Fungus on a Hoya

shonoo(6B, PA)July 1, 2008

I have a hoya plant that I keep indoors all the time. In the last 2-3 weeks I have noticed there is white powdery-sticky fungus on some branches. There is an asparagus near by and that plant has the same thing on it. I don't know where it started, but on the Hoya it seems to be spreading. I also noticed some clear but sticky glue-like substance on the floor around the Hoya. Am I onto a new strain of antibiotics :-)

How do I get rid of the fungus on the hoya ?( and the asparagus too.)

I am not sure what variety it is but the flowers look very much like the one in the header of this group.


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Could be mealy bugs or scale. Do you have a picture? I don't believe mealy bugs leave any sticky substance around, but scale does, and there is a type called wooly scale that could be white..try googling both critters and see if the pictures match what you have.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 10:29AM
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Hi, I think its scale, they suck the sap out of the plant and leave a very sticky mess all arround the plant and on the floor...I had it once on a jerusalem cherry, I picked off the scale(little hard brown like beads) and washed the plant gently with soapy water(careful not to get it in the soil) maybe someone else has a better remedy, sorry to say the plant died..good luck with yours hope you do better then I did...linda

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 10:44AM
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I've found that Listerine (I use the blue kind) diluted 1/3 to 2/3 water in a mister is mean enough to kill most stuff without killing the plants, even orchids. Can you take it and the asparagus fern outside, hang on a tree limb and spray really well, (including undersides of leaves) then repeat in 4-6 days? Watch carefully, and reapply if necessary. I'd leave both plants hanging in the tree for a few weeks if that is an option.

If its truly a fungus, you'll have to get a fungicide and cut down on watering.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 8:19PM
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Sticky residue sounds like mealies or scale to me, too. I'd hit it with a systemic because once you have these pests, you will never, EVER get rid of them, even with the best of remedies. But w/systemics, you will at least resolve the problem for about 6 months or so...Bayer's Tree & Shrub, which you can find at Lowes, HD, etc., 1 tablespoon to 1/2 gallon of water. Water it in. Pick off any critters you can see with a Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol. Good luck!

Denise in Omaha

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 10:04PM
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shonoo(6B, PA)

Thanks every one. I never thought about bugs! I will try and look more carefully and also try to get a picture. I do have blue listerine at home- I'll try that this evening.
IS the systemics stuff safe for indoor plants. For now I can leave the Hoya and the asparagus outdoors for a few days.
Hang stuff from a tree ? I wish I had that kind of luck - I have just one maple, two white pines and two sycamores - all along the front of the property - not exactly suited for hanging dirty laundry -er plants :-)
The entire backyard is one stretch of grass, brownish grass at the moment :-(
shonoo in SE PA

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 9:04AM
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Good luck, Shonoo!

Let us know what happens. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you! I'm guessing that your Sycamores and Maples are really big without low hanging branches. If you leave the fern and the hoya outside, do you have a semi-shady place to put them in?

The reason I ask is that I nearly killed a wonderful 20 year old Jade plant from sunburn by sticking it outside in the yard one night to get rainwater (it takes two people to transport her), then neglecting to bring it back in the house for two days.) She lived, but I don't know if she'll ever be as beautiful as before I let the sun burn her. (Guilt, guilt.)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 8:31PM
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shonoo, I am right across the river from you, we have all that crunchy brown grass too!

I have never heard of using listerine, pretty interesting. If that doesn't work, you can try insecticidal soap for houseplants - I personally do not use systemics because I don't think that such strong chemicals are good for us and the environment, and when it is a small infestation, you could probably wipe it out without using anything too strong. As for using systemics indoors, if it is one meant for tropicals/houseplants, I suppose it is ok if it says so on the label. Alot of people here use BATS, someone can give you the full name, its a tree and shrub systemic,and it isn't supposed to be used indoors... but so far the people who use it that way are still alive and kicking - and there is no doubt the stuff is lethal to the critters on plants.

