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Given its sheer hardiness, the dracaena marginata is an indoor plant that has always been great for beginners. However, the most stubborn dracaena can become ill or infested with pests, and when that happens, action must be taken immediately.
Dracaena Marginata white leaves indicate that the plant has become infested by pests. The white fuzzy spots on the leaves are not mold, they are the egg sacs and dead skin flakes of the insects infesting the plant.
In this article, I will explain the cause of mealybugs, how to prevent them, and how to be rid of them. But first, here are a few fun facts about dracaena!
- Dracaena are related to asparagus
- The dracaena’s name means “female dragon”
- The dracaena produces red gum when cut, which is playfully referred to as “dragon’s blood”
- In its natural environment, dracaena can live for hundreds of years
Read on to learn more about dracaena and how to stop mealybugs.
Mealybugs infest a plant when it is over-watered, over-fertilized, or has high nitrogen levels. Here are a few simple ways to avoid an infestation:
This is the number one go-to method for most house plant enthusiasts who want to keep their plants bug-free. Natria (available on Amazon.com) is a ready-to-use effective neem oil sold at a reasonable price.
Neem oil makes it more difficult for these pests to multiply and produce eggs, so it is perfect for dealing with an infestation.
You should always try to avoid over-watering your dracaena, not just for mealybugs but as a routine since it can cause problems in general for the plant.
Over-watering can eventually kill your dracaena marginata, so try to stick to a routine when watering.
The only thing to be done here is to be aware that mealybugs will be drawn to the plant and then take steps to keep them away, such as using the neem oil mentioned above.
When we bring home a new plant, it’s possible that the plant is already infested with mealybugs. Before we bring it near our other plants, we should set it aside to observe it in case of infestation. A new plant should remain quarantined for two weeks.
A good way to quarantine the dracaena is to keep it in a separate room away from any other plants you have in your home.
Many house plant enthusiasts enjoy placing their plants outside during the spring and summer, which can easily lead to a bug infestation. If the dracaena marginata is outside, bugs will have easy access to it.
Keeping your plant indoors is the best way to prevent outdoor insects and pests from going near it.
Gardening equipment that has been passed around from plant to plant will quickly gather and transfer bacteria, so it’s essential to keep it clean and sanitized.
Sanitizing not only kills bacteria but will also kill any mealybug eggs and keep mealybug adults away from our tools. We must clean our tools every time we use them.
Both old and newly acquired plant pots should be sanitized between usage. Keeping them clean will prevent bacteria from building up to the point where it could destroy the plant.
Always use warm water and a gentle soap to clean your plant pots, ensuring that any debris is wiped away before placing a plant inside.
Any tools that were used on a dracaena marginata that was heavily infested should be thrown out. Throwing out infected tools will prevent a re-infestation from occurring and will keep the plant safe from any residual pests or bacteria.
Always wash your hands after handling infected tools.
Hanging your dracaena marginata is an easy way to avoid mealybugs. Mealybugs can’t fly and aren’t good at reaching heights high off the ground.
Of course, this solution can only be applied when our dracaena is young and small. Hanging a large one wouldn’t be practical.
Mealybugs have a coating that protects them from pesticides. This can make it difficult to be rid of them with chemicals. Thankfully, there are some natural alternatives to being rid of mealybugs!
- Ladybugs. Ladybugs are a natural predator of mealybugs. If the dracaena is kept outside, we can attract ladybugs to the garden. The ladybugs will eat the mealybugs.
- Neem oil. A neem oil soil drench can be rid of mealybugs.
- Alcohol spot treatment. Dip cotton swabs in 70% alcohol solution and dab the infected areas on the plant. After this is done, fill a spray bottle with 1 cup of alcohol, dawn dish soap, and 1 quart of water, then spray the entire plant.
To do a neem oil soil drench, we are going to need a good recipe. This is easy to make and won’t take up much of your time. The following is a recipe for a neem oil soil drench solution:
- First, add a teaspoon of Dawn dish soap (available on Amazon.com) to a quart of water at room temperature. Dawn is recommended because it’s pretty much the number 1 dish soap on the market. It breaks down stains and grease with a highly concentrated formula, which is why it’s perfect for emulsifying the water for our recipe.
- Add one teaspoon of raw neem oil to the quart of water. Just Trust Organics neem oil from Amazon.com is perfect for our solution because it is cold-pressed and all-natural.
Now that we have an excellent neem oil soak ready to go, you can apply 2 cups of it to your dracaena’s pot.
Since this is a soil drench, we must be sure to drench the soil. So if your dracaena is in a large pot, you will need three cups of the solution instead of two cups.
After this is done, do a soil drench every two weeks until the infestation is cleared up. Or, if your dracaena isn’t yet infested, you can do a neem oil drench as a preventative measure.
Are dracaena toxic to cats
Yes! Dracaenas are toxic to most pets, including cats and dogs. If ingested, the plant will cause vomiting, anorexia, excessive salivation, depression, and dilated pupils.
Are dracaena succulents
Yes! There are 40 varieties of dracaena that are succulents!
Are dracaena outdoor plants
Yes! But only in areas that are frost-free. Dracaenas are tropical plants that prefer a hotter climate. They cannot tolerate the cold.
Can I grow dracaena from cuttings
Yes! When you take a cutting from the plant, make sure to get at least one node so that the cutting will propagate.
How tall will dracaena grow
The average dracaena can grow up to 10 feet tall!
In conclusion, a dracaena with white spots has a bad case of mealybugs. Thankfully, by applying a few of the methods mentioned above, mealybugs can easily be prevented or safely removed.