Ask a Question forum: Plant fungus

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Scottr90
Feb 23, 2016 2:02 PM CST
Hey all! This white fungus has been growing on one of my plants. I don't know much on the topic so would really appreciate some help and advice on how to deal with it!
Thank you so much!
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Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Feb 23, 2016 2:07 PM CST
That looks like mealybugs.
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
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RickCorey
Feb 23, 2016 3:16 PM CST
Hi Scott. Welcome to ATP!

Whatever it is, I would start with several Kleenexes. Wipe off all you can, then get it into a plastic bag in a trash can before it spreads! You don't want that spreading to other houseplants.

You might consider wiping and spraying the infestation with either alcohol and water, or a commercial insecticidal soap, or just soap-and-water. That will discourage some insects.

However, soap or alcohol should probably be used AFTER a diagnosis. Which one would be better for discouraging mealybugs? Are they likely to have left eggs in the soil?

Are there any plants that would be hurt by spraying? Is that a pineapple? It looks like water might accumulate in the crown ... would that be a risk of encouraging rotting?

Is it worthwhile cutting off the most-infected shoots?
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Feb 23, 2016 3:24 PM CST
For actual fungus on a plant, you can spray with 0.2% hydrogen peroxide. Starting with 3% "drugstore peroxide", use 2 ounces per quart of water. That is dilute enough that it shouldn't affect the plant, even if the plant is a delicate seedling.


Here is a home-made insect soapy-spray recipe I saw online and wrote down without the link.

Bear in mind that "soap" is a specific thing, and not all detergents are "soap"s.

1/2 tsp. of dish soap for a quart spray bottle is plenty. Don't think that if some is good, more is better because soap can be harsh if it's too concentrated. Do this at least twice within a week, to get any new bugs whose eggs that hatch after the first treatment.
...
After that, to prevent a re-infestation, take your plants to the shower at least once a month and give them a good "rain bath". They will thank you for it. Most indoor plants are more or less tropical in nature, so they like the extra humidity.
=

My second try is a soapy water spray. Just a very mild solution of liquid dish soap -
about 1/2tsp. to a quart spray bottle or
2tsp. per gallon if you have a pump sprayer.

A mild dish soap like Method is good.
Detergents with 'grease cutting' ability are a bit harsh.

Be sure to spray tops and bottoms of the leaves, all the stems, everything! If you're spraying in the morning, rinse the plant off with plain water after a short while, like 10min. or so. Soap is a contact killer i.e. you actually need the soap to contact the bug to kill it. You don't want to spray a plant that is in direct sun with a soap solution either. Wait for a cloudy day or when the plant is in the shade.

Again, with the soapy water, you need to repeat the treatment about twice a week for a couple of weeks to be sure of getting the new generations of critters.

Some other people included a little isopropyl alcohol with the soap, say 1/2 tsp per quart.

[Last edited by RickCorey - Feb 23, 2016 3:27 PM (+)]
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Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
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purpleinopp
Feb 23, 2016 5:21 PM CST
Ooh, I didn't notice the new member thingie, shame on me. Hi! I didn't give any advice because it's not a problem I've dealt with before. Glad you got some good advice from someone who does know what to do. (Vigorously & superstitiously knocking wood!)
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Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Feb 23, 2016 6:47 PM CST
Welcome! Scott...

My brother called me and said, "I have white feathers growing all over my palm". You too have white feathers growing all over your palm. Sad

Mealy bugs! Incredibly hard to get rid of. I will ask you what I asked him.... How attached are you to this plant? If not very, carefully place it in a garbage bag and stick it in the trash can.

Mealy bugs hide everywhere - they get into the surface of furniture, the pores of the pot, the growth tips of the plants and the soil. They travel to other plants in gentle breezes or by just floating over to them.

I can't tell how big your palm is; it looks like a pygmy date palm. If you are going to save it, fight those feathery little critters aggressively. Take it out of the pot, get rid of the soil and soak the whole plant in a bucket of insecticidal soap. Scrub the pot and then run it threw the dish washer. Wash the table with more insecticidal soap.

If you see places that look like quite a few feathers sitting together, that is a mealy bug nursery. Its always exciting to discover you have a breeding population. Grumbling

Daisy

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