House Plants/Systemic?


I was just reading the answer to scale on Spider Plants and you had some great suggestions.  Years ago I used a systemic that went into the soil and treated the pests from the roots.  Is this still a good alternative? I have them on two large spiders with lots of babies.
Trying to salvage what I can.  Thanks

Hi Barbara,

I have posted thousands of answers here so I am not sure just what you read. A spray solution of 5 parts water, 1 part rubbing alcohol and a squirt of liquid soap applied very liberally on all leaf and stem surfaces is the preferred first option. The second option would be to use Brand X foliage cleaner available at, also applied liberally.

Systemics are pesticides that are potentially hazardous to use and to the environment. They are applied to the soil where the roots absorb the toxins and spread them throughout the vascular system of the plant. When sucking insects such as scale, mealybugs, spider mites and aphids suck the sap from plants treated with systemic pesticides, these pests poison themselves. Systemics are not recommended for use where pets or toddlers may unwittingly chew on plant leaves. The best systemic pesticide for treating scale insects and mealybug is imidacloprid, sold under the brand name Merit. It can also be applied as a foliar spray. It is not available in all states and it is expensive.

I have written articles on treating plant pests that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at I have also written an indoor plant care book in a PDF format that I can sell you if you contact me at my email address.

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.

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