I was given a small jade plant about 3 months ago - its about six inches in...

Asked April 4, 2013, 3:54 PM EDT

I was given a small jade plant about 3 months ago - its about six inches in height/width. I keep it indoors at work on a window ledge with plenty of indirect sunlight - watered infrequently (about twice a month). Recently, I noticed it has this white cottony sticky material under the leaves where the leaves connect to the stem. I don't see any bugs, just the white material. What is it? Is it dangerous to my plant? How do I fix the problem? Thanks!

Wicomico County Maryland

1 Response

The white cottony sticky spots you see under the leaves could very well be an insect called a mealybug, a common houseplant pest that feeds with the use of a long tube like mouthpart which they use to suck the juices from plants. If left untreated, the houseplant will be stunted and could even die. They like to hide on the underside of plants and the waxy covering acts as a type of body armor against insect predators and pesticides and water. As you only have the one Jade plant that is affected, you can try to control the mealybug with a cotton swab or small paint brushes dipped in rubbing alcohol or insecticidal soap, and then touch only the white mealybugs. There are systemic insecticides that also control mealybugs, please read and follow all the directions on the label.