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I've had this plant for a long time, and for most of that time it was outdoors, in a shared area with other plants and heavy sun. It didn't do well, so I dug it out and put in it's own pot, with a little less sun, and it seemed to thrive- it tripled in size and even put out, occasionally, tiny red flowers.

But lately I noticed that it has a layer of an icky white substance on it, and it isn't doing so good- dropping leaves and no new flowers.

What is it? What can I do about this?

Click photo for full size the plant from above

Here's a picture from up close:

Click photo for full size enter image description here

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This is Mealy bug. It looks like white fluffy clumps in the axils of the branches.

If the infestation really gets going some adults develop wings and can spread to other plants.

Mealy bug is hard to control with soap and water or pesticides. The powdery wax layer they secrete protects them from control solutions.

You could put the plant back outside and let predators reduce the number of pests or cut it back hard and spray with a solution of five to ten ml of dish soap in a litre of water. Be sure to get good coverage and repeat at five to six day intervals to get the eggs that hatch new ones. Repeat at least twice and resume control measures if you see them again.

Edit: now I have seen the closeup I can verify that this is a well established mealy bug colony

  • Do you know what plant it is, though? – Eyal Nov 21 '15 at 17:27

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