks healty. The first one does too (H Krimson Princess? or Carnosa picta?)

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 7:19PM
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Hi Pirate girl!

Thank you! It is the first time growing houseplants or any plants for I am really nervous....where I live the windows don't open, so it is important to grow some plants...and I fell in love with them I think...I just got them for a little over a week...almost all from Hirt's...except one from whole foods...(gerbera daisy)... But I think the daisy is dying....along with all the Christmas cactus I got from Hirt's)they were soaking wet soil that never dries when they arrived through mail order.(this website is full of information...but can be really difficult yet educational for a newbie like me...and I think I might need to repot them? I am trying my best now to figure out how...)

The Hoya is a Hindu rope Hoya and a carnosa exotica....I has a few pink leaves...but mainly green and very light green...I hope I can take good care of them....I have seen so many beautiful Hoya photos while browsing for info on how to take care of them....(and just learned that they take years and years of nourishment to bloom)... But they are just amazing!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 3:56AM
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