Sticky leaves on houseplant

If you are a houseplant owner maybe you have experienced white sticky stuff on plants or sticky residue on plant leaves.

There are many causes for wet or sticky plants and these incidents can present quite a hassle for any plant owner.

What causes it and how do you handle a plant with sticky leaves? Read on…

You often find leaves on houseplants with sticky stuff covering them like the Ficus

Question: My houseplant has sticky leaves! It’s the only way to describe the foliage. No matter what I try the cure never seems to happen.

Should I get rid of the fica plant? Do you know if it’s a disease or know what causes the sticky plant leaves and the cure? April, Oregon

Answer: April, a sticky substance on the leaves is one houseplant problem that isn’t unique.

Since you did not mention the indoor houseplant you’re experiencing the sticky issue on, here’s a general overview of the problem.

After you’ve brought your new plant home and its gone through the:

  • Acclimation process of leaf drop
  • Adjusting to a new watering schedule
  • And happy with its new indoor life

… it seems to happen. A sticky substance on the leaves.

One day on the way to grab your breakfast you notice the area around your indoor plant is tacky or sticky, a sticky couch, sticky floors, and the leaves are sticky too.

You step back, scratch your head and ask a few questions…

  • Did the kids spill a soft drink?
  • What caused it?
  • Do I have enough time to clean it up?

Cause of Sticky on House Plant Leaves

The cause of the sticky leaf is normally scale insects on the plant. Scale insects feed and suck sap (the juices) out of houseplants.

The sticky residue on the leaves and floor is what they secrete and is a sticky substance called honeydw or sticky honeydew.

Too often people only look at the top leaves. Check plants by looking at the underside of the leaves and on the stems for slight bumps of tan, black or brown color with a waxy coating.

You’ll find infested plants with scale insects or cottony masses of mealybugs hiding in out of the way places and out of sight where they can be left alone.

Sticky Leaves Treatment – Controlling Scale

Generally controlling scale insects isn’t a big problem. Scale “breathes” through their “armor.” The easiest way to kill the scale is by suffocation.

There are several natural methods to get rid of the scale insects on plants indoors.

In the early stages with a light infestation:

  • Mix 1 teaspoon of DAWN dish detergent into 1 quart of warm water
  • Dip a cotton swab into the dish detergent / warm water mixture
  • Wipe the area down completely

also

For large infestations place the mixture into a spray bottle and spray the entire plant with the mixture, coat the infested areas completely.

The dish detergent “clogs” or disrupts the plant scale insects ability to breathe.

Other additions to the spray mixture include:

  • A good plant insecticidal soap solution. The most popular plant soap goes by the name “Safer Soap” and works well if the infestation of scale isn’t extensive.
  • Another “safe option” is to try Neem oil spray for plants. Neem oil is a great overall natural product that can take also get rid of spider mites and even fleas on pets.
  • Add a safe horticultural oil will do the trick. A word or warning – When applying any chemical, indoors or outdoors, do it carefully and follow the label directions exactly.

Before attempting to handle the pest issue check with your local nursery or garden center – and remember … FOLLOW THE LABEL.

NOTE: On indoor plants, I would use neem oil or an insecticidal soap. The horticultural oil is better on outdoor plants.

Outdoors the sticky residue usually is accompanied with sooty mold. As mentioned above horticultural oil, neem oil and insecticidal soap can all be used outdoors.

However, do not apply when temperatures are over 85° degrees Fahrenheit and beware these controls will also kill natural predators.

Systemic Control

Pest control with a spray indoors, especially in public areas adds an additional risk. Many interior plantscaping companies control plant scale and other pest problems with systemic insecticide chemicals.

Systemics work through the root system. The chemical for control is normally applied to the soil or buried in the soil where the plant absorbs the chemical through the root system and distributes the chemical throughout the plant.

As the scale insect, mealybug, spider mite, and other pests (sticky bugs) feast on sucking the plant’s juices out they take the chemical into their bodies which kills them. The systemic process take time – six to eight weeks is not uncommon.

The systemic process is used primarily on large trees like ficus found in hotels and malls.

