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You might have noticed scale on leaves of your treasured houseplants and be wondering how to get rid of scale on plants, how to prevent scale outbreaks, or how to get rid of scale naturally. You might have seen ants as a residual effect of scale because they feed on the honeydew scale bugs provide, so scale also might be your answer to how to get rid of ants in the garden or how to get rid of ants on plants.  A scale insect outbreak on your houseplants can wreak havoc on your entire collection, getting rid of scale on plants should be your priority if they ever show up uninvited. So here is how to identify scale insects on houseplants and how to kill scale bugs naturally.

Host of the Growing Joy with Plants Podcast, Maria Failla, recently interviewed renowned horticulturist Leslie Halleck about how to identify and kill scale on her podcast titled “How to Get Rid of Fungus Gnats, Scale, Whiteflies, Mealybugs and More”. Here are the details from this interview.

Prepare yourself for any type of pest outbreak and listen to the full interview here:



How to identify scale

Scale insects encase themselves in a waxy, armored coating that makes them very hard to get rid of. They attach themselves to stems, leaves, and branches to feed and leave sticky honeydew in their trail.

Signs to look for with a scale infestation: Honeydew and sooty mold on leaves, leaf drop, brown “scabs” on leaves (those are the bugs)

How to control scale:

  • Rub off scales with gloves and a cotton swab dipped in alcohol
  • Use neem oil or horticultural oil to smother scales
  • For severe infestations, apply a systemic insecticide that targets scale


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Buy the products we talked about!

Here are links to the houseplant first aid kit items Maria and Leslie discussed in this episode:

Horticulture Spray
Neem Oil:

Houseplant Systemic Insecticide:

White Cotton Gloves for Removing Scale:

Latex Gloves:

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