Dracaena with white spots / mold?

Asked June 14, 2020, 9:47 PM EDT

I have a Dracaena plant - have had it for probably 10 years with no issues. But I looked at it today and it's got white all over some of the plant - including some of the 'nibs'. While sometimes I let it get dry and leaves fall off, I have never seen this issue. Please help. Thank you!

Montgomery County Maryland

11 Responses

It looks like your dracaena is heavily infested with mealybugs. This is a very difficult insect to manage. You should isolate this plant if it is near other indoor plants. Please see the following information from our website,
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/mealybugs-houseplants

You do mention that you have had this plant for a long time but sometimes it is easier to dispose of the plant and purchase a new one. Battling mealybugs can be frustrating.

Deb

NO! I can't get rid of it, it came in a planter that my team gave me.... You can'y just get rid of a plant :(
I have some Dr. Earth insecticidal spray - mostly oils. Will that work or do I need this item from the article?
spray the plants thoroughly with insecticidal soap for houseplants or a registered houseplant spray.
I just noticed several other plants - mostly pothos type that are infected. Does it infect mostly certain types of plants?
Will putting the plants outside help?
Cutting off infected leaves and stems?
Thanks again.


Please read the link we provided for treatment options. Yes, you can cut off heavily infected stems. That reduces the load.

Yes, putting it outside may help somewhat.

Isolate it from all other houseplants. Mealybugs will get on any hosueplants.

If the planter has sentimental value, you can always just replant with a new plant.

Ellen

I mixed up some home remedy insecticidal soap. Most of the white spots (mealy bugs) have disappeared. Is this common? I'm continuing to spray and keep the infected plants (several of them) outside.
Thank you

Mealybugs will attack just about any plant. If you put the plants outside place them in the shade. If you put them into too much sunlight the leaves will get sunburnt. Is the Dr. Earth Spray you have labeled for houseplants. If it is it is better to use that than a homemade spray. Homemade sprays can also damage leaves sometimes. The mealybugs may have seemed to have disappeared but there are probably eggs laid on the plant. Their populations can increase quickly. Be vigilant and persistent. You can also use a q-tip barely moistened with alcohol to wipe them away.
Good luck!
Deb

Thank you. I used the Dr. Earth and home made. I will be vigilant and not take them back inside for several days. It's been a bit cloudy here and the plants seem to be ok right now. I will explore using alcohol as well.
I need to keep an eye on the plants left behind inside to make sure they don't show any signs.
Thanks again for your help.

Looks like my treatments have worked. No (or very, very little) white left. How can I be sure it's safe to let my quarantined plants back inside with the others?
Thank you again.
Mitchell

I think you should quarantine them for at least two more weeks. There are many generations of the bugs on your plants there could be eggs hidden somewhere on the plant that haven't hatched yet. And the fact that you can see even a little bit of evidence of them I think they need to be kept separated. Keep doing what you have been doing. Mealybugs can appear again quite suddenly.

Deb

Success! I was able to 'cure' these plants by treating them outside and then brought them inside.
Now, however, another plant - completely removed from the others - in the kitchen - has them. Treatment in progress.
How can I prevent this from spreading across all our plants?
Thank you again.
Mitchell

I would move the infected plant back outside into the shade and treat it as you did the others. To prevent an infestation, check new plants thoroughly for any signs of mealybugs or other pests isolate new plants for at least a week, be careful when you are moving from plant to plant like when watering or removing leaves. Wipe off tools and the tip of the watering can. The following article may have some additional tips.
https://wimastergardener.org/article/mealybugs/#:~:text=The%20best%20way%20to%20control,week%20or%20so%20if%20possible.

Deb