Our Recommended Natural Pest Control Solutions For the Home and Garden

  • Neem Plant Insecticide – Details on Neem Oil Pest Spray
  • Diatomaceous Earth – Food Grade – More on using DE here
  • Bacillus thuringiensis Bt
  • Insecticidal soap – More on insecticidal soap here
  • Beneficial Insects – Ladybugs, Predatory Mites and Green Lacewing

For more info on these recommended products, read our detailed review here.

How to Clean Up the Sticky Liquid Stuff

Cleaning the stucky stuff off furniture versus the floor can get a little tricky.

You first must remember to pick up and clean up as much of the sugary sticky honeydew goo as you can.

Start by using VERY WARM water, apply to the area with a damp cloth or mop rinse frequently in HOT clean water.

Some professionals recommend using Murphy’s Oil Soap and others rubbing alcohol and swabbing the area with a soft cloth.

Make sure you test your cleaning potion on an “inconspicuous area” before you start pouring it on. You could discolor material or strip off the furniture finish.

For good plant health the most important thing to remember is maintenance – once you have control, maintain it by regular scouting of your plants for pests and plant diseases.

Growers always keep on the lookout for ants. Ants are great farmers and farm the scale insects and aphids for the honeydew they produce.

Finding potential problems early helps prevent really big problems you’ll have to deal with later, not to mention the sticky floors and furniture.

Feeding by aphids created this sticky honeydew on crape myrtle leaves. (Credit: Belinda Messenger-Sikes) Are you seeing cars, sidewalks, driveways, or other plants covered in sticky stuff, especially those under trees? This sticky substance, called honeydew, is produced by certain insects that excrete it when they feed on plants. Plant leaves look shiny and honeydew may be so thick that it drips off the leaves onto the ground or other plants underneath. And in some cases, a black, powdery fungus called sooty mold grows on it, causing the plant’s leaves to look dirty.

We’ve written about quite a few of the insects that produce honeydew in our blog, so here is a list of the possible culprits that may be causing the mess this time of year:

Aphids

The hackberry woolly aphid is a major pest on hackberry trees. The aphid’s honeydew drips all over, leaving behind a sticky mess. Read more about this pest in What’s that Sticky Stuff on my Car?

Many other types of aphids suck plant juices and create honeydew on other plants. Visit the UC IPM Pest Notes: Aphids to read more about them, their host plants, damage, and management.

Asian Citrus Psyllid and other psyllids

Psyllids are another pest that produce honeydew, and there is one psyllid in particular that you may have heard about: Asian citrus psyllid (ACP). ACP is infamous for its ability to carry huanglongbing, an incurable disease that kills citrus. Learn how to check your plants for this pest, read the post Invasive Spotlight: Asian citrus psyllid and huanglongbing disease. Pavement sticky with honeydew that dripped from a nearby tree. (Credit: Belinda Messenger-Sikes)

Leafhoppers

Read about these small, wedge-shaped pests that hop around and feeds on a variety of plants in our blog article, Leafhoppers on plants.

Mealybugs
This pest is often mistaken for cottony cushion scale, woolly aphids, and even soft scales and whiteflies. They can be found outside in the landscape, but also indoors on houseplants. Learn more about this pest by reading the post New Mealybugs Pest Note!

Scale

Scales can be difficult to identify, since sometimes they may not resemble insects. Once they reach the immobile adult stage, they look like bumps on leaves and stems. The presence of sticky honeydew and sooty mold can be a clue that something is amiss, but this does not occur with every kind of scale. Read the post Scale Insects: Recognizing and Managing for help.

Whiteflies

This tiny pest is fairly easy to identify since it is white and flies around when disturbed. You can find whiteflies on a wide range of host plants, usually living on the underside of leaves. Our post Whiteflies Resource-Newly Updated! has more information.

Ants

Along with the pest, honeydew, and sooty mold, you may also notice an abundance of ants climbing all over your plants. Ants don’t produce honeydew, but they are attracted to it. There is an easy solution to this problem you can learn more in the video we discussed in the post Using a Sticky Barrier to Keep Ants Out of Trees.

Money tree sticky leaves

The problem with your plant is probably caused by a scale or mealy bug insect infestation. If scale insect you should see small (1/16 to 1/8 inch) brown or yellow lumps on the leaves surrounded or covered with a sticky “honey dew”. If cottony spots appear could be mealy bug, not easy to eliminate, so repeated application of say a organic method is best.

