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Ask the Plant Expert: What is this Sticky Substance on my Schefflera?

Dear Plant Expert:Schefflera with Sticky Substance
Our schefflera has a sticky residue on its leaves and underneath the plant itself.  After looking closer, while taking the picture, I see what appears to be little white bugs.  How should I clean it and treat it?
Thank You for Your Assistance,
Plant Expert Reply:

You will need to apply a houseplant spray to the plant in order to kill the insects. In the meantime, you can take a wet rag and clean the leaves. The rag needs to be dipped in lukewarm water that has a couple drops of liquid soap (use a non-antibacterial soap).  Good luck and let me know if you need help with anything else.
Jamie Jamison Adams
FSN Plant Expert


  1. hello i got a plant from my auint in florida and at first a acouple months ago i thought it was a variegated lily because the roots had the same small tuborous roots lilies do ,but now it put off a long stem like a spider plant making babies and has a small white flower that looks like a lily flower but its making babies on this stem do you have any idea what it might be?

  2. Mic,

    Can you send me a photo?


  3. My friend’s mother passed away about 5 months ago(May). She needed someone to adopt her Schefflera plant. It’s about 5 feet high and was very happy in my home…at first. Recently I noticed some, tho not all, leaves were sticky. Then in a few weeks leaves started dropping like crazy. I had given it a little fertilizer about a month prior and the weather has been volatile 80’s to 60’s and back since August. Any ideas?

  4. Louise,

    The sticky sounds like it may be a similar situation to that in the article. The dropping leaves could come from the temperature jumping. Check for bugs, and get the schefflera into a stable environment.