If you notice a sticky white mass on the leaves and stems of your young jade plant, it could indicate that it has an infestation of mealybugs. These insects can stunt the growth of the plant, distort the leaves and eventually kill the plant if left untreated. The cottony mass is actually the cocoon, with the mealybug inside. The sticky substance is sap from the leaves of the jade plant.
Things You'll Need
- Cotton swabs
- Rubbing alcohol
- Insecticidal soap or chemical insecticide (optional)
Quarantine the jade plant. This will prevent the mealybugs from infecting nearby plants.
Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and apply it to the mealybug. Be careful--alcohol can damage the jade's leaves and kill the plant if too much is applied. If you get alcohol on the leaves, wipe them gently with a cloth dipped in water. Repeat the treatment once a week for at least two months.
Spray the plant with an insecticidal soap or chemical insecticide. Read the label carefully first, because jade plants are sensitive to certain substances. Chemical treatments should only be attempted if other methods fail.
Discard the plant if the problem continues to worsen Mealybugs can transfer to other plants, and the sticky sap can damage shelves, carpets and floors beneath the infected plant.
Tips & Warnings
- Listerine mouthwash can also be used to treat mealybugs, but should be used with the same care as alcohol treatments.
- Although insecticidal soaps are safer than chemical insecticides, both can be dangerous and should be used only as a last resort.