The Dracaena all types are lovely plants coming in several varieties ranging from small shrubs to trees.
Although easily grown, the Dracaena plant does face challenges from several pests.
In this article, we look at Dracaena pests and share advice on how to deal with them. Read on to learn more.
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What Pests Attack Dracaenas?
There are four main Dracaena pests:
Scale bugs are a problem for Dracaena, and the plants are very susceptible to it.
Scale insects are very tiny pests with round, waxy bodies.
It is hard to recognize them because they come in a variety of colors, from white to tan to very dark brown.
Scale insects damage plants by piercing the plant tissue with their pointed, tube-like mouths.
They then suck the sap out of the plant cells.
Once a scale insect has started feeding, it will not move.
When plants are infested with scale insects, the plants’ growth slows down or even stops.
Infested plants become very weak.
One of the most effective ways to deal with scale insects is to engage the assistance of predatory insects.
For very large infestations, you may need to use a systemic insecticide, horticultural oil or Neem oil when the creatures are in their crawler stage.
This usually occurs during June or December.
Mealybugs are common Dracaena pests and soft-bodied insects.
You’ll recognize mealybugs by their white, fuzzy appearance.
You’ll find them lurking along the undersides of the plants’ leaves and on the stems.
Typically they are found assembled in groups.
They cause damage to plants by sucking the sap and producing a sticky substance known as honeydew, which may attract ants.
This damage causes premature leaf drop and stunted growth.
Deal with mealybugs by simply spraying them with a forceful stream of water.
This method works well with small infestations.
Spider mites are not insects.
They are arachnids, and they are so small we are not able to see them with the naked eye.
Although you cannot see the creatures themselves, you will see the webbing they produce in the form of very tiny white balls you’ll find near the veins of leaves.
Spider mites lay eggs on the undersides of leaves, and you will sometimes see these tiny clutches.
Most of the time, though, you will not know your plant has spider mites until you see the damage they cause.
Like other tiny plant pests, spider mites damage Dracaena by sucking the juices from the leaves.
This causes multiple pale yellow or brown spots on the leaves.
You’ll typically see this during the summertime.
To get rid of a small spider mite population, try spraying the leaves forcefully with water.
A heavier infestation must be addressed with the application of a miticide.
Thrips are common on Dracaena suffering from a lack of water or an excess of nitrogen.
Thrips are very small and thin and have tiny fringed wings.
They suck liquids from the plants through their piercing mouthparts.
You’ll often know you have thrips on your plant because they leave behind black droppings or frass.
To avoid attracting thrips to your Dracaena, be sure to water regularly, but be careful not to overwater.
When the top couple of inches of soil are dry, give your Dracaena a good, deep watering.
It’s also a good idea to avoid using fertilizers with high nitrogen content.
If your plant is infested with thrips, try blasting them away with a forceful stream of water.
You should also prune away leaves heavily attacked.
Keep Your Dracaena Pest Free
To avoid problems with Dracaena pests, you should examine plants before you purchase them.
Look on the undersides of the leaves and along the trunk and especially at the base.
Once you are satisfied with your inspection and bring your new purchase home, you should quarantine it for a couple of weeks.
In this way, you will know there are no eggs hidden in the plant waiting to hatch.
Regular inspection of your plants at home and in your garden is also necessary if you want to stay on top of Dracaena pest problems.
Be sure to water your plants regularly and fertilize them correctly to keep them healthy.
Healthy plants are far better able to cope with and deflect pests and diseases.