Indoor plant disease

(Question)

Attached are some pictures for my plant, I don’t know what its name, and you can see that white musty thing. I hope pictures are clear enough
itès in my living room next to the window

Looking forward to hearing from you

Thank you very much

Best Regards
Diya Sulaiman

(Answer)

From your photograph it is difficult to determine what may be causing these white splotches, but your description of them as “musty” suggests that you may be dealing with powdery mildew, a fungal disease which affects houseplants, and produces a white powder that covers the leaves.   There is also a possibility that your plant is infested with either mealybugs or scale insects.  When you look closely, can you see any tiny insects? Mealybugs look like small pieces of lint, while scale insects are small, oval-shaped insects which stick firmly to the leaf.

Powdery mildew can be partially removed by rubbing with a damp cloth – this will help although it will not remove the fungus completely. Good cultural practices are essential: do not over-fertilize, as this fungal disease can affect vulnerable new growth.  Make sure your plant is not over-watered, and has good air circulation around it.

If you have either mealybugs or scale insects, try to remove as many as possible using a Q-tip dipped in vegetable oil.  If the infestation is severe or growing (as yours may be) use an insecticidal soap (Safer’s is a readily available brand) according to directions.  Horticultural oils are also effective, and these too are available at any large nursery.

Finally, if you have other houseplants, be sure to inspect them closely as well.  It is easiest to control these diseases and insect pests as early as possible.

Below are links to information on all three of these possibilities, with useful photographs and step-by-step strategies for dealing with them:

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/help-for-the-home-gardener/advice-tips-resources/pests-and-problems/diseases/powdery-mildew/powdery-mildew-indoors.aspx

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/help-for-the-home-gardener/advice-tips-resources/pests-and-problems/insects/scale/scale-indoors.aspx

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/help-for-the-home-gardener/advice-tips-resources/pests-and-problems/insects/mealybugs/mealybugs-indoors.aspx