What are the White Cottony Flakes on Indoor Bird of Paradise?

I think I have a bird of paradise house plant. It had bugs all over it. I cut it back to the dirt and it has come back with nice large leaves. Now I notice one leaf has white cottony looking flakes on it; they are even on the inside of the roll that has not completely opened up yet. What do I do?

Hi Kay,

It sounds like your Bird of Paradise plant has Mealy BugsSee a picture, learn to identify and treat Mealy Bugs, a houseplant pest that leaves sticky,white, cottony residue on houseplants.. You can read about Mealy BugsSee a picture, learn to identify and treat Mealy Bugs, a houseplant pest that leaves sticky,white, cottony residue on houseplants. in the Glossary of the website. The 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.    , also talked about in the Glossary,  is not good for a Bird of Paradise Plant because the alcohol in the mixture hurts  the leaves. I suggest you spray all parts of your plant with a product called Neem OilLearn about Neem Oil, a natural, organic, non-toxic product for treating houseplant insects and diseases. (also discussed in the Glossary. This product is non-toxic and does an excellent job getting rid of indoor plant pests.

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