Ask a Question forum: Poorly palm

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HayleyH
Jul 27, 2017 12:52 AM CST
My palm houseplant has got these strange white dots / bits all over the base of the leaves. Some of the leaves & clustered around the stem. Some of the leaves are now falling out. Does anyone know what this is & how I can get rid of it?
Many thanks x
Thumb of 2017-07-27/HayleyH/6dc222

Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jul 27, 2017 1:28 AM CST
Welcome!

Your 'palm' is Dracaena marginata, not really a palm at all.

The white spots are Mealybugs. Mealybugs are hard to get rid of as the baby mealys can hide almost anywhere: the pores of the pot, the grain in wooden tables or floors...

Spray the plant with Insecticidal Soap then wash the little corpses off with a garden hose or shower sprayer. You will have to keep at it. Sadly, you may never get rid of them completely and they will spread to other plants.
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London
HayleyH
Jul 27, 2017 5:10 AM CST
Thanks x
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!
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plantladylin
Jul 27, 2017 8:43 AM CST
Hi Haley, Welcome!

I agree that your "Palm" is not actually a palm tree but rather Madagascar Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata) which is a common houseplant that has the growth appearance of a palm. I have one planted in the ground in my garden and a couple in containers.

I agree with Daisy about those pests on your plant; if those white specks don't move or fly (white flies) and look like little cotton blobs, they are mealybugs. When I don't have insecticidal soap handy, I use cotton swabs (Q-tips) dipped in common rubbing alcohol (Isopropyl Alcohol) to get rid of minor infestations. Just dip the cotton swab in the alcohol and wipe the white blobs off the leaves, stems, etc.

Here's an article from our Learning Library with a list of houseplant pests; if you scroll down the page it talks about mealybugs: https://garden.org/learn/artic...
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


London
HayleyH
Jul 27, 2017 10:10 AM CST
Very helpful thank you so much x
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
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plantladylin
Jul 27, 2017 3:40 PM CST
I tip my hat to you.
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Jul 29, 2017 7:43 AM CST
The key to successfully treating mealybugs (and other plant pests) is to get complete and thorough coverage with whatever you use to treat them. For smaller plants, inverting the plant and swirling the foliage around in a container or sink filled with the soap and/or alcohol is ideal.

For larger plants, spray all leaf and stem surfaces until they are literally dripping wet so that the solution penetrates all tiny crevices where the juveniles hide. Wiping doesn't get into the crevices and regular spraying creates spaces between droplets and often fails to make direct contact with some of the invisible crawlers. It's a messy task, but if you are really thorough, a second treatment is rarely necessary.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
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purpleinopp
Jul 29, 2017 9:17 AM CST
From this 1 pic, I'm not sure it's not aphids on this Dracaena marginata. If it's aphids, I would not be afraid of not being able to get rid of them w/o chemicals. I've never had aphids persist past mechanical efforts to remove. If it's mealybug, much harder to eradicate.

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