1. If the infestation is light then you can rub the insects off the leaves with a damp paper towel.

2. Use rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) by dipping a cotton swag tapped on insect if formed a small bump, shaped like an oval. Helpful for small infestation.

3. Spray with an insecticidal soap (available from plant nursery or on-line). Many commercial products are available but read the label carefully if you want an “organic” product. You may need to treat a number of times but rinse the leaves with water between applications.

4. Spray with insecticidal oils. Neem oil is an organic product that can be used in the same manner as soaps. Again a number of treatments may be necessary.

(Insecticidal soap spray seems to work fine).

More from our library guides (libguides) link: How can I prevent my plants from getting pests and diseases?

You can grow healthy houseplants by remembering a few simple rules:

Inspect your plants routinely for any health problems.

If you have a plant with a problem, isolate it from your other plants.

Remember to groom your plants, cleaning up old flowers and leaves whenever you water. Turn over the leaves to inspect for insects.

Monthly cleaning of susceptible plants in the shower will go a long way toward preventing problems.

Why is there sticky sap on my plants?

Sticky sap may be a sign of insect problems. Aphids, mealybugs, scales and whiteflies all exude a honeydew or sticky substance on the leaves. Search the plants for other signs of insects.

How can I eliminate insects on my plants?

The best way to get rid of these pests is to spray on a mixture of soapy water. There are many recipes available and garden centers also sell ready-made insecticidal soaps. Always use mild soap and test the mixture on your plants before applying. If the soap is too strong, it will strip off the nice, shiny cuticle layer of your plant and could damage the foliage.

Two other popular home remedies are rubbing alcohol (1 part alcohol to 9 parts water) and Murphy’s Oil Soap® (2 tbsp. soap to 1 qt. water). Remember not to apply these remedies full-strength or you will burn the leaves. Always dilute them or apply directly to the problem area by taking a cotton swab and wiping off the pests. http://libguides.nybg.org/houseplantcare

Ficus

(December 2012)

I have a ten year old ficus tree indoors that is oozing and dripping a sticky substance on my floors. I suspect that it is caused by some sort of insect or parasite. It looks like it is very healthy and still putting out new leaves but the sticky stuff is quite a nuisance. Some leaves have small dark scale type things on them. If this is the cause is there anything I can do to rid my plant of them. I’ve tried spraying with insecticidal soap and removing what I see with rubbing alcohol . Maybe something systemic would work better?

Your ficus tree could have scale, just like the azaleas in the previous question, but ficus trees are also notorious for a process called guttation—where they basically sweat—they have built up too much moisture in their leaves and it has to come out somewhere. It typically occurs when there has been a major change in the plants environment-often when they are moved back indoors in the fall. They ooze excess moisture typically out of the leaf where it is attached on the stem. It is very sticky and it can stain, just like the honeydew that comes from sucking insects. If you determine that insects or scale is the culprit, there is systemic houseplant insecticide that comes in a pellet form of imidacloprid. You put the pellet into the soil and it slowly releases the insecticide and fertilizer into the soil to be absorbed by the root system. They are safe to use indoors.

(December 2011)

My ficus tree gets indirect light and is growing well, but it has started dropping a clear, sticky substance on my floors. What’s going on and what can I do?

I would say you have one of two things happening. Sucking insects such as scale and mealy bugs could be on the plant, feeding on the foliage, and then releasing a sticky substance called honeydew. Inspect the foliage to see if you see any signs of these insects. If so, you can spray with insecticidal soap or use plant spikes with Imidacloprid in them. The other problem is called guttation. It is almost like sweating. It usually occurs when there are major changes in moisture levels and humidity. The plant loses extra water from the tips of the leaves. The moisture contains natural sugars which can be sticky and can discolor the floor. Make sure you aren’t overwatering.

(Nov. 2008)

I have a large ficus tree in my foyer (southern exposure). The tree is over 10 years old, and I have kept it in the house year round for the last few years. In the past couple of months I have noticed that a lot of green leaves are dropping. When I pick up the leaves they are very sticky. Any ideas on what is going on with my tree? I’d like to keep this tree, but at the rate I’m losing leaves it may be bare in the next month or so.

