Hi Judy, I was hoping you could help me identify my houseplant and offer some tips on nursing it back to health. I have had it for about two years, and it seemed to be doing great up until about 6 months ago. I have since noticed a waxy buildup on the leaves and that entire branches are wilting and falling off. I have not changed the care regimen (water about 4 ounces twice a week) or it’s environment. I did transplant it into a larger pot when I first brought it home but that was nearly two years ago, long before it started to degenerate. I received the plant as a memorial at my father’s funeral and it came with no care instructions or indentification tags, and I am very inexperienced with houseplants so I have no idea what I am doing. The plant has sentimental value to me, so it would be greatly appreciated if you could help me identify and nurse it back to health. I attached 3 pictures, 1 shows the small waxy deposits I have been finding on the leaves. Thank you in advance.
Your plant is called a Schefflera or Umbrella Tree Plant. There are complete care instructions for a Schefflera in the Popular HousePlant Section of the website. Without being able to see the waxy deposits in person, I can only say that it is an insect attacking your plant. Many insect eggs are covered in a waxy coating before they hatch, such as Mealy BugsSee a picture, learn to identify and treat Mealy Bugs, a houseplant pest that leaves sticky,white, cottony residue on houseplants., leaf miners and whiteflyWhiteflies are small gnat-like insects, covered in a powdery white wax; they feed on the sap of plants. This causes leaf-drop and weakens the plant in general. Whiteflies secrete a sticky substance called honeydew while they feed. The flying adults lay eggs on the tops of leaves, but it is the immature nymph stage, feeding unnoticed on the underside of the leaves, that does the real damage. Yellow sticky cards are a good way to trap the flying adults and prevent new eggs. Spray the Green Solution to get rid of the feeding nymphs on the underside of the leaves.s. When you stir the soil, do any bugs come to the surface? Is there anything flying around the plant? Is there any cottony, sticky residue on the plant? I would spray ALL parts of your plant with the non-toxic “ green solutionIf you don't want to use a commercial chemical product to treat plant pest problems try the “Green Solution.” This is a mixture of water, alcohol, biodegradable liquid soap, and mineral oil. Always test any spray on one or two leaves to be sure it won’t damage the plant. Depending upon how severe the infestation is, you can use these ingredients in varying proportions. If there are only a few pests, dip a Q-tip in alcohol and gently swab them off. For a more widespread problem, start by using a spray of warm water mixed with a few tablespoons of biodegradable soap. If that doesn’t cure the problem, make a solution using 8oz. water & 8oz. alcohol, add two tablespoons of biodegradable soap and two tablespoons of mineral oil. Spray all areas of the plant. Use this solution on leathery leafed plants (except palms), never on fuzzy leafed plants like African Violets or Begonias. For palms, omit the alcohol from the Green Solution. Never spray a plant that’s sitting in the sun or one with very dry soil. .” The easy to make recipe for this is in the Glossary of the website. Then get some Yellow Sticky Insect Cards, you can read about these in the Glossary also, and place them on top of the soil to catch whatever might be living in the soil. You can find the insect cards at a garden shop or order them from the website. Hope this helps.