Ask a Question forum: Sago fungus?

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Name: Regena Heilmann
Myrtle Beach, SC
RegenaHeilmann
Nov 5, 2016 9:20 AM CST
I've been successful in propagating sago pups and they are thriving. However I had one triple head that was recommended to treat as a Bonsai. After a few months in the small Bonsai pot, some of the fronds are yellowing and it has developed little white spots on the fronds. These spots can be washed off but return. Is this a fungus? I'm sure it's probably nutrient poor too. What is recommended to feed? Thinking maybe also not to Bonsai but pot as a larger potted plant? Help!
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Nov 5, 2016 9:31 AM CST
It looks like it may be mealybug, especially if they are soft and have some texture. If so, spray all leaf and stems with a solution of 5 parts water, 1 part alcohol and a squirt of liquid soap. Make sure you cover the entire plants so you don't miss the nearly invisible juvenile mealies.

Sagos have very small root systems and grow very slowly. They tolerate drought and neglect. They don't do well with excess attention. Keep the pot very small, allow the soil to dry before watering and use plant food very sparingly, if at all. Be patient and do not try to make this into a large, fast-growing plant.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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dyzzypyxxy
Nov 5, 2016 2:21 PM CST
I agree It does look more like a scale insect or mealybug to me too. Will's treatment is good, but I'd be sure to re-treat in about a week or so to get any new crawlers that hatched after the first treatment. Outdoors, we wash the whole plant with mild soapy water and a brush (a toothbrush would work on that small plant), hose off and let it dry, then treat with horticultural oil spray. The oil smothers the scale insects that might otherwise be protected by their little shell-like covers from direct insecticide application.

I've never seen a Sago grown as a bonsai but it does seem like the kind of plant that might take quite well to that. It won't stay small forever, though. They just naturally grow slowly.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

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