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Thread: Scale on houseplants

  1. #1
    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    Scale on houseplants

    I have been battling scale on 3 succulents in an indoor pot for several months now. I've used rubbing alcohol and Safer soap, although the Safer is really old and has maybe lost its power. I'm wondering if I should give up and dump the plants at this point, since I'm having no luck eradicating the scale and I'm afraid it will spread to my other plants. Any advice or personal experience to share?

  2. #2
    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    I can't tell you how many hours I've spent scrubbing scale off of plants. For several years, it was a bay, then a Meyer lemon. Both have since been composted. Especially for the lemon, it was like an hour every week. Ugh. And that sticky stuff EVERYWHERE. I'm sticking to garden plants, and letting them die at the end of the season rather than try to overwinter them. Sorry I didn't have more positive stuff to say.

  3. #3
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    Can they easily be found/replaced? If so, I would dump them and start over. My experience/observation with scale is that the plant itself is weak and unable to fight off the scale. I tried to eradicate scale for a long time with a bird's nest fern. I tossed the sickly one and replaced it. Afterwards, I was sorry I hadn't done it way sooner.

    I just re-read your post. Are all 3 in the same pot? If so, dump it out and carefully wash each entire plant. Wash the pot with hot water and soap, dry and spray with alcohol and set aside.

    Spread the plants out on dry paper towel. Let them dry for a couple of days. If no signs of scale appear, repot in fresh soil. If the scale comes back... see above...! Good luck.

  4. #4
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    I have wrestled with scale in house plant greenery in our local branch of the library when I was the volunteer caretaker and also in my climbing euonymus. At the end of a long series of trial and error efforts since no one seems to have a solution, I threw them out. I also had a problem with spider mite at the library which was so bad on the fig tree and the croton. Eventually they got tossed as well. I believe that people when donating their extra plants bought the problems into the library as the longterm plants did so well for a long time.

    When in Puerto Rico, I had the opportunity to ask the plant pathologist about both problems and asked how they handled these issues in their tropicals which were abundant. She advised that they are carefully monitored and culled as needed. There is no clear solution that she knew of.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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