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What Are The Gray Spots On My Dieffenbachia?

Ask the Expert: dieffenbachia problems
tiny round silver spots on top of leaves what is causing it???

Flower Shop Network
Plant Expert Reply:

In the first photo, you can see the gray spots that are appearing on several of the dieffenbachia leaves. Exposing dieffenbachia leaves to direct sunlight can cause issues like gray spots. Which is what it looks like to me.

In the second photo, I noticed that the leaf is wilted and may indicate that the plant is under water-stress. Under watering a dieffenbachia can cause wilting and make the plant more susceptible to light stress issues. It appear that the dieffenbachia is in a dish garden with other plants which may not be compatible in regards to light and water. I recommend removing the dumb cane (dieffenbachia) from the dish garden in to its own pot.

Place the newly potted dumb cane in a partial light or filter light and create a humid environment for the plant. Mist the plant every couple of days with lukewarm water. Once a week check the soil and water as need. Soil should be moist to the touch but the plant should not be soggy.

Keep an eye on the spots. They will not go away. Watch for any spreading of the spots. Although the spots seem to be caused by over-exposure to direct light, one of the fungal or bacterial diseases that effect Dieffenbachia could be an underlying cause. Although must fungal or bacterial issue have a reddish/brown center with a yellow halo or a different type of lesion.

Read the Caring For Dieffenbachia for more information about light, water and the pests and disease that effect dumb cane.

This plant care question was brought to you by local Salem Florists. Not in Salem OR? Use Flower Shop Network to find a real local florist near you.

What Is This White Stuff On My Azalea?

Ask the Expert: what would get the white fungus off azaleas , leaf the azalea has white on them , on the leafs is it a fungus , what can spray on them will mild soapy water work. Janet

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:

First we need to determine if you really have a fungus. Is the white substance powdery and can you wipe it off. If so, you have a fungus called powdery mildew. Soapy water doesn’t work on fungus. You will need a fungicide. Your local garden center will have a general purpose fungicide that will work for well on powdery mildew.

If the white on the leaves is more of a lacy pattern on the leaf that can not be wiped away, your azalea has been attacked by an insect called lace bug. Soapy water doesn’t usually control this type of sucking insect. However, if a more organic approach is what you want – try it. If it doesn’t work, you will need an insecticide.

You have two choices when it comes to insecticide control for lace bug – topical or systemic. The topical insecticides work more quickly, but won’t protect as long. Systemic insecticides are slow acting, but longer lasting. Your local garden center will carry both of these products.

Keep in mind, the damage caused by the insects will not change. The plant will produce new leaves and they will eventually cover the damaged ones. So, it is important to keep the lace bugs from attacking these new leaves.

If you would like to read more about the lace bug on Azaleas, the Clemson Cooperative Extension Service has a great article: Azalea & Rhododendron Insect Pests

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My Avocado Leaves Have White And Brown Spots

Avocado Leaf With White & Brown Spots

Avocado Leaf With White & Brown Spots

Ask the Expert: Avocado leaves with brown AND white spots…HELP!
I have brown spots on the leaves are slightly raised and recently i started getting white ‘sugar’ like spots on the leaves, too. What do i do?….Your HELLLP, please….

Thanks, Ken

Plant Expert Reply:

Can you remove the brown spots by scrapping them with your fingernail? If so, you have an insect called scale attacking your plant. As for the white spots, they could be caused by an insect like a spidermite or another type of mite. The white spots could be fungal as well.

To find out what is causing the white spots, we must first eliminate insects as the source of the problem. Use a magnifying glass to see if the leaf has a type of mite. If you see anything moving on the leaf, you will need a miticide – which can be purchased at your local garden center.

It might be helpful to have a picture of the back of the leaf and the stem of the plant. Fugual problems will often present themselves on the stems as well as the leaves.

This plant diagnosis was brought to you by the Local Florists in Los Angeles.

What Are These White Spots On My Benjamin Fig?

Ask The Expert: my Benjamin Fig have some little white spots on it\’s leafs.  Is it means my plant has the Pathogen (fungal and bacterial) problem? What can I do?  My plant is about 6 feet tall, we had it for almost 15 years.

Thank you for your speedy reply.  Eleanor

Plant Expert Reply:

Benjamin Fig (Ficus benjamina) is susceptible to many pests from a wide source of pathogens (fungal, bacterial, insects, nematodes).  Since the spots on the plant are white, I don’t think you have a fungal or bacterial infection. Instead the problem sound more like an insect. If the white spots are slightly raised, you have an insect called scale.  If the white spot is found in conjunction with a sooty or moldy substance it is probably mealybugs.  You can get rid of either one of these insects with an insecticide preferably a systemic one.  Check with you local nursery garden center. They should have the right product for your situation.

**Fertilome has a whitefly and mealybug killer that I have used on houseplants. It should be sae for your Benjamin Fig.**

What Causes Black Leaves On A Peace Lily?

