The Q&A Archives: White Foam-like Substance On Plants

Question: I have many houseplants, and many plants that are in a green house attached to my home. The
plants in the green house are infested with a
white foamy substance which I treat with insecticidal soap, which helps, but then the
white stuff returns. Now one of the plants in
my home has it. Can you identify what this
substance is, and how I can treat it? Thanks.

Answer: The first thing that leaps to my mind is spittlebugs. These are really tiny little fellas that feed by sucking the juices out of stems and leaves. They protect themselves from predators by manufacturing a bubbly foam that disguises them, and makes them appear larger than they really are. Spittle Bugs can be hosed off plants with a strong stream of water. You can squish them between your fingers, if you'd prefer. They're not as damaging to plants as some of the other insects out there, but they don't make things in the garden look very appetizing! Go after them with a strong stream of water.

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