Ficus trees drop leaves easily, especially when there is a change in weather conditions. Keeping them inside year-round, if they are healthy helps to deter leaf dropping, but doesn’t always prevent it. Two problems could be causing the stickiness–sucking insects such as scale or a natural phenomenon on ficus called guttation (basically the plant sweating). It all gets down to the fact that plants must get rid of the excess water in their leaves. Normally they do this through their pores called stomates through a process called transpiration during the day. Some plants have other specialized pores called hydathodes which can also excrete sap and you will actually see tiny beads of water forming on the tips of the leaves. It can be quite sticky. The process occurs most frequently during conditions of high humidity when the rate of transpiration is low or when there is a major shift in humidity. Check for insects, because they could also be responsible for the leaf droppage.

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Gardening FAQ

Hello Rosemary,

Thank you for your inquiry. Sorry to hear about your long lived ficus tree. I see you are doing your best with organic remedies that will take quite of bit of time, if they finally help is not a sure thing. Removing the scale by wiping it’s hard body (oval, raised shape) is quite a task, but that’s where they live on the tree, usually seen on stems and under leaves. That sticky stuff on the leaves is the secretion from the insect. Since there are no natural predators indoors, insects like scale can continue to increase in numbers, unless cought earlier on. You would have to keep the eye out so to remove all those hard scale where they appear, again, usually on the stems. Leaves will fall when a tree is under stress. Fig trees will make new leaves though, but again it is under stress. Outdoors beneficials like lady bugs help keep the balance by devouring the scale pests. Some gardeners put their ficus tree outdoors in summer to help control problem pests, and improve the vigor of the plant as well. So all you can do is continue the process and maybe it will help, but it’s very difficult, and may not remedy the problem…One technique is to house the whole plant in plastic after spraying to make sure juvenile scales (not so visible) are contacted under the bubble house for a few days. Trees weren’t meant to grow indoors forever, it not their natural habitat, sorry to say.

Hope this is helpful.

Courtesy of the NYBG Plant Information Serice in the the LuEsther T. Mertz Library

(See the Train Show in it’s 25th year in the NYBG conservatory, it’s a real tradition with our members each year nybg.org)

What Is the Sticky White Residue on my Plants?

Sticky residue on plant foliage can come from the feeding of any number of insects with piercing-sucking mouthparts. Aphids, scale, and mealybugs are common culprits. If the stickiness is associated with waxy white blobs, your plant has mealybugs. These insects look like little tufts of white cotton and attach themselves to plant stems, the undersides of leaves, and the places where leaves join the main stem. They pierce the plants and suck the juices. It’s undigested sugar secreted by the insects that creates the sticky residue (honeydew). The honeydew can in turn allow fungus to grow.

To get rid of mealybugs, wash off the plant with a spray of soapy water. If the plant is small enough, carry it to a large sink or an outdoor area. Use insecticidal soap or a solution of dish detergent. Soak the top and bottom of all the leaves, and physically — with the spray of water or with your fingers — remove every cottony mass that you can see. A dab of rubbing alcohol on the cottony tuft will kill the mealybug.

Or you could apply a houseplant pesticide that’s labeled effective against mealybugs. Look for a product at your local garden center. Take a leaf with you that shows the critters (carry it in a sealed, clear plastic bag) to confirm this diagnosis. Follow the directions on the pesticide carefully. You’ll need to make follow-up applications at 7-10-day intervals to kill young, newly hatched mealybugs. This pest is beatable, so don’t give up. If the plant is heavily infested, you can always cut off some of the most affected parts.

Issue: January 15, 2005

Umbrella plant with sticky substance on its leaves

Question:

I have an umbrella plant with what I think is an infectious disease. The leaves are coated with a very sticky substance, and this “sap” drops on the floor and makes the floor sticky. The plant is losing its leaves after they turn yellow.

I had this problem earlier in the year with an ivy plant, but I thought my daughter had spilled soda pop on it because it was sticky. This plant eventually dried up and died.

Is this some form of fungus? I can’t see any fungal growth or insects.

I hope to save the plant because it is at least 30 years old and was a ‘pet’ belonging to my late mother.

Can you offer any suggestions?

Answer:

It is probable that there is an insect causing what you have described. The sign of their presence is the sticky substance called honeydew. Honeydew is a sugary, syrupy substance excreted by the insects after consuming sap from the plant.

