Indoor plants

Sticky Schefflera plant : Why is my Schefflera sticky?

Scheffleras are plants with ornamental foliage. In most areas they are only suitable as houseplants because they are extremely tender. The broad leafed clusters resemble the rays of an umbrella and have given them the nickname ‘umbrella tree’. Schefflera are remarkably tolerant houseplants and behave well in a variety of situations; however, they are also prey to insect pests. The sticky leaves of Schefflera are probably a symptom of certain insects that suck the life out of your precious plant.

Why is my Schefflera sticky?

Scheffleras have large shiny leaves arranged in a circle around a central stem. Each of the leaves that make up the whole umbrella can be up to 12 cm long on adult plants. Houseplants benefit from the dusting of the leaves and it is during this activity that you can notice something new in the plant – sticky things on the Schefflera’s foliage. The culprits may be various sucking insects that deposit faeces called molasses on the foliage of their host plant, creating sticky Schefflera leaves.
Look under the leaves and on the stems of a Schefflera with a sticky substance on its leaves. The problem is very small insects that feed on the sap of the plant and shrink slowly.
its vigour. The honeydew leaves behind a glossy, sticky mess. You can remove the honeydew and get rid of some bugs, but only a few that remain will quickly colonize and before you know it, you will have a sticky Schefflera plant again.
Aphids, mites or mealybugs are the main culprits for sticky Schefflera leaves. If you have a problem with ants in your home, you may also notice ants in and around the plant. This is because ants «cultivate» the aphids to keep them around for honeydew, which is their favourite food.

What to do with the adhesive sheets of the Schefflera

Any Schefflera with a sticky substance on the leaves can be treated initially by taking it out and watering the leaves with water. Aphids rinse the leaves and this treatment usually works well if followed up at the first sign of pest presence.
Systemic treatments formulated for houseplants work to prevent pests and the resulting sticky material in Schefflera. It moves from the roots to the stem and leaves so that insects can ingest it through their feeding activity.
Neem oil is a milder solution in the presence of children and pets. This natural oil comes from a tree native to India. It has toxic and repellent properties for many insects, but can be used safely in the home.

Recovery of a sticky Schefflera plant

After a successful treatment and the disappearance of all signs of insect pests, it is time to assess the damage. If your plant has lost its leaves, discoloured or failed to produce new shoots, it is likely that insects have damaged your health to some degree. This means that you must grow a plant that has been affected. Once the sticky Schefflera has been cleaned and the pests have been eradicated, the poor health can continue.
Give the plant a mild fertilizer every two weeks, for example diluted compost tea or diluted fish or seaweed fertilizer. Water the plant regularly when the first 3 cm of soil is dry. Repel plants that have little soil, using good soil with an organic amendment. Within a few weeks you should see an improvement in your plant and it will return to what it was.

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