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White fuzzy dots on indoor palm

White fuzzy dots on indoor palm
Posted by Maria from IL on 2006-01-12 08:16:00

I got a great deal at Home Depot in mid-Sept '05 on a couple of indoor palms. The label referred to them as Palmaceae. They were beautiful - healthy with new shoots - I was so excited. About four weeks ago, white fuzzy dots started to appear on one of them. The dots are somewhat sticky; and between the leaves, it looks like there is some webbing. The leaves are turning brown at the edges, and the new shoots are looking pathetic.

I'm a techno nerd by trade, so please don't cringe at what I did. I took rubbing alcohol and cotton balls and gently wiped the guck away. It appears what I did helped, but I can see that it didn't solve my problem. I'm watching the other palm (in a different area of my home) like a hawk. I saw a couple of dots on it this morning. Does anyone know what is happening to my beautiful palms? Is there any hope to save them? What do I need to do? I am grateful for any suggestions!
  • fuzzy dots
    Posted by andi from bc Can. on 2006-01-13 02:25:00

    Hi Maria,
    It's hard to identify exactly what is wrong with your palm without seeing the plant, but from what you have described, it sounds like you have a mealy bug problem.(if they look like little bits of cotton.) If you have what looks like spider webbing in between the leaves, you may also have a spider mite problem. Both very common with palms. Spider mites are fairly easy to control with misting, because they hate water. As for the mealy bug problem, not quite as easy, but u did exactly what I would have suggested (see you are not just a techno nerd, ha) rubbing alcohol and q tips. (I don't use pesticides) But you do have to make sure that you get every bug or it will just keep happening.(that means looking in every crack and crevice.) If you want to make sure what's going on, take a leaf sample with the bugs on it to your local garden shop,(not Home Depot) and get them to id the problem. They will probably try to sell you a pesticde and thats up to you what you use, just don't spray it in your house especially if you have animals.
    As for the brown edges on the leaves, also common in the winter because you have your heat or fireplace on and the air is too dry, or caused by cold air (draughts). underwatering can also cause this and the plant being in an area where it gets brushed by people or animals too. I hope this helps you pinpoint your problem, and while I think Home Depot is a great place to shop, and you said that you got a great deal, they are not the best place for buying plants because they are just too busy to care for them and just have someone to water once in a while. They probably had the bugs when you bought them and would more than likely give you a refund or exchange. It is better to go to a garden shop to buy your house plants because even though you might pay a little more, they are paying someone 8 hrs. a day to take care of them. Well, now that I have written you a novel, I hope I have helped in some way and goo luck!
    • Thanks!
      Posted by Maria from IL on 2006-01-14 09:21:00

      Andi, Thanks very much for responding to my post! From your description, my problem could very well be a combo of both mealy bugs and mites. I'll keep on eye on the palms and continue wiping the dots and webbing away and look for a local garden shop. At least now I know I was on the right track (not bad for a techno nerd!) and there is some hope to save them. I agree that Home Depot (no offense to them) is not the best place to invest in plants, indoor or outdoor. Although,I did find this website on the back of a tag hanging from my plants. I get the feeling their plant experts are not at the store on weekends, because whenever I go there and have questions, they suggest I come back during the week when the experts are there. We plant shop there mostly out of convenience, and it has usually been a hit or a miss. This time (for the palms) it was a hit, thus my excitement in bringing them home! You've been a big help! Thanks again and good luck to you too! Maria


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