Scale can be tough to get rid of, but considering the small amount you have, I would still try other methods the Listerine, then go from there. If it doesn't work, at least your plants will smell fresh and minty.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 9:34PM
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Diluted Listerine has been my choice for critter killing for quite awhile. The first time I tried it was on heirloom yellow tomatoes for whitefly. It worked like a dream. I'm a farmer's daughter. Dad would have used Malathian.

The alcohol content is certainly the effective ingredient, but Listerine seems to work even better than straight alcohol. (Maybe the bugs hate the mint scent.) I'm in S. Fla, and we get every critter, bug, snake, ant, spider, slug, etc. imaginable. Oh and mushrooms and fungus too, since we're sub-tropical.

Most people around here have a monthly service to spray chemicals in the house. I've lived in this house for 7 years and haven't resorted to the insecticide invasion. So far so good as far as bugs. The only problem I've had is diluted Listerine overspray on my windows. That's why I recommended hanging the plant from a tree limb. (I friggin hate window washing.)

So. Give it a whirl. If it doesn't work on your bugs, you can always gargle the leftovers.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 9:41PM
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imatallun, do you spray the listerine around your house too, to keep the bugs out?

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 7:45AM
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I just found the below paragraph on the FAQ section in the GW hoya forum:

What is Listerine used for and how do I use it?
Listerine is a readily available home remedy which may be used on orchids. The original (gold colored) Listerine has anti-fungal, and probably anti-bacterial qualities. The high alcohol content makes it also effective against bugs. Since it is fairly weak, it is largely used by the growers on this site as a preventative, particularly when potting, or as something in a pinch until you can get something better. It is used full strength as a spray on, and should not be used for prolonged periods because the alcohol may have drying effects on your plants. Using it for 2 Â 3 days consecutively is not a problem.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 1:17PM
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oops, I meant to say "orchid" forum

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 7:31PM
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I've only used it (Listerine) as a preventative measure, so I haven't used it inside yet. I have used Windex inside for ants though. Works like a charm.

What do you think of the beer formula? (I tipped a bit of beer over my hoyas today, thinking they would like that but not the epsom salts and ammonia.) Just got back from the Daytona races and found a Bofu toad in my trash can and an 8" brilliant blue land crab in my backyard. Gotta love Fla. Maybe I'll spray the crab with Blue Listerine, or else I'll find another 20 crabs in my yard next week.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 5:05PM
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What I would not give to be living where I would find crabs in my backyard! Of course, there is a downside to that - I did live on a bay for several years, and the local boys would put crabs on the docks, and place bets on whether the crab would make it to the edge and back into the water before being dismembered alive by the hovering seagulls.

I've used the beer formula, for two seasons - just the growing seasons, thru the winter my light levels are so low indoors that the plants just go into a resting stage.
I have heard all the arguments that it's all nitrogen, but nitrogen does promote green leafy growth, which foliage plants can benefit from. I did not get the same results as David (dmichael) from the beer fertilizer. I got the same results as I did from every other fertilizer I have used. His plants are beautiful, but I think that the reason for that is the combination of his greenhouse environment and his green thumb, along with a hi-nitrogen fertilizer....although I only used the original forumla of beer, amonia, and epsom salts, not all the additives he now uses. Maybe those additives make up for the lack of other ingredients people say the beer fertilizer needs to be beneficial. If I had the ingredients on hand, I would whip up a batch here and there to use, just for something different. I can't say what the long term results are of using it on my plants, because I only used it for a few months each time.

I really believe that if a plant has good fresh soil and all of its other requirements are being met, there is less of a need for fertilizer. Especially when the plants are outdoors.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 10:40AM
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shonoo(6B, PA)

I used Scope -since that's what I had- and really diluted it. 100 ml or so in a 1.5 liter spray bottle. Also cleaned up as much as I could with a cotton tipped ear bud dipped in that solution. The Hoya seems to be clean now . The asparagus fern is still questionable. We also got several drenching rains when these plants were out doors. I am guessing some real rain water would help too.

Thanks for every one'e help.
Shonoo in SE PA

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 8:54PM
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Hi Shonoo,

How is your Hoya doing now? Hope all is well!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 7:00PM
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I don't know if I missed it or not, but did you say you had a cure for fungus (mushrooms) in your houseplants?



    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 10:35PM
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