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I do not know the name of the plant and I have battled brown scales on my ficus before at my office. What is attacking this plant? Could it be some type of white scale? It is not mealybugs.

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This is a Strelitzia and it has a soft scale. Most likely this is Boisduval scale. It is most likely that the scale came with the plant from the greenhouse. It would have been under control and not visible due to the growers pest control program but after you received it they would have started spreading from their hiding places in the leaf sheaths.

The Strelitzia grows new leaves from a central point and the growth is wrapped in a leaf sheath until it is ready. Unfortunately this makes an excellent place for pests to hide out.

While I was an interior landscaper I was never able to successfully control these pests with soap and water but you could certainly try this method.

  • Make a mixture of 5 to 10 ml of dish soap of any brand and one liter of water. Mix but do not make it too frothy.
  • Get a soft toothbrush or soft scrub pad and dip it in the solution and rub off the scale rinsing on a regular basis.
  • Once you are done, wait a few minutes and wipe all the areas you have covered with a clean cloth to remove the soap.
  • Repeat at least twice at six to seven day intervals to catch the ones you missed.
  • Consider repeating this process as required as this scale is hard to control.

If you have no patience for this you could also try buying a systemic insecticide like Cygon 2E, read the instructions, put on impermeable gloves and appropriate safety gear, prepare a two liter solution according to the instructions and pour it into the soil. A solution that is more dilute than recommended should be tried for the first application to see how the plant responds. As most pesticides smell you probably want to do this outside and catch the water that flows through the pot for safe disposal.

Where I live you cannot buy this anymore so you are encouraged to check your local greenhouse/plant stores for local regulations on systemic pesticides.

  • Try Neem...it works well on scale. Take it out of doors to spray. – stormy Jun 15 '14 at 4:53

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