How to deal with scale on indoor plants

Tan or brown oval insects with a hard shell can sometimes infect the stems and undersides of the leaves of indoor plants. They are sap-sucking and can eventually ruin a plant. The secretions of heavy infestations can lead to sooty mold – a black fungus. The best way to curb scale attacks is to keep your plants clean from dust in a humid atmosphere, and in optimal health


The appearance of raised bumps on leaves and stems. Leaves may also be covered in a sticky substance. Because these insects suck the sap of plants, heavier infestations can cause yellowing of leaves, stunted growth and even dieback of the plant.

What does this mean for me/my plants?

If left untreated, the yellowing and dieback of the plant will increase, meaning the plant will be sapped of all its nutrients, and will eventually die off completely.

Suggested Action

Infested plants can also affect other healthy plants near them. Keep affected plants separate from healthy ones. Remove and dispose of any infested branches, twigs and leaves (do not put these on the compost heap – throw them in the bin). Where scale colonies on plants are not so large, they can be picked off by hand. Dabbing individual pests with an alcohol-soaked cotton swab will also work when infestations are light. In cases of larger scale colonies, treat with a systemic insecticide.

For more information on bringing Life to your Garden, visit our website or visit your local GCA Garden Centre for more advice!

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