houseplant neglect: Scale

I'm not very good with houseplants, mainly because I tend to ignore them for much of the year. In winter they end up looking pretty sad, as the normally low amounts of light they get dip even lower, the dry air does them no favors, and they don't get to go outside for a nice rain shower once in a while.


The end result is that some of them are in pretty bad shape right now, none worse that this peace lily. (Most are not overly happy, usually with different complaints.)


***


You see. this poor thing is infected with scale. The sticky droplets are one clue something is amiss:


That cat hair is stuck tight and the usual dusting won't help -- only a good shower or a wipe down of each leaf with a damp cloth will fix this.

Here are the little pests:


It's the faded flower stem that is most heavily infected:


I think the dark ones are dead -- they've been here for quite a while. I wonder why I don't examine this plant more often?


The solution, or at least the first part of it, is insecticidal soap:


I moved the plant into the cold garage for this, and will repeat the spraying in a few days after wiping off these pests (hopefully dead). Then I'll wash off all of the leaves, maybe even putting the plant into the shower for a good cleaning. I can start fertilizing again now too -- another task I'm not too regular with for the plants that live inside the house.

You know, if I did all of this monthly I'd probably never have a scale problem on this plant again.

I told you I'm not too kind to my houseplants.

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Jennifer  – (February 5, 2013 at 7:22 PM)  

Oh, I hate scale. They're such a pain. And I'm sorry to tell you, but the dark ones aren't dead; they're the mature ones that are busy making baby scale. Once they're big like that they rarely move. But it sounds like you've got a good plan for saving the peace lily!

Barbie  – (February 6, 2013 at 3:57 AM)  

Scale!! Yuck! My worst! I see that the dark ones are making babies!! Oh No! Let me know if the soap spray is enough to kill them. I use my own soap and tansy & mugwort spray. It seems to keep the aphids and scale at bay longer than just normal soap.

Stiletto  – (February 6, 2013 at 8:22 AM)  

Scales, thrips, mealy bugs and its ilk are the bane of the gardeners, I take the easy way out with infested plants. If they are badly infested, I simply cut the affected leaves off and add some fertiliser to the soil.

Alan  – (February 6, 2013 at 9:13 AM)  

Thanks for the info: dark ones are not dead. Hopefully they all are now though. :)

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