Dracaena Marginata Mealy Bugs Losing Leaves

kyledrNovember 19, 2013

So I got a mealy bug infestation that got really bad before I learned what it was. They're on the leaves of all branches. They're really bad near the base of the leaves, but they extend outwards on the tops and bottoms of leaves. I read a forum poster say to use 50% dish soap 50% water (which I now believe may have been too much soap), so I sprayed it thoroughly and wiped off many of the bugs. I got tired of the process as it was late, so I planned to return to clean more off later. In the few days since then the plant has lost a great deal of leaves. I wonder if the soapy mixture hurt it or if the cleaning of the leaves was too rough for the weak plant.

What should I do? Spray more water (maybe a 1/5 rubbing alcohol mixture with a squirt of dish soap) and continue cleaning? Cut the leaves off and let it regrow more? Let it lose all of its leaves and pray it grows more? Or should I just buy a new plant?

By the way, while writing this it lost three more leaves. :(

Here is a link that might be useful: Pictures

This post was edited by kyledr on Tue, Nov 19, 13 at 22:25

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Whoops, I figured out how to edit the previous post.

This post was edited by kyledr on Tue, Nov 19, 13 at 22:26

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 10:24PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Oh my! Where on earth did you read about a 50:50 ratio of soap!

I wouldn't spray anything more on it until all of the soap has been rinsed off. Dish soaps can cause problems for sensitive plants, even when used as a few drops in a spray bottle!

First, in my experience, mealybugs don't usually cause leaves to fall off. Check to make sure that the potting soil is draining properly, that it's highly porous, and that the roots aren't bound up. Evaluate your watering practices, too.

I see at least one dead (rotten?) stem which should be removed.

In a few weeks, after all of the soap has been rinsed off in the shower (cover the soil with something), you can use rubbing alcohol at a ratio of 1:3 (alcohol to water) in a spray bottle to get down into the little crannies. Rubbing alcohol is easier on your plants than most dish soaps!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 9:03AM
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