Identify and treat Scale HousePlant Insect Pests

I have a large schefflera and it has been dropping leaves and the leaves seem to have a shiny but gritty coating on them. Insect perhaps? Poor soil condition? The same thing seems to be happening to my ficus benjamina as well…suggestions??

Hi Mark,

It sounds like your plant has an insect pest problem called Scale. Soft 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 usually on the underside of the leaves. As the scale sucks on the sap of the plant it secretes a sticky substance called honeydew that makes the leaves appear to have a shiny coating. 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 both of these products in the Glossary of the website.