Something's on my plants...?

bulletz64(z8 SEA)January 13, 2013

Hi! I have an indoor plant that started dying off, I noticed this white stuff on its leaves and the leaves are just dropping off. I don't know what it is, how to treat my plants.. what do I do? Can somebody please guide me on the best way to treating my plant before all the leaves drop off? I wiped the leaves with a water/vinegar solution, I don't know if it will help but I had to do something. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5


first.. it should be obvious.. that it does not retain its leaves forever..

its winter.. its probably shedding the oldest leaves.. due to reduced light ...

second.. i would get a full ID.. and find out how to renovate/propagate it into a more vigorous life ...

third.. as to the white stuff.. i too would have wiped it down.. i dont know if i would have used vinegar.. but sounds harmless enough ...

i r/o wooly aphids.. indoors in winter.. but suggest mealy bugs.. see link ...


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 4:11PM
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bulletz64(z8 SEA)

Hi! Thank you for the reply. Yes, I do know that plants don't retain their leaves forever and I'm fine with that but with all those white things on its leaves, that's a different story. I have lots of indoor and outdoor plants, and this is the only plant I have that had those so I wanted to know what I can do to treat them as this is the first time in years that I have seen those in my indoor plants and I don't want it transferring to my other healthy plants in the house. Secondly, in order for me to propagate/invigorate the plant, I have to treat the plant first back to its healthy state before I can do any propagation, if at all. Thank you.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 5:36PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Looks like mealybugs, to me. Not an uncommon pest of indoor plants. Yours is a Dracaena marginata, by the way.

Put away the vinegar for pest control. Vinegar can be used as an herbicide, you know. The most common control for mealies is rubbing alcohol, which is much easier on plant tissues than vinegar.

You can mix a solution of one part alcohol to two or three parts water and apply liberally with a spray preferred method. Or, you can dip a cotton swab to dab at all of the critters...probably missing a lot of them.

I've used alcohol for twenty or more years to control mealies, spider mites, thrips, and scale. I've never damaged a plant, though I have not used it on thin, fragile leaves or plants with fuzzy leaves. Remember, we can use straight alcohol on our skin.

I strongly suggest that you do some reading in the Houseplant Forum about good potting soils, proper watering, etc. Though D. marginata does lose lower leaves as it matures...they usually look a lot better than yours!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 6:30PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Yes, D. marginata. I also use rubbing alcohol to wipe off anything I think might be a pest, and just to keep smooth leaves shiny and clean.

Probably needs more light as well as treatment for the critter issue. Make sure the soil is not staying soggy all the time. If that window is facing east, just moving it to the north edge of the window instead of the south will give the plant a LOT more light. When it's warm enough out, it would like a spot with few hours of morning or late afternoon sun outside if you put house plants outside.

Is there a 3rd topless stem? How long since you repotted?

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 9:46AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

I've used alcohol for twenty or more years to control mealies, spider mites, thrips, and scale.

==>> i use this method on many outdoor plants also ..

i DRINK alcohol.. until i forget there is a problem.. and 99% of the time.. it goes away.. sooner or later.. lol ..

its the hangovers that hurt.. lol

my point on leaf loss.. was that that was an independent issue ... not indicative of the bugs ... necessarily ...

if it were bugs alone.. and all the leaves were covered.. then all the leaves would fall off.. ipso presto.. if only the old leaves fall off.. its NOT because of the bugs.. its because its leaf shed time in the northern hemisphere ...


    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 1:30PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I think that we are all in agreement that there's more than just insect damage going on.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 7:00PM
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