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

Pest on leaves of native Texas persimmon in Laredo, TX
February 20, 2009 - I have a transplanted a Texas persimmon tree from the wild. It has some globes in the leaves. It seems like some pest injected something from underside of leaves. Any suggestion? What is happening t...
view the full question and answer

Chlorosis in sycamore in Kyle TX
August 04, 2011 - I'm trying to assist an elderly neighbor of mine with a plant issue. We have designated street trees in this community, our street being a Sycamore. The previous foreman out here called it a Mexica...
view the full question and answer

Oak Wilt in Georgetown, TX
November 17, 2014 - We have lost several live oaks to oak wilt. Another couple are dying but still have some green leaves. Is it OK to cut down these trees now or should we wait until they are entirely dead? I've heard ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with mature Blue Agave in Kenya
December 09, 2012 - I have a mature Agave plant and there is a thin black liquid that looks like oil starting to appear on the leaves. The plant plant seems to be dying (from the bottom up). (The plant is a blue Agave an...
view the full question and answer

New growth on Amur Maple turning black in McPherson, Kansas.
June 29, 2010 - Re: Amur Maple bushes Approximately 2 yrs old, 4 ft tall. New growth at the end of some branches is turning black. Plants are mulched with grass clippings. We live in Kansas. Thanks for any info....
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