Spring Garden Tips
Clear, Sticky Substance (Honeydew) on Houseplants

Clear sticky droplets on houseplant leaves, nearby furnishings and the floor mean something is feeding on your houseplants.

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mgm_audio_264_honeydewThis clear sticky substance is honeydew. It is often the first thing gardeners notice when aphids, mites, whitefly, mealybugs, or scale are feeding on their plant. All of these insects suck plant juices and secrete the excess as honeydew.

Give insect ridden plants a shower with warm water. Then apply insecticidal soap, Neem, or another natural insecticide labeled for this use, to the upper and lower surfaces of the leaves and stems. This will kill aphids, mites, and the immature stages of the other pests. Repeat applications will be needed.

Gently scrape off any hard shell-like structures or cottony masses, these are the adult scale and mealybugs, found on the leaves and stems. Add a yellow sticky trap if you notice white fly-like insects around the plants to help reduce their populations.

A bit more information: Consider moving plants to the shower for treatment. Place the pot in a plastic bag to prevent soil going down the drain. Rinse with water to dislodge many of the pests and then treat with a natural insecticide if needed. Or place large plants on a tarp to protect flooring and furnishings when treating. As always read and follow all label directions carefully.