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Pest on my house ficus

just that really- it's a lovely specimen, about 5ft tall now, bought as a titchy thing for a fiver, from Woolies, 9 years ago!

I'm very fond of it. It has always been very healthy and done well. I feed it in spring and summer, repot every 3 years or so, give it a good misting now and again.

It's in a very bright room, with a little direct morning sun too.

Past few weeks I'd noticed several leaves browning and falling off, but put it down to the usual yearly regeneration it goes through.

However today, to my horror, I noticed mottling on several leaves, abd a small, whiteish grub like thing at the very base of many stems (always on the underside and only one per leaf).

They look gross and once the lead has dried, the White grub seems to go.

I'm nit good with houseplant pests - could anyone cast any light please?

Sorry but I'm unable  take a photo at the moment.

there is no stickiness on the leaves, by the way.

Thank you.


  • Without pics it's hard to confirm the culprit but Vine weevils are notorious for getting inside houses and laying eggs on house plants.

    The adults are small beetles and they usually feed on foliage at this tiime of year. The larvae/grubs persist under the soil  but don't hatch until much later in the year and eat the roots, causing more subsatantial damage.

    Millipedes sometimes look like grubs and they mucch the outside of the leaves and petals in particular and stay buried in soil for much of the time. Some species of small slugs do the same.

  • Thanks Mow- Sadly I'm very familiar with vine weevils and it's definitely not them (I had them in pots in back garden, until I discovered nematodes and got rid if them).

    I recall the eggs well and the telltale notches eaten out of the leaves by the adults. And the revolting grubs in the soil. Ugh!

  • IamweedyIamweedy Posts: 1,364

    I have tried to look after ficus plants in offices etc and rescued a few and taken  them home.

    In my experience they do not like being moved, or over watered, or underwatered and are incredibly fussy plants .  They seem to drop their leaves at what they percieve as the slightest insult or change in temperature and position.  IMO you need to be a very attentive gardener.  Ficus are fussy prima donnas.

    "Clivia miniata" do well. They flower and are pretty tough. I am sure others could suggest more robust house plants .

    'You must have some bread with it me duck!'

  • Thanks weedy - I have had mine for years, in exactly the same spot, has never been overwatered or underwatered and usually thrives with minimal fuss.

    It has always been a glorious specimen and easy as pie.

    It has got a disease though - tiny, white grub like things that don't move, less than 1mm across, and always one at the base of each stem, where the stem meets the leaf and always on the main vein itself.

    As the leaf mottles, then wilts, then turns brown and falls off, totally dry (never sticky) the white grub (if it is a grub, but I could be wrong) disappears.

    This is a pest, but I'm trying to establish which one, so I can treat it.

    I have tried to photograph them, but the picture quality isn't great.


  • The leaves go yellow mottled above, with a speckly discolouration beneath the leaf.

    Many of the healthy leaves also seem to be 'dusty', although this is in fact some kind of powdery stuff falling onto them, from the unhealthy leaves above.

    No sign of fungus though.

  • IamweedyIamweedy Posts: 1,364

    The photo is not entirely clear. It looks as if some bug might be scraping off the top surfaces of the leaves.

    microscopic leaf miners or such ? I hope you can sort it out.

    'You must have some bread with it me duck!'

  • Did you ever find an answer? I have two beautiful ficus benjamina and they are both for the first time in 15 years having an episode of small, white dots at the base of the leaves on the stem.  They are waxy, and when squeezed, seem to be oily or greasy feeling.  After looking every where, I found this and it seems to be what my problem (which is apparently not a problem) I hope it is allowed to share this article
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