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Ponytail Palm

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There is this white fluffy stuff growing on my palm and I don’t know what to do about it.  I put it out last year and sprayed it thinking it was a fungus or something  and it went away.  I brought in the house for the winter and it is back.  What is it and how do I get rid of it?

Mealybugs look like tiny bits of white cotton. They spread, but they don’t appear to move. They thrive when the plant is under stress from changes in the environment – reduced light, poor air circulation and improper watering.

The juvenile mealybugs are translucent and invisible to the naked eye. They also tend to hide in the tiny crevices where the leaves attach to the stems. To be effective, the spray has to make contact with every last one of the critters or some will survive, reproduce and the infestation will return.

They can be treated effectively with a spray solution of 5 parts water, 1 part alcohol and a squirt of liquid dish soap. However, all stems and leaf surfaces of the entire plant must be sprayed until they are dripping wet. This is messy! Pay particular attention to getting the spray solution into the crevices. If the plant is small enough, fill a sink or tub with the solution; invert the plant and swish all of the above-ground portion of the plant in the solution for about a minute.

So, the key is really thorough treatment coverage.

Keep your Ponytail as stress-free as possible by keeping it very tightly potted, watered sparingly and very close to a sunny window.