I've had a houseplant (not sure of the species, unfortunately) for a few (~6) months now. Until recently, the plant has been healthy.

enter image description here

Now, there are a few things going on with the plant that are concerning to me. I'm rather new to gardening, so I'm not sure what the problem is (I'm familiar with some deficiencies, but nothing more), and I don't really have anyone to ask. I was wondering if anyone could possibly help me determine the diagnosis and and treatment to my plant's ailment.


  1. Browning and yellowing of leaves at the base (phosphorous/iron deficiency?) I took this horizontally I swear
  2. Small white circles on the undersides of leaves. Upon closer inspection they don't look like aphids, perhaps aphid eggs? (See topmost leaf)
  3. Weird structures on the stem. Are these part of the plant? Am I just that dull? enter image description here
  4. Very small, almost invisible black dots on underside of leaf enter image description here
  5. Aphids, I think.

Is this just a simple aphid infestation rearing its ugly head? If so, is it even possible to have plants without aphid infestations (I've had aphid problems many times before)? Or is this multiple problems including an aphid infestation? Thank you for your help.

  • Follow-up Question: are these leaves safe to put in a worm bin or should I just compost them? Nov 26, 2017 at 17:38

1 Answer 1


You've got a scale insect infestation rather than aphids; this question and its answer is relevant Indoor plant is looking sickly although it's in regard to a different plant. It would be good to identify the plant you actually have - can you add a photo of the whole plant, including the pot as well please? It might then be possible to give a more informed answer regarding the cause of the lower leaves browning and falling, although having such a heavy scale infestation might be the cause of all the problems you're seeing.

To answer another part of your question, yes, it is possible to have houseplants that don't have aphids or scale. I've never once had either on any houseplant I've owned, but most commonly, the insect infestation may come in on a new plant or even just foliage from a bouquet brought into the house, or, if you stand houseplants outside during summer, they get them that way.

  • Thank you so much for your swift answer. I scrubbed all of the scales off that I could see, and then sprayed (from below) a soap solution onto the plant. Hopefully it will live. Here's a picture of the whole plant, post cleaning: imgur.com/a/2Vd0t Nov 26, 2017 at 18:44
  • I do not recognise your plant, sorry... if you add it to the question, maybe someone else will recognise it, but I've a query- is it planted straight into that pottery planter, or is it in a pot inside the planter? Because it needs to be in something with a drainage hole... and has it ever flowered or anything?
    – Bamboo
    Nov 26, 2017 at 19:30
  • The plant is planted in the pottery pot. The pot rests on the ceramic dish. The pot has a drainage hole, which drains to the dish, which helps evaporate the excess water. No it has not ever flowered anything, is that a concern? Nov 26, 2017 at 19:50
  • 1
    Not necessarily, but flowers would have been another indicator as to ID, that's all. It looks pretty healthy considering the size of the scale infestation - keep a check on it to make sure the problem doesn't recur in the next few weeks, and if you have other houseplants, check those too. Not sure it doesn't need a bigger pot though, you might want to turn it out and check if its rootbound
    – Bamboo
    Nov 26, 2017 at 20:25

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