Ask a Question forum: False Aralia Troubleshooting

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Chicago (Zone 5b)
Jan 7, 2017 11:14 AM CST
Hi all,

I purchased this False Aralia 2 months ago but began to notice these white growths on one of the woody stems, recently. They aren't mealy bug, but rather small, dimpled, white half-domes that affect only one stem of the plant (though fretfully, I've noticed sparse growths on other stems). Any ideas? I'm somewhat of a novice plant enthusiast! Your help is greatly appreciated. (See photos)


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Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
Jan 7, 2017 11:23 AM CST
It appears that your False Aralia (Schefflera elegantissima) is infected with scale insects. You can try removing them by scraping them off with a fingernail or wiping them off using a cotton swab saturated with Isopropyl Alcohol (common rubbing alcohol) or washing them off with soapy water. Or, check your local Home Depot or garden center for Insecticidal Soap or Horticultural Oil.

Tips for scale control by one of our members:

An article by another member on plant pests (scroll down for scale insects):

~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~

[Last edited by plantladylin - Jan 7, 2017 11:27 AM (+)]
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Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
Jan 7, 2017 11:45 AM CST
I agree Looks like horse shoe scale.
Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Jan 7, 2017 4:35 PM CST
Your plant has a very advanced infestation of scale insects, which are closely related to mealybugs. The extent of the infestation will make it very hard to eradicate all of the scale. This plant is also very sensitive to stress and handling so rigorous treatment will cause major leaf loss. Trying to hand wipe the scale will take an eternity!

Unless the plant is unusually valuable to you, you might consider giving it up. I don't say that lightly, but you have a major problem here. To treat the scale, I recommend a solution of 5 parts water, 1 part alcohol and a squirt of liquid dish soap. Then, spray every bit of leaf and stem surface , top and bottom, until they are all dripping wet. A very messy task, but thoroughness of coverage matters more than what you use. But be advised that such a treatment may well cause major leaf loss due to the trauma.

Wish I had better news for you!
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Chicago (Zone 5b)
Jan 12, 2017 10:29 PM CST
Thank you so much for all your help! I'm taking your advice, Will, and pitching my infested false aralia. It's a sad day, but I can't stand the idea of scale spreading to any of my other plants... for the greater good...

:( Sad :(

Thanks again!

Matt from Chicago

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