How to Get Rid of Scale on Plants

Scale is an aggravating plant pest, as its nearly microscopic insects feed off of plant leaves to harm its growth and stunt development.

There are multiple effective solutions available for eliminating plant scale, such as insecticidal soap and neem oil, but it’s essential that any method used be done thoroughly.

Insecticidal Soap

Scale is one of the most widespread pests that attack indoor plants. It may appear suddenly or be the result of contaminated potting soil, heatwave conditions or reused plant containers – should you notice scale on your plants, take immediate steps to address its cause and stop further spread.

Insecticidal soap is an effective solution to protecting plants against scale. Containing fatty acids that disrupt insect cellular membranes and kill them off quickly. Plus, its removal of protective waxes allows more insects to fall victim to its killing effects.

To use insecticidal soap effectively, combine it with water in a clean spray bottle or garden sprayer and shake vigorously before spraying onto surfaces. Water quality plays an integral role in how effective your spray will be; hard water may reduce its efficacy significantly.

If you plan on spraying an insecticidal soap directly onto your plants, always carry out a preliminary test first to make sure that no harm comes to them. Certain plants are highly sensitive to these treatments and excessive application can seriously injure their leaves and stems.

Neem oil, an effective natural insecticide that has been shown to eliminate scale on indoor plants, can also be used. You can buy it as a spray bottle product or incorporate it into a homemade insecticidal soap solution.

Neem oil contains antifungal and fungicidal properties that can help control an array of pests such as aphids, powdery mildew, and whiteflies. Furthermore, its safe for pets and children.

Add a few drops of bacullus thuringiensis (BT), copper fungicide or pyrethrin for more effective results and protect both plants and people while controlling aphids, fungus and chewing pests. These ingredients have proven their efficacy against aphids, fungus and chewing pests.

Horticultural Oil

Horticultural oil is an organic solution to eliminate scale on plants. It works by suffocating insects so they cannot survive and eventually die off.

Apply it to flowers, fruit trees and vegetables for protection from disease such as bacterial and fungal infections in garden beds. Plus, this product is easy to use on various plant varieties!

Scale insects can be difficult to eradicate from plants due to their small size and their tendency to attach themselves to leaves, stems and even the base of plants. If you prefer not using chemicals as pesticides or don’t have enough time for that option, use horticultural oil instead to effectively get rid of scale on plants.

Horticultural oils come in various varieties to combat scale, from petroleum-based mineral oils like cottonseed and soybean to vegetable options such as cottonseed and soybean.

Horticultural oils may be mixed with water to make them easier to use as sprayable solutions, typically via garden or hose-end sprayers.

Horticultural oils can also be used to combat pests that thrive on fruits and vegetables, such as aphids. Mixtures of horticultural oil, soap and water create an effective spray that will eliminate these problems.

However, certain oils can burn certain types of plants. Smoke trees, cedars and maples in particular are often affected by horticultural oils; moreover, some might even be hazardous to people and wildlife if not used carefully and only as necessary.

Horticultural oils should be applied to flowers and fruit trees in early spring, prior to them opening their leaves. This is an effective time to target scale insect nymphs and eggs which have overwintering, using oil as a suffocant before they form their protective covering and also killing any adult pests that might still be present.

An efficient method for applying horticultural oils is with a hose-end sprayer. This allows the oil to last longer while covering more area, as well as being repeated as often as needed to combat pests.


Scale insects are one of the most destructive garden pests, often found both outdoors and indoors. There are over 8,000 species of scale insects which feed off of plant sap by sucking through long needle-like mouthparts to sucke it up like candy; others produce sticky honeydew which attracts ants; this also supports sooty mold growth causing significant plant damage.

Scale can be removed from plants through multiple means, but the most effective strategy is prevention. Pruning can help eliminate dead or damaged branches and promote stronger, healthier plants that produce fruit if your trees or shrubs produce them.

Regularly check your plants for signs of scale infestation, which include wilted or deformed leaves as well as sooty mold growth – two sure indicators that your plants could have become infested with scale.

Scale on plants can be eradicated using various means, but pruning remains one of the most effective solutions. Although this can be an arduous and time-consuming task, pruning can restore your plants back to good health quickly.

Step One: Inspect all parts of your plant for signs of scale insects. If any are detected, use insecticidal soap on each affected area so as to kill the bugs without leading to an infestation in the future. This will kill scale bugs immediately while also protecting it against future attacks by these critters.

Once you’ve applied insecticidal soap to all affected areas of your plant, allow several days before checking to see if it has successfully killed scale insects. If it has, move onto step two.

Use a sponge dampened with rubbing alcohol to gently wipe your plants down, taking care to treat only small areas at a time as some plants can be sensitive. This method should help eliminate any remaining scale on your plant while using a brush can also help reach hard-to-reach spots.

Natural Predators

Natural predators such as aphids and certain lady beetles are another great way to eliminate plant scale. Their beneficial role in protecting the environment by controlling pests while creating beautiful natural landscapes makes these natural predators invaluable resources.

Many predators possess adaptations that enable them to hunt efficiently and effectively, using stealth, patience, and specific hunting tactics to seek out food sources. Their strong senses of smell and hearing also allow them to locate prey quickly before attacking it with force.

Some predators consume their prey alive while others use digestive enzymes to break it down. Venus fly traps and pitcher plants use this latter strategy, trapping their prey between two lobes of leaves then sealing them inside with digestive enzymes for digestion.

Other predators, like aphids and lady beetles, feed on insect eggs present in plant sap. Larvae of these insects feed off of the phloem and produce honeydew that drips onto plants and surfaces below. This creates blackish sooty mold on surfaces underneath plants which makes matters even worse.

Scale can do irreparable damage to trees and shrubs, particularly trees with leaves or stems exposed. They cling to them for sustenance.

Pest insects typically measure about 0.1 inches long, although their length, shape, size and appearance can differ considerably depending on the plant they inhabit. They may appear white, black or orange in hue, making it hard to spot.

Some scales, like armored and soft scales, produce honeydew as a defense mechanism against predators and fungus. While these species of scales tend to prefer outdoor trees and shrubs, some can damage indoor houseplants as well.

Armored Scales of Family Diaspididae are smaller species that feature a hard and protective shell to keep out adverse weather conditions. Although difficult to control, armored scales produce one or more generations annually and survive the winter weather conditions without difficulty.

To remove existing scales from houseplants, gently rub the areas using a facial-grade sponge or cotton swab soaked with rubbing alcohol. While alcohol alone should kill most insects that infested your plants, any that remain behind could potentially create more infestations and make detection difficult.

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