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madmax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-22-04 02:50 PM
Original message
My philodendron has white fuzzy spots on the leaves
both on the top and the bottom and near the end of the stem. What is this? Anything special I need to do to this plant?

It's so pretty I hope it's not something terminal :-(
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RebelYell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-22-04 02:52 PM
Response to Original message
1. It's a fungus
Use peroxide on it with a cotton ball. If it comes back, get a fungicide for house plants.
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madmax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-22-04 02:55 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. oh boy... every leaf?
This is a big plant. Maybe I could just skip to the fungicide. I have no life! :evilgrin:
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Donkeyboy75 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-22-04 02:57 PM
Response to Original message
3. kick
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wryter2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-22-04 02:58 PM
Response to Original message
4. Are you sure they're not mealy-bugs?
Could be mealy-bugs, a scale insect. Once they settle on a plant, they don't move, so they could look like spots. They're hard as Hades to get rid of. I think you have to use malathion. I'm always fighting a losing battle with those things. I hate them!
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madmax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-22-04 03:01 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. I don't think so...this looks like dryer lint but
Edited on Wed Sep-22-04 03:10 PM by madmax
it's not. Fuzzy stuff in assorted sizes.

Could this spread to my other indoor plants? Should I isolate this puppy?
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miss_kitty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-22-04 03:33 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. sounds like mealys
Edited on Wed Sep-22-04 03:44 PM by mlle_chatte
yes isolate. then do something i consider to be extremely evil but necessary for 'choice' plants. get a systemic insecticide. this is probably the only way to get rid of them. also consider dosing its neighbours.
sorry. these things, even if you get the visible ones have colonies in the soil...i have tried being nice to get rid of these, because i subscribe to organic gardening practices. a run of the mill, easily replaced plant, I'd toss, but dammit, infect a rare or sentimentally valued plant, and I am all over their pesty asses with poison...

On Edit: hey! i'm not an expert! heh heh heh! actually i AM an expert-i have a hort background, been a landscaper for years...i keep reading 'fungus' here and i disagree-your descripyion sounds like mealy bus. here's what you can do as none of your panel of experts has an actual visual, take a sample ina sealed plastic bag (zip lock style) to a shop that specialises in indoor plants and ask them. or a nursery.
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madmax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-22-04 03:42 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. ok... I took some of the fuzz and put it between
my thumb and index finger and a little black speck is left. Smaller than the head of a pin. I can't find my magnifying glass so I don't know what it is but, they all seem to have this little black speck.

Is that the mealy?
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miss_kitty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-22-04 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. you know what?
when i attack mealys using a q-tip and rubbing alcohol, they turn pinky-orange. the other experts could be correct...go to a search engine type "mealy bug" in and search images...just look at the fuzz at first....
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dogtag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-22-04 02:58 PM
Response to Original message
5. Flamethrower. It's the only solution. (n/t)
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madmax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-22-04 03:02 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. You asked for this
:spank:
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dogtag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-22-04 03:05 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Thanks, I needed that.
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RebelYell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-22-04 03:19 PM
Response to Original message
9. Put it in a spray bottle and spray outside if possible.
Ideally, the entire plant should be treated.
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madmax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-22-04 03:23 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Straight peroxide or dilute with water.
Edited on Wed Sep-22-04 03:38 PM by madmax
Thanks.

I once had a really nice rubber tree and wanted to bring out the shine in the leaves so I wiped them with olive oil. Needless to say it smothered the plant and killed it. doh

I don't have a green thumb.
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RebelYell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-22-04 03:36 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. Straight peroxide
Saturate the fuzzy spots, but don't drown it. Cover up the soil so it doesn't get to the roots. For some reason, it either isn't getting enough light or the soil has fungus. Fungus loves humidity and warmth, but sunlight kills it.

After the peroxide spray, re-pot it with new soil and a new pot.

I learned everything the hard way too. :)
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Hell Hath No Fury Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-22-04 03:54 PM
Response to Original message
15. You have leaf mealy bug...
Edited on Wed Sep-22-04 04:07 PM by Hell Hath No Fury
What you describe, white cottony bits on the leaf and stem, are classic signs.

You may also see "honeydew", which sticky patches on the leaves. That's another classic symptom.

You MUST isolate the plant from the others -- that includes not using the same pruners/sponges/watering can on them. Plant tools can easily pass on the pest. Also, if your plant is in a basket or other decorative container, you might clean it too with alchohol. A full repotting isn't really needed if you don't have soil mealy.

You can treat the plant using a natural product called Neem. It is essentially an oil that smothers the pest and stops reproduction of the larvae. Be careful what percentage of Neem oil you get -- it can range from as low as 10% to 100%.

