The Q&A Archives: How to rid a money plant of pests

Question: HI

I have a large money plant (a memory of my mother) but it seems to have a strange disease. It can only be described as mini bits of cotton wool which seem to cling to leaves and stem. they are rather sticky in consistancy too. I have on numerous occasions got rid of it all by using a cotton wool bud (loads of them!) and then washing the plant in soapy water - I have also tried house plant pestecide and repotted the plant twice - but not matter what I try it keeps coming back. I really do not want to loose the plant so any advise would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks

Answer: What you describe sounds like mealy bugs. These pests attach themselves to the undersides of leaves and congregate along the stems of plants. They are difficult to control with pesticide sprays because they protect themselves a with waxy, cottony substance. I've had success in controlling these pests by dabbing each one with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. The alcohol penetrates their protective cottony covering and dries the pests out. It is painstaking if there are many, many, pests, and repeat treatments may be necessary to kill off all the generations, but it can be done. Keep at it and you will eventually rid your money plant of mealy bugs.

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