The sticky leaves on your indoor plants might only need cleaning. They could also be a sign of something more serious. The sticky film could seriously damage plant health if the infestation isn’t controlled. However, check your plants and start the treatment as soon as possible. Moreover, isolating infected plants can help prevent the spread of sticky leaves. But for more tips, keep reading this article.
1. Wipe the leaves
Wipe indoor plant leaves gently with a damp cloth, removing any sticky film, dust or dirt. Work from the top of the plant downwards to avoid wiping dust onto clean leaves. Buff leaves gently with a dry cloth.
2. Check for scale insects
Check indoor plants for scale insects, which are flat and oval, and look like tiny shells stuck to plant stems and the undersides of leaves. Spread a sheet of plastic wrap over the soil surface in the pot to catch any insects that fall off when you clean the plant. Add 2 teaspoons of mild dish detergent to a gallon of water and wipe plants with the solution on a soft cloth. Remove as many insects as possible.
Rinse with clean water and discard the plastic wrap. Alternatively, remove insects with tweezers or a toothpick, or rub them with rubbing alcohol on a cotton bud. Repeat every two or three weeks for as long as the infestation lasts. Spray with an insecticidal soap weekly.
3. Check plants for whitefly
These are tiny white insects that cluster on the undersides of leaves and fly away when disturbed. Hold the plants at a slight angle to avoid whiteflies falling into the soil, and spray with a strong jet of water to dislodge the insects; or vacuum them up in the early morning while they’re cold and slow, taking care not to harm the plants. Empty the vacuum bag into a plastic bag and seal it before discarding.
Alternatively, spray all parts of plants with insecticidal soap, which kills whiteflies on contact.
4. Prune off leaves and stems
After pruning, seal them in a plastic bag and put them in the trash. Disinfect the pruning shears after use by soaking in a solution of 1 part household bleach and 3 parts water. Leave for five minutes, then rinse with clean water and dry.