Ask The Expert:
I have a Peace Lily and I am noticing that some of the leaves (at the tips) are turning black. What is causing that?  I have been cutting off the black parts, is that OK?
Thank you for your time.  bfh

Plant Expert Reply:

There are 3 things that can cause peace lilies to turn black.

The first is a water issue – too much or too little.  With water the leaves turn brown first then black.

The second is exposure to an extreme temperature change.  Exposure to extreme cold will turn the peace lily leaves black.  Exposure to extreme heat or sunlight usually causes a yellow/brownish discoloration before it becomes black.

The third is a fungus called Phytophthora (aerial blight).  With this  fungus you need to keep water off the foliage – that is how the fungus spreads.  You may need to treat both the soil and the foliage with a fungicide.  Check with your local nursery & garden center for the appropriate fungcide.

This plant disease discussion was brought to you by Flower Shop Network.

Magnolia Is Dying Why?

Ask the Expert: Magnolia Tree….leaves brown and dry
I live in PA.  I have a Magnolia Tree that is about 5 years old.  Last year it got a few flowers.  However, this year it looks dead.  All of the leaves are brown and hard.  We put holly tone fertilizer in the ground.  A few branches (on the lower half) of leaves turned really green after a week, but the rest still look dead and brown. The leaves were never spotted and I do not see anything growing on the trunk. Someone mentioned that there is some kind of worm that gets in the top of the tree trunk and kills the tree…is that a possibility?  If so, what is that called?  Thank you for any advice. Kelly

Plant Expert Reply:

They could be referring to scale or magnolia borers. If you had either there would be signs of it still on the tree in the form of things that looked liked raise bumps or oozing places on the stems or trunks.

Magnolias are susceptible to a few pests and diseases such as baterical leaf spot, magnolia boreres, spot anthracnose, canker, dieback, butt rot, powdery mildew, anthracnose, fungal spots, snails, weevils, scale insects, planthoppers, and thrips.

I believe in your case dieback is probably the culprit.  Dieback is cuased by a freezing injury to the plant.  This usually occurs when the winter has extreme flutuation in the winter temperatures and condition.  The tips or tops of plants usually are effect by dieback.  You will need to prune out all of the dead limbs and branches.

It could be a result of anthracnose, fungal or bacterial problems.  However, normally fungua will present themselves with discoloration on the leaves, trunk or branches.  Since you didn’t see any of these signs, dieback seems to be the isssue.

If it was insect damage, you would see evidence of the insects.  Again since there is no evidence of insects, dieback seems to be the problem.

I would take one more careful look at all parts of the tree.  If you see anything out of the ordinary, send me a picture and I will identify what it is.  In the mean time, you will still need to trim out the dead.  Cut branches back until you find live green wood.

Good luck and keep me posted.

Help My Lucky Bamboo Has A Stench and Gnats

Ask The Expert: my bamboo that I aquired 3 mos ago approximately has aquired a stench like “throw~up” (according to my daughter) and gnats are attracted to it! can You suggest to me what might b wrong, and what I can do to fix it, please? I would really appreciate the info, as I really like my plant!  sincerely, Cathi


Since I don’t know if your lucky bamboo is in soil or water, I will address both but separately.

Lucky bamboo in water – You probably have an overgrowth of algae or fungus.  You could possibly have decaying plant amterial in the water.  You will need to empty the containers and wash it thoroughly with soapy water.  Rinse the container several times with water.  You will also need to wash any pebbles as well.  Wipe the lucky bamboo stem with a damp washcloth.  then place the pebbles and lucky bamboo back in the container and fill with distilled water.  This should take care of the problem.

Lucky bamboo in soil – You probably have a fungus on the top layer of the soil.  This is a result of soil that has been over-watered with poor air circulation and decaying organic matter.  You can scrap off the very top of the soil and throw it away and then let your soil dry slightly.  Sometimes this is all it takes.  If it still persists you will nee a fungicide and an insecticide.

Good Luck and please keep me posted.

My Lucky Bamboo Is Passing Gas

Ask the Expert: Lucky Bamboo gas emission
This morning I heard a strange sound like a gas building up and leaned my head in near where the sound was coming from–it was the plant! The next thing was a pop and all this “gas” shot out of the plant! The smell is overwhelming; it is not a putrid odor, but an extremely strong star gazer-like smell–so much so that I have closed off that side of the house until it subsides. Have you ever heard of such a thing and is it unhealthy to breathe?  Cathy


I receive numerous lucky bamboo questions a month.  But, I have to say this is the first time I have every received a question like this.  Usually odor coming from a lucky bamboo is a problem with decaying material and coming from the water.  This has me very perplexed.  I can’t find any disease that has a symptom of gas release.  Nor can I find anything on lucky bamboo having an odor that isn’t associated with decaying material.  Does the plant show an open wound?  Is the stalk still firm?