Monsteras are fairly easy-going plants, well-known for their stunning Swiss cheese-like foliage. Even though they are not fussy plants, Monsteras are no stranger to pests and problems, with scale being one of the more common issues.
Scale on Monstera can range from annoying to a more problematic issue. The good news is that if you act quickly, you can get rid of the scale on Monstera and keep them from returning.
Keep reading to find out exactly how to treat scale on Monstera – as well as what to do so it doesn’t come back.
Signs of scale on Monstera
Scale on Monstera appear as small brown lumps or bumps stuck on the foliage and stems of the plant. They are oval or round in shape, and can be brownish, black, or even cream colored. These pests are rather small, measuring only about 1/8-inch.
Scale are sap-sucking insects that consume the juices inside the Monstera. If left untreated, scale can result in leaf loss, stunted growth, wilting, and even death.
The good news is that death due to scale infestation isn’t a common occurrence, since most people catch the problem before it gets to the point of no return.
How do you find the scale on Monstera?
Scales are found on the foliage and stems of the Monstera plant, attaching themselves to both the tops and undersides of the plant’s leaves. Regular examination of your plants will help you to spot this in time and quickly alert you to any issues that may arise.
Experts typically recommend giving the Monstera, or any plant for that matter, a good look over every time you water. Alternatively, take the time to dust your plants every now and then and use the chance to get a good look at them. That way, you’ll catch any problems early, before they get out of control.
If you find scale on Monstera, act quickly to remove the pest and treat the plant. You should also quarantine the affected Monstera, keeping it away from other plants to help prevent the scale from spreading. Once the scale has been removed, you can return the Monstera back to its original position.
You may also be interested in: 12 Most Common Monstera Pests and Diseases (to Get Rid of)
How do you get rid of scale on Monstera?
Getting rid of scale on Monstera isn’t difficult, though it does take quick action in order to control the pests before they have a chance to severely damage the plant. Thankfully, there are a couple of different options when it comes to getting rid of scale.
1. Apply insecticidal soap to the Monstera
Insecticidal soap is one of the most effective methods to control a wide array of problems on Monstera, including scale. What’s even better is that insecticidal soap is non-toxic, making it a great choice for indoor use, especially if you have children or pets.
Insecticidal soap can be purchased commercially – my top pick for this is Natria Organic Insecticidal Soap (check the latest price here) – or you can make your own by mixing Dawn dish soap or Castile soap with water. Spray the mixture on the Monstera liberally, making sure to spray the solution on all surfaces of the leaves and stems.
2. Use rubbing alcohol to get rid of scale on Monstera
Rubbing alcohol is another great tool when it comes to getting rid of scale on Monstera. To make things even better, many households keep rubbing alcohol on hand (although, if you don’t, you can grab some here). All you have to do is dampen a cotton swab in the rubbing alcohol and then rub the scale with the dampen swab.
This scale removal method is best for small infestations, and you want to try not to get too much of the rubbing alcohol on the plant itself. You may have to repeat the process several times for several days in order to get rid of all the scale.
3. Grab your tweezers and physically remove the scale
Manually removing the scale with a pair of tweezers works well for smaller infestations. After you have plucked the insects off the Monstera, toss them in a disposable container filled with warm soapy water.
For larger infestations, consider using the tweezers method combined with a pesticide to help control the scale on Monstera.
4. Spray the Monstera with neem oil
Neem oil is another pesticide option that works well on soft-bodied insects such as scale. It is non-toxic and is derived from the neem tree. When I’ve had issues with plants in the past, I’ve used PetraTools Pure Neem Oil (get the up to date price here) to solve the problem.
As with the other pesticides on this list, you will need to liberally apply neem oil to the Monstera, making sure to coat the underside and top side of the leaves, as well as the stems, with the solution.
Neem oil will require multiple applications, though the exact amount and timing of applications will depend on the brand of neem oil you use. That is why it is important to refer to the directions located on the back of the bottle.
Is it hard to get rid of scale on Monstera?
Scale on Monstera isn’t hard to get rid of, especially if you are dealing with the soft-bodied scale. The soft-bodied scale is the most common type of scale that attacks houseplants, such as Monstera. The hard-bodied scale is a bit more difficult to treat, but it isn’t impossible.
