waxy leaves and dry leaf edges - Knowledgebase Question

belleville, Ne
Question by rcoachi
January 23, 2010
what causes a waxy coating on the leaves of my house plant? It also feels sticky. The leaves are getting dry and brown at the edges?


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Answer from NGA
January 23, 2010

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I think you're dealing with two different issues here. The sticky coating is called honeydew and it is the result of insects feeding on the leaves and stems of your houseplant. Check carefully for mealybugs and/or scale insects. If you find them, you can dab each one with a Q-Tip dipped in rubbing alcohol which will dissolve their protective coatings. They can be peeled off a few days after treatment. The browning edges can indicate low humidity, over fertilizing (or salt build up in the soil) or even tap water with fluoride or chlorine. Try to increase the humidity around the plant, leach the soil of excessive salts by immersing it in a larger container of water, and use distilled or bottled rather than tap water on your houseplants. Good luck with them!

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