Shiny black specs on tradescantia

Asked October 26, 2020, 7:00 PM EDT

I received this tradescantia from a friend and its leaves have slowly been dying. There are small shiny black specs on the back of the leaves (some on the front as well). They come off when you rub them and are primarily on the parts of the leaf that have died. My partner received a tradescantia from the same friends and that plant died mysteriously as well. I have looked a bunch but cant seem to locate any bugs moving around in the soil or on the plant itself. This plant has been sitting next to multiple other plants for a few weeks, none of which are showing any similar symptoms. Thanks for the help!

Multnomah County Oregon

1 Response

Thank you for your question. In order to get a positive diagnosis of the pest, we would need to examine the plant tissue under a microscope. The black "specs" you see may be fungal spores, rather than insects. Fungi proliferate in high-humidity environments, and gradually spread out into entire leaves. You might try applying neem oil per label directions. It is an organic fungicide. insecticide and miticide. Move any infected plants away from other houseplants to prevent a spread of the pest(s). Here is an Extension article on this species that might be of help: https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/tradescantia-zebrina/ Good luck!