Indoor plants

Sticky residues on spider plants – How to treat the sticky leaves of spider plants

A sticky spider plant may indicate a problem with your beloved houseplant. Normally pest free, your first thought will probably be: «Why is my spider plant sticky? Before you start blaming children for spilling something, look at the underside of the leaves.

Sticky waste in spider plants

The sticky leaves of the spider plant are a sign that the piercing and sucking insect, called a mealybug, has come to live on your spider plant, making it sticky. There are different types of scales and they are all invisible to the naked eye until they form colonies of several. When colonies form on the leaves of the spider plant, a sticky residue is left behind. The colonies will be visible as small brown spots, usually under the leaves of the sticky spider plant. Sometimes the scaly insects appear as a white, fluffy spot – the scale insect.

The substance that causes sticky leaves on spider plants is called molasses. The sticky leaves of spider plants can also be caused by aphids or spider mites. What you see when you check the underside of leaves with sticky residues on spider plants can give you an indication of the pest you are dealing with.

Sticky leaf treatment on spider plant

There are several ways to get rid of scales and other insects that cause sticky leaves on spider plants. One way to treat the leaves is to use a cotton swab soaked in alcohol. This is a time-consuming process, but is effective when treatments are applied weekly.

Wet applications of insecticidal soap can also control the problem. You can make your own insecticidal soap mixture to use to control the pests that cause the sticky leaves of spider plants. Neem oil is also effective. Cover all parts of the plant, paying special attention to the underside of the leaves and the centre of the spider plant.

Fresh topsoil can sometimes help to alleviate the pest problem when combined with treatment.

Aphids and other pests are often attracted to the succulent new growth that occurs during a regular irrigation and fertilization routine. Save plant food and reduce watering to a minimum until you have solved the problem causing the spider’s sticky leaves.

Now that you’ve learned the answer to the question «Why is my spider plant sticky», take steps to control pests. Spider plants are hardy and will probably recover from this infestation. In the meantime, pull out the small plants that are cascading down from the container so that you always have large spider plants in your house or garden basket.

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