HOUSEPLANT - Knowledgebase Question

Sebastian, Fl
Question by denmar8338
April 9, 2010
dracaena massangeana Dracaena fragrans-have a whiten powder substance on leafs, also very sticky. The tips of leafs turning a brown color-need help.


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Answer from NGA
April 9, 2010

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Doesn't sound good for your dracaena! The powdery white coating on the leaves is a fungal disease called powdery mildew. The sticky stuff is honeydew and is a sign of insect feeding, probably scales or mealybugs. When these insects feed they excrete a sticky substance which lands on the leaves and can eventually turn black. The browning leaf tips are caused by low humidity around the plant or water stress (too much or too little). Sometimes they are caused by overfeeding. While you can seek out and destroy the insects (dab each with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol), the fungal disease is more difficult to control and eliminate. If it were my plant, I'd toss it and replace it with a healthy new specimen! If you want to try to save your plant, you'll need to spray it with a fungicide, track down and kill the insects and then increase the humidity around the plant by either misting it each day or setting it on a pebble filled tray in which you keep about a half inch of water. As the water evaporates it will increase the humdity around the plant. Best wishes with your dracaena!

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