white cottony stuff on my pothos?

blutarskiMay 28, 2008

There are these little bits of very white fluffs that seem to gather on the tips or the 'crease' of my jade pothos. I don't see any bugs or sappy stuff I would consider honeydew. The leaves don't look to be in distress, either.

what is this?

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Does the fluff look anything like this?

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 10:33PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Pls. clarify if it's a Jade or a Pothos (2 very different plants from different families); may react differently to the remedy.

White cottony is mealy bugs, very contagious to other plants nearby, you'll need to isolate this.

Take Q tips, dip in alcohol & swab away the cottony, you'll need to do this every 2 or 3 days, especially if there's a lot of cottony.

If if were mine I'd say: if it's a Pothos (Epipremnum), throw it out; readily available & easy to replace.

If it's a Jade (Crassula) it may be worth saving depending on how big the plant is & how bad the infestation is.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 12:06AM
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bihai(zone 9)

Whatever the plant is, if its mobile (ie, easy to pick up and take outside) put it outdoors and "powerwash" the leaves with a strong spray from the hose. Then go to Target/Walmart/Home Depot/Lowes/your nearest independent nursery and buy Neem oil and a hand held spray bottle.

Mix up about a half gallon of Neem and spray the plant completely. All leaf surfaces, tops, bottoms, stems. Water with Neem too as a systemic.

Then, either save your used coffee grounds for a day or two of get them from Starbucks, and use them as a top dressing around the plant in the pot. Add fresh grounds every week. Or, you can brew a cup of strong coffee, dilute it with water in a ratio of 10:1 with water, and use it to water the plant with until its gone (being outside, the plant will be able to take watering every other day or so. If you can't leave the plant out that long, water with the coffee water every time you would normally water indoors,)the alkaloids in coffee have been shown to kill mealies, scale and other bugs

Use the Neem treatment every 7 days for 3 weeks. If you see new bugs before 7 days, you can use it every 3-5 days. If you can't leave the plant outdoors during all this, just take out to spray then bring back in when dry.

Using alcohol on the bugs will kill them, BUT, mealies are notorious hiders, and they lay their eggs in the soil and in cracks and crevices in the pots as well. That is why you get repeat infestations of mealies so very easily, because you kill the bugs on the plant and they are simply replaced with new hatchlings. Serial treatment is crucial, soil treatment as well as treating the plant.

If your infestation recurs, you may need to spray the container itself (not the plant) with Malathion, or you may been to repot into a new container.

As pirategirl said, if the plant is a common one and cheap and easily replaceable, its better usually just to throw it out and get a new one than to deal with mealies.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 6:45AM
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yep, it looks like mealies. darn. I like this plant, but i'm just not into a huge clean up process that might not work.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 8:53AM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Sorry, Blu, it's not really optional, if one's gonna collect plants, it's almost an occupational hazard. Bound to happen some time, sooner or later.

But one can always learn from it, & improve one's growing habits from carefully inspecting plants before purchase (esp. UNDER the leaves & at the juncture of the leaves & stems where mealies esp. love to be); to always isolating or quarantining plants when one first buys them. One sets them aside AWAY from the rest of the collection for a month or so to be sure they don't have any bugs, then adds them into the collection.

Prevention, always better than a cure, part of the learning curve.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 9:39AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

My favorite fix for mealybugs is to mix one part rubbing alcohol to three parts water (or even stronger) in a plant mister and use that to spritz your plants thoroughly a couple of times a week.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 12:31PM
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If you plant is a decent sized pothos, you might want to strip some of the infected leaves/stems off in order to spray the rest of the plant with better results.
If your plant is a jade, it will should be easier to get to the bugs since the leaves are out in the open and flat. I had some mealies on a jade once and one or two treatments was all it took!

Billy Rae

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 3:46PM
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karen715(z5 IL)

I'm not sure why everyone is confused as to whether this is a jade plant or a pothos under discussion. Blutarski said it was a jade pothos, which is what a pothos with dark green leaves and no variegation is commonly called.

I would second the advice to toss the plant, unless it very special to you. Of all the common houseplant pests, I've found mealy to be the most difficult to get rid of, even with persistant alcohol spraying.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 6:25PM
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I now see there is a Jade Pothos, although I have never heard the name "jade" pothos before now. Has the all green pothos ALWAYS been called by those two names?

Billy Rae

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 7:16PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Ditto Billy Rae's comments, apologies, I didn't know either.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 11:38PM
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