The Garden Helper

Helping Gardeners Grow Their Dreams since 1997.

No-dash-here, you've found The Real Garden Helper! Gardening on the Web since 1997

Mystery Peace Lily pest ! email ?

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2004
« Prev thread: Mystery Iris| Next thread: Mystery Rose Bush »
Back to Thread index
by catlover on November 11, 2004 06:09 PM
Hello, I have a problem with a peace Lilly of mine. I've searched numerous sites to see if anyone else had experienced the same problem but so far no luck. Hopefully you can help. My peace Lilly has some kind of little black balls that form on the underside of it's leaves. I have looked very throughly under every leaf to see if it was an insect that was laying these funny looking balls. No luck. I've tried several times to wipe them all away and have succeeded, but after about a months time they begin to surface all over again. They almost appear to be some kind of insect droppings. Little black balls about the size of an ants head. Please help! I've sprayed under the leaves many times and still no luck. Thank you.

* * * *
by sam314 on November 12, 2004 02:32 AM
You might try getting an insecticidal soap that you spray directly on the soil. There is a type of fly that is very, very small that lays it's eggs in the soil. I don't know if the black spots would be from an insect that lives in the soil but it might be worth a try.

* * * *
God Bless,
Prov. 3:5-6
by plantgirl on November 12, 2004 09:13 AM
To me it sounds like some kind of spores. I'm not sure what insects or microbiologicals produce spores but that would be logical.

The other option might be scale but I'm not certain how much of a problem scale is in Calif. I had major scale problems in Florida and had to clean all my plant stuff and my plants with a 10-percent bleach solution.

I would make sure to get an answer from Bill or Will before doing anything too drastic.
by catlover on November 12, 2004 04:27 PM
Thank you for taking the time to respond....I will forward the information on and hopefully they will come back with a response. I am not sure what state this person lives since it is an email question.
Thanks again, Catlover

* * * *
by Will Creed on November 13, 2004 04:00 AM

Sounds like scale insects. Scale can be hard to detect. When they are young these sucking insects are slightly oval, slightly raised, translucent bumps about an eighth of an inch long. They can be found along stems and on the undersides of leaves. They don't look like bugs and don't appear to move. As they get older, they develop a hard, dark brown shell and look like a small mole. As the infestation increases, these sucking insects will secrete a sticky substance called honeydew that falls onto leaves, furniture and floors.

The key to eliminating scale is to treat even the ones that you cannot see. That means thoroughly drenching all leaf and stem surfaces until they are dripping wet. It is also best if you repeat this treatment all over again in 5 to 7 days to catch any crawlers (the translucent young ones) that you missed the first time. After that, you should check your plant weekly to see if they return.

Soap sprays are not as effective as some other treatments because soap doesn't always penetrate the hard outer shell of the scale.

I do not recommend any pesticides because they are all hazardous to use and not 100% effective against scale. The best non-toxic treatment for mealybug and scale is called Brand X Foliage Cleaner. It is available through Southwest Plantscape Products in California ( Their phone is 1-800-333-7977.It is a silicon-based product so it is very slippery. Its ability to penetrate is probably the key to its effectiveness because it gets into the tiny crevices that other sprays miss.

You may want to try spraying with rubbing alcohol that will help break through the hard outer barrier of the scale and kill it. Mix 1 part alcohol with 8 to 10 parts of water. Add a little liquid soap to help it spread.

Sun Spray Ultra Fine horticultural oil is also mixed with water and effectively smothers the scale. Complete coverage is important.

Another good non-toxic spray is Hot Pepper Wax. Its main ingredient is hot cayenne pepper that overheats the plant pests. There is an information website for it at

Finally neem oil works similarly to horticultural oil. It should be diluted with water and Pine Sol to couneract the onion-like odor. All of these are available nationwide at plant and garden centers and also by mail order.

Important: None of these should be applied to plants in direct sun or in high temps
by Cricket on November 13, 2004 06:34 AM

Thank you for your post. It appears that scale is the problem I've been fighting with my schleffera since spring! My flowering maple is also now showing signs of infestation. All my attempts (soap/alcohol spray, insecticides) have only been temporary - the problem keeps recurring. The worst is the honeydew that sticks to the floor. However, I am determined to win the battle - my schleffera has sentimental value and is worth nursing back to health.
by Will Creed on November 14, 2004 03:54 AM

Thoroughness is the key. Be persistent. Good luck.

Active Garden Forum

« Prev thread: Mystery Iris| Next thread: Mystery Rose Bush »
Back to Thread index

Search The Garden Helper: