How to Get White Stuff Off Houseplants
You may think that houseplants, being indoors, would be protected from diseases and insect pests. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Insect pests can hitch a ride indoors on other plants and pets, and some houseplants are even infected or infested when purchased. The white stuff on your houseplants is likely mealybugs or powdery mildew. The former may be confused for the latter, according to the University of Minnesota Extension website.
When on a plant, mealybugs look somewhat like tiny pieces of cotton stuck to the plant. In fact, the pests secrete a cottony substance in which to lay their eggs. Mealybugs cluster along the undersides of leaves and where the leaves meet stems. These sap-sucking pests drain a plant of its juices. A few mealybugs here and there probably won’t severely affect the health of your plants, but enough of them can cause the plants’ leaves to turn yellow and drop off.
Getting Rid of Mealybugs
Chemical methods usually are not recommended for getting rid of insect pests, especially on houseplants. Light infestations of mealybugs can be removed by picking them off the plants. Kill them first, if you prefer, by dipping a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and dabbing the swab on the mealybugs. Because rubbing alcohol may damage or discolor some plants’ leaves, test it on an inconspicuous portion of a plant’s leaf before you use it on another portion of the plant. If a plant is heavily infested with mealybugs and is very weak or damaged as a result, then simply throwing away the plant may be the best option.
Identifying Powdery Mildew
Powdery mildew is a fungal disease. It usually appears in winter on plant leaves and flowers. Signs of the disease first appear as small, white spots that quickly grow and merge. Entire leaves may be covered with the thin, white layer of fungus, which may be mistaken for dust. Unlike dust, however, simply wiping off the substance is not enough to help an affected plant.
Getting Rid of Powdery Mildew
As with insect pests, chemical controls are not recommended for use in getting rid of powdery mildew, especially on indoor plants. Move an infected plant away from nearby plants, and then remove infected parts of the solitary plant. As you clip off infected leaves and/or stems, dip your cutting tool into bleach to disinfect it. Taking that measure helps to prevent the fungus from spreading to other parts of the plant. If an infection is severe, the plant may need to be thrown away, according to the Purdue Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory website.
How to Get White Stuff Off Houseplants. You may think that houseplants, being indoors, would be protected from diseases and insect pests. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Insect pests can hitch a ride indoors on other plants and pets, and some houseplants are even infected or infested when purchased. The white …