There are several insects that excrete honeydew. The most common of these are aphids, mealy bugs, and scale insects. Of these three, the scale insect is most difficult to see because it covers itself with a (usually) brown waxy covering so it looks like a bump on a stem or a small brown bump on the bottom of a leaf. It betrays its presence by the honeydew that collects on surfaces below the place where it is feeding on the plant.

Scale can be difficult to eradicate. If the infestation is too great, it is often best to dispose of the plant to protect nearby plants. However, as you described, your umbrella plant has sentimental value to you and is worth saving.

Isolate it from other plants to reduce the chances that the scale insect will infest other plants. When caring for the plants, go to the umbrella plant last so the insect will not spread on your hands, clothing, or houseplant implements. You can treat with chemical insecticides (organic/low toxicity or commercial insecticides). Try using the least toxic means of treatment at first, especially since you will be treating the plant indoors during the winter. You can use horticultural oil or insecticidal soap applied to the under surface of leaves and stems where the scale insects (brown bumps) are located. Apply the oil with a cotton ball or cotton swab. With gentle rubbing, the scale insect may be removed along with any eggs or scale offspring under or nearby the larger parent scale. Some people use rubbing alcohol, but this only allow physical removal. Horticultural oil and insecticidal soap have insecticidal properties and will kill some of the insects that remain. Horticultural oil and insecticidal soap are labeled for control of insects and provide directions on their label for treating houseplant insects.

There are also systemic insecticides that may be applied to the plants, but these should be applied when the weather is warmer and the umbrella plant can be taken outside without fear of cold damage. The systemic insecticides have the advantage because the chemicals will enter the phloem of the plant that carries the sap on which these insects feed.

Whenever using chemicals (including the insecticidal soap and horticultural oil) read and follow the label directions. If you do not understand the directions, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent for assistance.

Send gardening questions to Southwest Yard and Garden, Attn: Dr. Marisa Thompson at [email protected] or at https://www.facebook.com/DesertBloomsNM/. Please include your county Extension Agent (aces.nmsu.edu/county) and your county of residence with your question!

For more gardening information, visit the NMSU Extension Horticulture page at

Sticky Plant Foliage: What Causes Sticky Plant Leaves

Have you noticed your houseplant has sap on leaves, and on the surrounding furniture and floor? It’s sticky, but it’s not sap. So what are these sticky leaves on indoor plants and how do you treat the issue? Read on to learn more.

What Causes Sticky Plant Leaves?

Most likely sticky leaves on indoor plants is a sign that you have an infestation of scales, tiny insects that latch onto your plant and suck out its moisture, excreting it as this sticky substance called honeydew. Scales won’t necessarily harm your plant, but a large infestation can stunt growth and the honeydew can get everywhere. It’s best to get rid of them if you can.

First, check to see if it is scale that is causing your sticky plant foliage. Look at the undersides of the leaves and the stem. Scale insects appear as tiny bumps that are tan, brown, or black in color and look kind of like seashells. What you’re looking at is the insects’ hard outer shells that are impervious to insecticidal soap.

There are a few ways to get around this. One way is suffocation. Apply a horticultural oil or soap to the plant – it won’t get through the scales’ armor but it will stop them from breathing through it.

Another option is to dissolve the scales’ armor. Using a soft cloth or cotton swab, apply 2 tsp. of dish detergent mixed with a gallon of water to the plant, then wipe it again with clean water. Alternatively, apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab. Try to wipe away as many scales as possible without harming the plant.

You may have to repeat these process every couple of weeks to get all the insects. If the infestation is heavy, follow up with a routine spray of insecticidal soap. Be sure to lay a piece of plastic wrap over your plant’s soil before taking any action, otherwise you might just knock some scales into the soil and prolong the infestation.

In some instances, the sticky leaves on plants may be due to mealybugs or aphids. These can normally be treated by washing the plant down first with water and then thoroughly applying neem oil to the foliage, front and back, and along the stems where the pesky insects are known to gather. As with scale, additional treatments may be needed to completely eradicate them.

Cleaning Sticky Plant Leaves

If any leaves are completely covered in scales, they are probably too far gone and should just be removed. For the rest of the plant, even if the scales are gone, you still have the task of cleaning sticky plant leaves. A cloth dampened with very warm water should do the trick. This method can be applied to sticky furniture as well as sticky plant foliage.

