If you’ve got a weeping fig plant and you’re starting to notice an odd sticky residue on its leaves, you might be wondering what’s going on.
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Why Is My Weeping Fig Sticky?
Your weeping fig is sticky because it has been infested with scale insects, mealybugs, spider mites.
Sticky leaves are usually caused by honeydew, a sticky substance produced by insects like scales and deposited on the foliage of your weeping fig.
And under damp conditions, things may become even worse if the honeydew on your ficus gets taken over by an unsightly black fungus known as sooty mold.
In this article, we’ll look at potential culprits for this stickiness on your weeping fig and how to deal with them so you can get your plant back to full health.
You should make sure you deal with it promptly if you notice stickiness on your fig, as insects munching on the plant will make it sick, especially if there are a lot of them.
The first thing you’ll have to do is identify what kind of pest you’re dealing with so you know how to get rid of it.
There are quite a few kinds of insects that secrete a sticky liquid known as honeydew when they feed on plants.
These insects are often eating the sap of your plants and will damage them if you don’t take action.
The honeydew is a waste product that they excrete.
In many plants, aphids are the main culprit for the appearance of honeydew, but they are not very fond of ficus plants.
Therefore, a weeping fig is more likely to be infested by scale insects.
These are small brown bugs that look like little lumps on the stem.
They can be very hard to spot as they just look like discoloration in the bark.
Getting Rid Of Scale Insects From Your Weeping Fig
Scale insects can be difficult to get rid of, especially if there is a serious infestation.
You will probably need to do several treatments, and keep checking on your fig regularly to make sure you have killed the bugs.
You can remove scale insects by scraping them off, but they are good at hiding on the underside of leaves and in the joints of stems, so you may find it easier to treat the plant by dabbing the insects with neem oil or vodka.
This should kill the insects effectively.
Keep treating the plant once a week for a few months, until you are sure that all the scale insects have gone.
You should see the sticky residue disappear, and you can also wash it away if you want to.
Also Read: Are Mealybugs Harmful to Humans? (Or Pets)
Another possible culprit of a sticky weeping fig, mealybugs look like little patches of white cotton and often appear on the stems or the undersides of leaves.
If you end up with lots of mealybugs on your weeping fig, you may notice yellowing leaves and drooping, so you need to get rid of them before they take over.
Mealybugs can also be dealt with by using alcohol, such as rubbing alcohol.
You can apply this directly to the bugs on your weeping fig using a Q-tip, although you may find this a tiresome task if your plant is large.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much else that works well against either mealybugs or scale insects.
You can sometimes remove mealybugs by hand, and neem oil is another potential solution.
It’s better to avoid commercial insecticides if you can; you shouldn’t usually need them to treat these problems.
For best results, wash off what mealybugs you can then treat every inch of the plant with neem oil – every stem, top, and bottom of leaves, and the entire trunk.
You could also use an imidacloprid-based systemic insecticide which could be added to the soil.
Any remaining insects can be got with rubbing alcohol.
Repeat the process every two weeks until your weeping fig is pest-free.
Spider mites can also cause your weeping fig to turn sticky.
Spider mites are often too small to see on your plant, so if there’s no visible source of the honeydew, try running your fingers over the leaves.
Spider mites often feel gritty and may leave tiny webs.
Spider mites will also cause honeydew on your fig as they feed on the sap, but they can be easier to get rid of than the first two types of insects.
Dealing With Spider Mites
Take your weeping fig outdoors and spray it with the garden hose, using a strong blast will wash the bugs away.
Spider mites are small and should be washed off by the strength of the water.
You will need to wash under the leaves, on top of the leaves, and in the cracks and crevices of the stems.
It may take several treatments to fully rid your plant of mites.
Sticky honeydew on your weeping fig is a sure sign that something is eating it, so find out what and work on getting rid of the insects so that your plant can continue to grow without having its sap drained.
Keep an eye out for any signs that the insects are still there, and keep treating the plant until the infestation is gone.