The Q&A Archives: Indoor Palm

Question: My indoor palm has some kind of white spots on them, it looks like dust. When I wipe it away it has a brown spot in the area. In addition the plant is producing a very sticky substance on the leaves, which is also falling on the floor and causes the floor to be sticky. Is this normal? Is there something I can do? Is it coming from the white spots?

Answer: The sticky substance is probably residue from sucking insects. I think the palm is infested with mealy bugs. These little pests are covered with a white cottony substance and can look like little white dots when the population is young and small. If left alone they'll multiply and congregate in little fluffy colonies.

Once you get rid of the sucking insects, the sticky substance will go away. Try gently washing the insects off. A washcloth dipped in warm water, or a dampened cotton swab should do the trick. While you're wiping the insects off, you'll be removing some of the sticky sap, too.

Check your plant regularly to make sure no new pests hatch and attach themselves to the leaves and stems of your palm.

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