En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Tuesday - April 19, 2005

From: orlando, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Treatment of mealy bugs on house plants
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have some house plants that have a "fungi" that has appeared and spread from one to the others. I believe it is killing the plants. It is a white fuzz the is sticky to the touch. when i whip it off the leaves it comes right back. I lost one plant and another is on its way out. It is also on my ponytail plant it weights down the leaves. could you help me get rid of the "fungi" before it kills all my house plants. thank you

ANSWER:

I suspect that the problem you are seeing on your Ponytail Palm and other house plants is actually an insect called mealybugs. Mealybugs are among the very few problems affecting Ponytail Palms. They are small insects that look like tiny, flattened roly-polies or pillbugs when not covered by a large mass of white, waxy "cotton". The waxy coating they exude helps to protect them from predators. Mealybugs may be killed by wiping them with cotton swabs dipped in rubbing alcohol. More than one treatment may be required to get them all as they are quite adept at finding places to hide. Also, eggs and nymphs (juveniles) are so tiny that they sometimes avoid the alcohol treatment on the first pass.
 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Damage to native elm in Texas
August 20, 2008 - We had a major landscape renovation done over the winter. One of the trees, an elm about 10 yrs old, remained in the bed although plants around it were removed. The tree has suddenly started turning...
view the full question and answer

Prickly pear doing poorly on Long Island NY
December 27, 2012 - First, thanks for your reply on 11-3-12, re.Can a prickly pear cutting from Harker Heights, TX find happiness in Long Island, NY. The plants were set before a southern window in the attic, temp. ra...
view the full question and answer

Oaks at Wildflower Center from Wimberley TX
September 05, 2012 - I know you have numerous Quercus fusiformis examples at the ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. My question is, do you also have Quercus virginiana growing there? Also, is Oak Wilt a disease that ...
view the full question and answer

One wax myrtle declining in Austin
April 20, 2011 - I have 3 wax myrtles in a row; two are doing fine and one is looking "sad". It is thinning and when I checked a few branches they were dead, I pruned it and it was dead. I have had the trees for 7 y...
view the full question and answer

Diagnosis of problems with Texas ash
June 07, 2006 - Our 15 year old Texas ash has less leaf production this year. It also has a small amount of algae on the trunk, and some of the branches have small white spots on it. Also, a few of the branches close...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center