And yes, I am a professional. ;)

On edit:

Here's some helpful info on Neem:

A superb way to safely and naturally control most plant pests without using toxic chemicals. Works great on aphids, spider mites, white flies, scale, mealy bugs, and over 400 species of damaging insects without harming you, your garden's beneficial insects or the environment.

Neem oil is derived from the Neem tree. The tree grows throughout India and has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine. You'll find neem used in everything from skin preparations to toothpaste, so you can be assured of its safety. Many insects, however, find neem very uninviting. It suppresses the reproductive cycle in pests, inhibits feeding, and mechanically smothers developing eggs and larvae.

Easy to use, just mix with some water and a touch of liquid soap and spray on your plant's foliage. Neem works best when applied several times at about 10 to 14 day intervals. Some plants are sensitive to neem oil so always spot check an area of foliage before spraying the entire plant.



1. Pure Neem Oil will retain its potency much longer if stored at about 40 F in a low light area such as a refrigerator.

2. A new batch of Neem oil, water and a little soap (according to the label) should be mixed each time you are going to spray. Mix only the amount of Neem oil you will use in 4 to 6 hours.

3. Do not mix anything with your Neem oil solution other than the water and soap used to prepare tha solution.

4. The soap (dishwashing detergent) is used to help emulsify the oil. If no soap is used the Neem will not mix into solution with the water and spraying will not be effective.

5. Spray the entire plant including the top of the potting media. Spray benches, walkways and any surface over which an insect might travel.

6. A mixture of 1 oz. to 1 gallon of water should be used for spraying. A weaker solution may be used as a maintenance spray. It is impossible to give a definite schedule for spraying, however a "close eye" will help each person to adjust a timetable to maintain clean plants. You will probably not have to spray as often with Neem as with toxic insecticides.
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madmax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-22-04 04:21 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Wow!
I've taken the plant to the porch and sprayed with peroxide. I'll get the Neem but, maybe I should give the plant a break before I do the Neem treatment. Thanks for the tip on google. I tried to google some info before I post and saw something about mealy bugs but, since it still looks like fuzz to me I didn't think of it as 'bugs'.

Thanks for the info.
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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-22-04 04:58 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. Neem is the bomb!!
If it is mealy-bugs, and it DOES sound like that, Neem will work. Give the plant(s) a few days rest after the peroxide treatment, but if the fuzz doesn't go, I recommend applying Neem once a week for 3-4 weeks. If I understand it correctly, Neem works three ways

1) It's a bug repellant. Spray it on a plant, and the bugs won't want to land on it and settle down

2) It forms a waxy coating on everything when it dries. If you spray it on eggs that have been laid on the plant, it dries onto the eggs and suffocates them

3) There's something in the Neem oil that wreaks havoc on bug hormones, so the live ones (effects #1 & 2 don't effect the live bugs) can't lay more eggs on the plant.

Note: You should keep an eye on the plants that were near the infected plant, and you should probably spray them as a prophylactic measure.
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madmax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-22-04 05:20 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. I hope I can find this at HomeDepot.
I'm going to have to treat 2 other plants. While not near the infected one a daily basis I've put them in the bathtub together when I watered them. Bathe with a friend that's my motto. :P

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madmax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-22-04 04:37 PM
Response to Original message
17. Thanks to all for your help.
Damn, fuzzy mealy bugs. Who knew! I've had plants all my life and never had any problems with bugs. Must be the bush curse. ;)
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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-22-04 04:59 PM
Response to Original message
19. The wolf cries at the moon at midnight
:bounce:
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madmax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-22-04 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. Here ya go - you deserve this
:spank:

:hi:
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BiggJawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-22-04 05:38 PM
Response to Original message
22. Do the fuzzy spots look anything like this?


If so, you've got either whitefly or Mealy Bugs. The "Fuzz" is a waxy coating on the Pupae.

Q-tip soaked with alky, go along annointing each one is how I deal with it.
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madmax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-22-04 05:45 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. That's it!!
Without the bugs. Just the fuzzy stuff at this point. Ever since I started this thread I've been itching all over. ick!
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BiggJawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-22-04 10:57 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. You'll really itch when I tell you what that fuzz is...
Sugar.
These things feed like Aphids, so they have a lot of sugar in them. so when they pupte, it sort of oozes out and crystalizes...

Tom Turpin at Purdue told me that. There is a bug I saw this spring, I'm trying to remember...Apple Aphid, or Ash Aphid, it's immature form has sugar fuzz, and that's how it migrates. Drifts on the wind.

The mealy bugs I knew about. I've had 'em before.
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