In most cases, you will deal with soft-bodied scale, and can control them using pesticides and manual removal methods. The longer you allow scale to infest the Monstera, the harder it is to get rid of.
Will scale spread to other plants from your Monstera?
Scale are insects and can spread from one plant to the next. That is why it is important to move the infested Monstera away from other plants as soon as you notice an infestation. Keep the Monstera away from other plants until you have completely controlled and removed the pests.
Depending on the severity of the infestation, the Monstera may have to be quarantined for a few weeks. Don’t make the mistake of removing the plant from quarantine once the treatment has been completed. You want to wait for a week or so after the treatment has ended to ensure there are no scales hiding on the Monstera just waiting to infest other plants.
Can a Monstera recover from scale?
Even though scale may sound and look scary, most Monstera plants will recover from this pest. With that said, however, it is possible for the scale to severely damage and even kill the plant. Thankfully, most gardeners can successfully control scale and get rid of it before it threatens the life of the plant.
Don’t assume, however, that you can let a scale infestation, even a small one, stay on your Monstera for a few days before treating it. Scales can quickly multiply, and with every new scale comes a new chance that your plant won’t recover from their overfeeding.
That is why it is vital for the life of your Monstera that you act in a timely manner to control the scale. Once you have rid the Monstera of the pest, take the necessary precautions to keep the scale from returning.
How to prevent scale on Monstera
As with any other types of pests, prevention is the best defense against scale. Preventive measures will not only keep insects and diseases at bay, but they also help to ensure your Monstera is strong and thriving for years to come.
1. Grow only healthy plants
One of the best defenses against scale, or any other pests, is to ensure your Monstera is healthy. Healthy plants are not as appetizing to insects as unhealthy ones.
In fact, unhealthy plants are less likely to fight off pests, while also providing them with more bang for their buck when it comes to food.
2. Give the Monstera good nutrients
Fertilizing your Monstera during its active growing season is a wonderful way to maintain the plant’s health and prevent scale from attacking. Choose a slow-release fertilizer designed for indoor tropical plants, and apply it once a month during the spring and summer season.
Remember to stop feeding the Monstera during its dormant period, which is in the fall and summer. Furthermore, make sure to follow the application instructions on the back of the fertilizer packaging.
Best fertilizer for Monsteras
A great fertilizer with the perfect balance for your Monstera. Simply dissolve in water and feed your plant to watch it thrive.
3. Make sure the Monstera has well draining soil
Soggy soil leads to fungal diseases, root rot, and even insect infestations. Scales love plants that are stressed and unhealthy. In fact, an unhealthy Monstera that is overwatered is like an open invention for scales to come on over and party.
Thankfully, you can keep scale from infesting the plants by simply providing the correct amount of water. Monsteras grow best when the top one or two inches of soil is allowed to dry out a little between watering.
You should also make sure that your plant is grown in well-draining soil (you can see our tips for choosing the best soil for your Monstera here – or just see my preferred one below!)
Best soil for Monsteras
Specially designed soil for your Monstera. Light and well-draining, making it perfect for avoiding root rot, while being packed with just the right nutrients to keep your plant happy.
4. Control leaf litter and plant debris
Leaf litter and plant debris is like an open invitation for scale and other pests to come and enjoy the Monstera. This organic matter makes an ideal breeding and feeding environment for a wide array of sap-sucking pests. Thankfully, controlling leaf litter and plant debris is a relatively easy thing to do.
Whenever you see leaves, stems, or other debris lying on the soil around the Monstera, simply pick it up and dispose of it. This simple act will go a long way to keeping scale at bay.
5. Quarantine any new plants you bring into your home
It is not uncommon for scale, as well as other inspections and diseases, to hitch a ride into your home via new plants. After all, who really takes the time to thoroughly inspect a plant before they buy it? Because there is a potential to spread pests and diseases from one plant to the next, it is always best to quarantine any new plants you bring home.
Keep the plant in an area away from your current houseplants for a week or two. Take this time to thoroughly inspect the plant and treat for any problems as soon as you notice an issue. After the allotted time has passed, you can introduce the new plant to your old plants as long as no problems have come to light.