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House Plants/Golden capella plant has orange spiders on it


Hello Will,
I bought a golden capella plant in the beginning of september and I repotted it in late september. There were three plants in one pot so I separated themso now there are two in one pot and one in another. the pots are about 30 cm or a bit more in diameter and about 30 cm high. the plants are around 60 cm tall from the soil now.

About two or three weeks ago, I noticed little spider webs showing up on my plants and didn't think too much about it, just dusted them off. Now the whole plant is basicly covered in these spider webs, and little orange/red spider mites are crawling everywhere on the plant. I am not sure if they are in the soil, I couldn't see anything in the soil just looking at it, but these spiders are gross and I can't even have this plant in my room. I live in a rorm and the plants are in the stair well right now.

If I am looking at the map right, the plants are facing the south, but the window is big so it gets the sun rising and the sun setting. the other side of the building gets no light. Oh the plants leaves started dying a bit, a few stems have fallen off. It is not too bad, but it is concerning. I also noticed that no new baby stems have grown out at all yet. This also makes me worry and wonder why. I have a plant like this at home with my parents, and that one is doing great.

I sure hope you can help me. Oh and being a college student, I don't have a lot of money to spend, so If there is some kind of home remedy that will help that would be great. Thank you so much.

Hi Debbie,

Your variegated Schefflera arboricola has a spider mite infestation, which I will explain how to treat below. However, you have a much bigger problem - new plants that never should have been separated or repotted are now in pots that are way too big. The oversized pots are filled with excess soil that acts like a large sponge and retains moisture for a long time causing root rot. That will kill your plants faster than the spider mites. The stress of the repotting also makes the plants more susceptible to pest infestations.

I suggest that you undo the repotting that you did and get the separated plants back together in a pot the same size they were grown in. Plants do best when they are kept potbound. Unnecessary repotting is the single most common cause of plant failure. The repotting explains the dropping of leaf stems and failure of new growth to thrive.

Treating spider mites is relatively easy. Mix a solution of water with a squirt of liquid dish soap in a sprayer. Then thoroughly spray all leaf and stem surfaces of your plants until they are dripping wet. The key to success is thoroughness of coverage. This is a bit messy, but it is worth it as one thorough treatment is sufficient to eradicate the mites. Once it has been treated, there is no reason to quarantine it.

The harder task will be nurturing the roots back to health. Once the plant is in the right sized pot, then water only when the top quarter of the soil is dry. Keep the plant within 4 feet of a south window or right in front of a north window.

I have written articles on repotting that I urge you to read and on Schefflera care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

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Will Creed


I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.


I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

BA, Amherst College

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