Sticky Houseplants

When aphids strike your houseplants, it’s fairly easy to gain control.

Aphids suck the juice out of tender leaves, flowers, buds and stems, leaving sticky residue and discarded exoskeletons.

Stickiness. Uh-oh. Tropical houseplants jostle for space under the grow lights in my basement from October to May, waiting for the summer warmth to return. Like any population living in a crowded, unnatural environment, these plants are prone to pests and disease. Sticky spots on the foliage usually mean insect pests have found a host.

Okay, where did I leave my reading glasses? Closer inspection reveals white stuff stuck to the leaves. The evidence points to aphids. These insects discard their outer shell or exoskeleton as they grow, leaving an-easy-to-follow trail. They excrete a sticky substance that sometimes attracts ants and can foster fungal disease. The symptoms sound bad, but aphids are one of the less complicated pests to eliminate from houseplants. An examination of the softest new growth on an angel-wing begonia and the blooming African violet next to it confirm my suspicions. Green insects about the size of an o are hard at work extracting juice from my plants. Another plant nearby has orange aphids. I need to wear my glasses more often!

Aphids mostly hang out on branch tips and new leaves, buds and flower stems, which makes them relatively easy to find. The begonia and Africa violet are headed for the bathtub, along with a few of their neighbors, just to be sure I haven’t missed anyone.

I use only botanical and other natural pest controls, such as pyrethrins, neem, and horticultural oils. These work just as effectively as chemical pesticides, with fewer environmental side effects. I spritz the entire plant, including the undersides of the foliage, until the spray drips off. Hence the trip to the tub.

As soon as I moved the plants, though, I noticed small black flying insects. Fungus gnats. These critters spend their grub stage in the soil, then emerge as tiny, annoying gnats that seem drawn to faces and computer monitors. The adults are otherwise harmless, but the grubs can damage plant roots. Fortunately, they are also easy to control because the adults are attracted to the color yellow. I hang yellow cards covered with sticky tangle foot from the grow light fixtures and the problem’s solved. Another option is Gnat Guard, which uses tiny nematodes to control the problem.

For photos of other common pests and diseases and their controls, see our Pest and Disease Finder.

-Ann Whitman
Horticulturist, Gardener’s Supply

Sticky Residue From Ficus Plant

Q: One of my ficus plants is leaving a sticky residue on the floor. Can I do something to eliminate what I am calling ‘pitch’ on the leaves and surrounding area from this ficus? And is this plant still healthy? Advertisement

Hardiness Zone: 9a

Mrs Jean from Northern California

A: Jean,

The sticky residue you’re seeing on your ficus leaves (and floor) is a common symptom of scale insect infestations. The sticky substance is the honeydew excreted by the insects feeding on the “sap” inside the leaves. These tiny insects (1/4 inch or less long) sometimes camouflage themselves to look like parts of the plant so they can be hard to see. They cause leaves to look shiny (from the honeydew) or sooty, and may cause leaves to turn a splotchy yellow color before they drop. The juvenile insects are the crawly feeder, while the adults insects will cover themselves with protective waxy coatings and appear as brown waxy bumps on the leaves.

Scale insects can spread to other houseplants so it’s important to manage the problem. Insecticide soaps or horticultural oils can be effective for smothering the pests. Or try dipping a cotton swab into alcohol and rub the leaf to remove the insects (be careful not to damage the leaves). Whatever method you choose, take care to keep your pets safe from any chemicals and protect your floors and furniture from possible stains.

Interiorscaper suppliers make an effort of supplying healthy plants to their customers. However, with time, you may start noticing a few changes in your plants. One of the most common problem plant owners have is that of sticky plant leaves. Houseplants may have sap on their leaves as well as on the surrounding furniture and even floors. This is usually sticky but it is not sap. This is a common problem but how do you treat it? The purpose of this post is to help you with that.

What causes the sticky leaves?
One of the answers you will get from plantscaper suppliers is that your plant is infested by scales. These are small insects which latch on the plant and suck out the moisture and excrete it as the sticky substance known as honeydew. Scales will not necessarily cause harm to the houseplant but when the infestation is extreme, they will stunt the growth of your plant. The honeydew may also start spreading everywhere in the house. Getting rid of the infestation is important.

