Dracaena plants are popular and grown indoors and out. Outdoors they are relatively hardy and pest resistant. Indoors Dracaenas are more susceptible to mealybug infestation.
If left untreated, these pests can weaken your plant and leave it prone to other diseases.
Some claim blasting your Dracaena will help get rid of a mealybug infestation. But, due to the plants’ leaf structure, it is difficult for this technique to work.
Let’s look at some other tips or suggestions.
What Is a Mealy Bug Infestation?
Mealybugs are tiny, white insects that are covered in a fuzzy, white film. The bugs usually congregate on the underside of dracaena leaves but also gather on the trunk or base of the plant.
Tips on How To Kill Mealybugs
A mealybug infestation is easy to recognize by the waxy or cottony substance appearing on the leaves. You might not notice them as insects on the plant.
Mealybugs are often mistaken for a fungus. If you see insects flying around your plant, you’re dealing with a different pest.
Mealybugs don’t kill Dracaena plants as quickly as other pests do, but you should do something about it before your plant becomes damaged.
What Damage Do Mealy Bugs Cause?
Mealybugs go through several stages of life. The young mealybugs can cause the worst problems.
They pierce the plant and suck the juice out of the leaves, leading to leaf drop and soft spots. The leaves may turn yellow and die.
When the insects find a good spot on the plant to feed on, they may form clusters. That’s when they become more noticeable, creating a downy appearance on the plant.
A minor infestation isn’t too worrisome. However, if the infestation is bad, it can extend to the other plants in your home or garden.
Always wash your hands as well as the tools you use to care for your plants so you don’t spread the infestation.
Mealybugs also produce a sticky substance called honeydew, which can lead to mold growth and attracts other pests to the plant. The insects don’t sting or harm humans or animals, though.
A mealybug infestation can affect indoor and outdoor plants. Controlling these bugs can help your plants thrive.
How To Control Mealy Bugs on Dracaena
Dracaena is an evergreen plant and makes an excellent houseplant. It doesn’t require a great deal of water, and some varieties tolerate drought very well.
Because Dracaena prefers drier soil, you don’t have to worry about moisture and mold issues in your home, as you would with some other houseplants.
Moist environments tend to attract mold and mildew. Keeping your plant healthy by watering regularly and following appropriate care instructions, you’re less likely to have a pest problem.
One of the easiest ways to control and even prevent a mealybug infestation on Dracaena is to give your plant adequate care.
- Overwatering can cause root rot, which weakens the plant.
- Fluoride in the water can damage the leaves, causing brown spots and brown leaf tips. Consider using filtered water or leaving containers of water out for several days before watering the plant. This allows the chemicals to dissipate into the air.
- Only water your Dracaena when the top inch of the soil is dry.
- Overwatering invites pest issues.
Natural Mealy Bug Control Methods
The waxy coating on mealybugs repels most insecticides. Where they hide also makes them hard to reach.
If you already have a mealybug infestation on Dracaena, there are some natural elimination methods available.
Start with spot treatments using rubbing alcohol.
Treat mealybugs by dipping cotton balls or cotton swabs in a 70% alcohol solution. Dab the mealybug affected areas with the alcohol-soaked cotton balls. Spot treatments may be the best method for mealybug control on indoor plants.
After you have spot treated the affected areas, create a solution of 1 cup alcohol, several drops of Dawn dish soap, and 1 quart of water.
Spray it on the entire plant, including the undersides of the leaves, the trunk, and the soil. Repeat this treatment once or twice a week until the infestation is gone.
When mealy bugs are in the crawler stage Neem oil, Insecticidal soap, and horticulture oil are good options to control the younger nymphs. A systemic insecticide may be needed for large mealybug infestations.
Chemical-Based Mealy Bug Control Methods
A visit to your local garden center will provide lots of mealybug control possibilities. With all the insecticides on the shelves look for one that kills mealybugs on garden or house plants. Follow the instructions to take care of the infestation.
Keeping your Dracaena in the proper conditions will prevent a future infestation. Make sure your plant is getting the proper amount of light and water. Thriving plants can withstand pests better than sick ones.