The Q&A Archives: Office plants

Question: I've been told my office plants have a small bug and that's why there's sticky goo all over everything. I was told to get a spray that contains honey. I receive a great many clients in my office and can't have anything that stinks. What do you recommend?

Answer: Gordon,

I am sorry for this delayed reply to your gardening question. The spring rush has brought a deluge of questions and we are working hard to catch up!

Forget the honey spray idea. I think they meant to say that the small insect produces a substance called "honeydew" which is the sticky stuff you are seeing. Your plants have either aphids, scale, mealybugs or whiteflies. In the case of a pretty extensive infestation it is usually best to toss the plant and get another one. Scale and mealybugs can be difficult to control and you often end up having to retreat several times. With your plant being in the office this is a hassle and may leave an odor depending on what product you choose. In a minor case take the plants outside to a shady area and spray them with insecticidal soap let it sit for about 20 minutes and then wash it off well. Wiping the foliage with a moist soft cloth may be needed to remove all the sticky stuff. This may blast off some of the pests. Then you may want to consider a spray/soil drench of a product containing imidocloprid. This is low toxicity and systemic, lasting a long time. Leave the plant out overnight and then bring it back inside. Repeat treatments may be needed.

Thanks for the question. Best wishes for a wonderful gardening season. Please stop in again soon!

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