The first thing you need to do is to identify the scale that is on your plant. Focus on the undersides of the plant leaves and on the stem. The scale insects will appear as tiny bumps which are black, tan or brown in color. They resemble tiny seashells. You should note that these insects have hard outer shells that are impervious to insecticidal soap.

To deal with scales, the first thing experts in wholesale nurseries will tell you is to suffocate them. You do this by applying horticultural oil or soap. Apply this on the plant. The second option is to dissolve the hard shell of these creatures. You do this by swabbing with dish detergent that has been mixed with water. Mix 2 tablespoons of dish detergent with a gallon of water. Apply the mixture to the plant. You should then wipe with clean water. Applying a small amount of alcohol and rubbing on the plant will also help dissolve the armor. The process has to be repeated every few weeks. If the infestation is heavy, you should seek help from professional growers.

It is important to remember that sticky leaves are not always caused by scales. At times, the location of the houseplant will cause it to get sticky leaves. For example, if you place your dracaena close to the chimney or kitchen, it will be covered by cooking oil after some time. You have to clean it as often as you can. Always know what is causing the problem before you take action.

Clean sticky plant leaves
Cleaning your plant is the key to dealing with sticky plant leaves. However, if the leaves are completely covered in scales, the best option is to remove them. You should also consider separating the affected plant from the other plants so as to prevent the spread of the infestation.

Interiorscaper suppliers

Why is My Ficus Dropping Sticky Leaves?

Ficus are sensitive when moved to a new location, and they often show their unhappiness by shedding leaves. As long as there isn’t a draft in the new spot, they’ll settle down and releaf.

The stickiness you describe, however, is bad news; it sounds like honeydew — the waste of sap-eating insects like spider mites, scale, or mealy bugs. Scale and mealy bugs are visible on the plant. Scale look like little gray or brown bumps. Mealy bugs look like little white cottony masses. Spider mites are so tiny that you can’t usually see them, but you might see webs or feel a gritty feeling between your fingers if you wipe them along leaves and branches. If it’s scale or mealy bugs, buy a houseplant insecticide at the garden center, and apply it according to the label.

You can also dab the insects individually with a Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol, but I’ve found that to be overwhelming on large plants. If it’s spider mites, take the ficus back outside and wash it thoroughly (tops and bottoms of the leaves, all branchs and the trunk) with a strong blast from the garden hose. Spider mites are so tiny and vulnerable that a harsh blast of water will kill more than 90 percent of them.

How To Get Rid Of Sticky Leaves On Indoor Plants

You must’ve noticed there is a sap on your houseplant’s leaves. Well, that’s not exactly sap. The worst is when it is spreading around the floor and on the furniture. Well, if this is the case, then you need to act immediately. Keep on reading and find out what exactly is happening and how to get rid of sticky leaves on indoor plants.

How exactly did that happen?

Weird thing, am I right? But what exactly causes this though?

Well, the sticky leaves on indoor plants could be a sign of scales infestation.

The problem is that these insects are excreting a sticky substance called honeydew. And that is present on the leaves.

As any infestation, the effects could be devasted as it could stop the growth of your plants. Thus, it is recommended you get rid of that sticky foliage.

To sum it up, there are several methods you can resort to in order to fix this disease:

1. One of them is suffocation. Thus, you could apply a horticultural oil on the leaves of the plant.

2. Another method would be dissolving the scales. This could be done with a cotton swab or a soft cloth. The mixture you need consists on a gallon of water and 2 teaspoons of dish detergent. After applying this solution, you also need to wipe again with clean water to get rid of the sticky plant foliage.

3. Moreover, applying a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab is always worth a try. Thus, wipe away the leaves gently, so you won’t damage the plant. Of course, for an effective process, you should repeat this method every couple of weeks.

4. When the infestation is spreading too much, a more aggressive approach is necessary. Thus, make a routine of applying an insecticidal soap.

5. Also, you should wrap the plant’s soil in a piece of plastic so you can protect it from spreading the scales into the soil. Thus, the infestation will be minimal and easier to work with.

6. Even more, make sure to also clean the area around the infected plant. Thus, try cleaning the sticky furniture and the floor very well.

As a conclusion, I would say that you can handle this very well. Following these instructions and taking care of your houseplants will definitely end the threat.

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