White fuzzy spots on my bird of paradise?

woodygoJuly 20, 2008

Sorry for the re-post but I wanted to include a link to a picture.

We have a beautiful indoor white bird of paradise that is now about 12 feet tall. About 8 months ago it started getting small (about 1/8 - 1/4")white spots on it's leaves. They can be removed with a damp rag but they will re-appear in a few weeks. If they are not removed quickly the leaf will turn yellow underneath the spots. I have tried two different kinds of fungicide, multiple times, but they keep coming back. They are heavier on the underside of the leaves but if they are not removed they will spread over the entire leaf. If the white stuff gets heavy enough, it takes on a fuzzy look. Other than these darn spots, the plant appears very healthy and continues to grow.

I have attached a photo of one of the leaves. I don't know what this is and I don't know what else to try. ANY suggestions would be greatly appreciated. THANKS!

Here is a link that might be useful:

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Mealybugs? Hard to tell from the picture, but that's sort of the only thing that leaps to mind. Wouldn't rule out a fungus, but if fungicides don't kill it, then . . . you know.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 4:45PM
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karen715(z5 IL)

Yes, that looks like a mealy bug infestation to me.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 5:28PM
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woodygo, the image reminds me of the 'tea scale'. Mealy bug infestations on this plant are usually located in the area of the petioles and in the unrolled lamina of the youngest leaves. The other scale insects are more prevalent.
woodypest.ifas.ufl.edu/scales.htm provides good images of the scale insects.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 7:42PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I also think that it is a scale insect infestation. If we could see a close-up of the pests, we could be certain. Feeding activity of scale insects often result in yellow splotches.

I'd put the fungicides away until you have a definite diagnosis.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 1:16PM
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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

Could be either scale or mealy, IMO. If so, fungicide won't work, but I would try an insecticide that kills both. Follow directions carefully, and you will have to make multiple treatments.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 9:59PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Not fungus. Mealybugs or some kind of scale.

I'd try rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball then Safer's or another brand of insecticidal soap first and Malathion if that doesn't work.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 5:42PM
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Our white bird of paradise has the same white fuzz. Did you ever figure out how to get rid of it? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 8:53PM
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Mealy or scale, it doesn't matter (my vote is for some sort of scale, Bois-duval maybe?), since mealy is a kind of scale and you treat them the same way. First line of defense is to wipe off all the visible pests. Next, spray with an insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. Keep at this for a while and that should take care of it. Be persistant, this kind of scale is insidious!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 9:52PM
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