White powder on indoor palm

always_outside(8a DFW, TX)March 1, 2008

I have a palm as pictured below and I noticed a lot of the newer leaves were turning brown, so I did a close-up and noticed tiny little white dust like particles literally all over the plant's leaves. I also noticed some webby material, like cobwebs. I was horrified and immediately took the plant outside. It is currently enduring 40 degree nights and 70 degree day temperatures. I feel bad about deserting it outside, but don't know what to do about this problem. I can't use any toxic chemicals. This palm has two NEW shoots coming out, so I know the plant itself is healthy despite this mite, dust, whatever it is. Please help me save this plant. :( What do I need to do to save it? Thanks for any help.

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Your palm has spider mites. This is not unusual over the winter season with indoor cultivation. I had this recently with a Christmas palm. I immediately dragged it into the shower and liberally showered it (being sure to especially get the underside of the leaves (some soapy water helps). It looks better now and I just have to hold out until my frost safe date for the plant when I can get it out in part sun. Not sure it is reliably warm enough in your area for it to be not now--especially as it came from a warm home. Unacclimated leaves may burn some due to cooler temps and direct sun (watch those min. temps!) PS. You can also try using an insecticidal soap aftering giving it a shower to inhibit further infestation. Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 10:09AM
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always_outside(8a DFW, TX)

njoasis: Thank you for your helpful information. Mites - ooooh, doesn't sound too good. I never thought about washing it off in the shower, but that sounds like something I can do to help this plant! I will give it a good cleaning tomorrow in the shower and use some insecticidal soap like you suggested (I actually have some from last year when an outdoor plant got aphids!). I'm glad I'm able to salvage this beautiful plant. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 10:51PM
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