schefflera problem

Asked January 27, 2017, 5:16 PM EST

A couple of years ago my schefflera had scale mites. You helped me identify them. I cleaned them off with a plant soap repeatedly, and recently they seem to be gone. Now, however, some of the leaves have a white or pale yellow powdery stuff on them, which seems to be a bunch of tiny finite things, hard to the touch when I scrape them off with my fingernail. Several leaves had fallen on the floor behind the tree and went unnoticed for some time; today I swept them away and found a similar white deposit in spots on the floor, maybe 1/2" - 1" in diameter, that had to be scrubbed off. I am attaching 2 close-ups of leaves. Can you help me with these? The tree in general is not doing well; many of the leaves are yellowing and falling off. I don't think I'm overwatering; I don't water until the top of the soil feels dry, and lately that's been 1-1/2 to 2 weeks. The pot is probably too small. I recently moved it from a window where it got direct sun, into a corner where it gets a lot of indirect sun (we have a lot of really big windows) but no direct. My 3rd photo is an overview of it in its present location. Any of this tell you anything? Thank you for your past help, and anything you can suggest to me now! nancy

Baltimore Maryland

1 Response

When we look at your leaf closely we think there are still some remaining scale insects present, especially along the veins.
We are not sure, but the spotting on the leaves could be old 'honeydew' excretions/droppings from the scale which is feeding on plant sap.
We suggest treating again.
It is recommended that the leaves of these plants be sponged down to keep the pores free of dust every couple of weeks, and that would help to dislodge these guys too.
This plant desires bright light, without direct sunlight (though this time of year it could take it). Right now it between those two windows, it's pretty dark...we'd suggest letting more light get to the plant.
Our reference says leaf drop can happen when/if room temps drop below 55degrees.
Once the active growing period of spring comes, either repot, or if the pot is large already, poke some holes in the soil with a pencil and topdress with some fresh potting mix, then apply standard liquid fertilizer every two weeks until fall.