Ask the Expert: Please help me identify the problem with this plant!
A dear friend of mine gave me a cutting off her HUGE and prolific plant about 1.5 years ago. Around the same time, I believe I brought some insects in with some bad potting soil. I have sprayed with Bayer Natria Insect, disease & mite control as well as another Bayer insect killer. After I treat, I usually find dead insects around the plant which look like fruit flies. The plant seems to put out new growth but looks wilted.
I forgot to tell you this plant usually lives on the windowsill facing south of our house which has blind-filtered light. I have moved it to other areas such as by a room with north and east facing windows with filtered light and a north window. The mother plant lives in a north-facing sliding glass door and is a prolific grower to say the LEAST! I have repotted twice in the 1.5 years. I water only when the surface soil seems dry.
Plant Expert Reply:
It is a little difficult to tell from the picture, but I believe your plant (a schefflera) has an infestation of two-spotted spider mites. You will need a magnifying glass to determine if the plant is being attacked by spider mites. Turn one of the leaves over and take a look at the backside with the magnifying lens. If you see little insects on the backside of the leaf, you have an infestation of spider mites. To see a picture of what a spider mite looks like go to the Purdue University page about spider mites.
If you have spider mites you will need to treat the plant with an insecticide specifically designed to kill spider mites. Your local garden center will have one that is safe to use.
Hope this information is helpful.