What is the Sticky Stuff on the Leaves of My Indoor Cyclamen?

My 4 plants on my kitchen window-sill now all have sticky leaves (top surface). It started with one plant and then spread to the others. New leaves are OK for a short while. I have had the plants fior quite a few years. What on earth is causing this? Do I need to throw these plants and if I do, can I be sure that new ones would be OK? The cyclamen in the porch is not affected.

Hi Margaret,

It sounds like your plants have scaleSoft Brown Scale is the most common scale that attacks indoor houseplants especially ficus, ivy, spider plants, ferns, aralia, and schefflera. It appears as small bumpy brown spots that appear to move. As the scale sucks on the sap of the plant it secretes a sticky substance called honeydew. The honeydew attracts black mildew. Because of the shell-like exterior, sprays are only partially effective against scale. Wipe off the lines of brown oval bumps with your finger, a cloth, or a child’s toothbrush then spray the plant with Neem Oil. Use the Green Solution to clean off the black mildew.. You can read about this plant pest in the Glossary of the website.  Look at the back of the leaves and along the stems of you Cyclamen and see if there are any small, hard, brown oval bumps. That’s what scaleSoft Brown Scale is the most common scale that attacks indoor houseplants especially ficus, ivy, spider plants, ferns, aralia, and schefflera. It appears as small bumpy brown spots that appear to move. As the scale sucks on the sap of the plant it secretes a sticky substance called honeydew. The honeydew attracts black mildew. Because of the shell-like exterior, sprays are only partially effective against scale. Wipe off the lines of brown oval bumps with your finger, a cloth, or a child’s toothbrush then spray the plant with Neem Oil. Use the Green Solution to clean off the black mildew. looks like.  As they suck the sap out of plants, they secrete a sticky substance called ‘honeydew.’ I think that is the sticky stuff you are seeing on your cyclamen. I’d recommend using a child’s toothbrush and gently scraping off the adult scaleSoft Brown Scale is the most common scale that attacks indoor houseplants especially ficus, ivy, spider plants, ferns, aralia, and schefflera. It appears as small bumpy brown spots that appear to move. As the scale sucks on the sap of the plant it secretes a sticky substance called honeydew. The honeydew attracts black mildew. Because of the shell-like exterior, sprays are only partially effective against scale. Wipe off the lines of brown oval bumps with your finger, a cloth, or a child’s toothbrush then spray the plant with Neem Oil. Use the Green Solution to clean off the black mildew. that you can see. Then spray all parts of the plant with 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.    ” or Neem OilLearn about Neem Oil, a natural, organic, non-toxic product for treating houseplant insects and diseases..  You read about both in the Glossary of the website. Wipe down the windowsill and the pots with some bleach.