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House Plants/large palm has sap


I have a very large palm tree about 13ft tall measures from the dirt up, 6ft spread.( I don't know what kind it is.) I've had it about 8 or more yrs. It seems to be dripping sap? the leaves are sticky, and everything around it gets sticky,their are shiny spots on it,plus little brown spots,some of the fronds are dried out on the tips I have tired washing with soap and water,a insecticide (indoor pharm with rosemary oil)( says it treats fungus gnats scales & more)ready to use spray,and Hi-Yield systemic insect granules.HOW CAN I SAVE THIS PLANT!!I have 20 other house plants,or more if you count the pots that have more than one kind of plant in them,that I need to keep healthy!how do I get rid of the sap?It is still growing.
 thanks I'll try anything to save this beautiful plant

Hi Patty,

It is very important to know just what kind of Palm you have. There are dozens of different Palm species and many other non-Palms that people think are Palms. All of these different plants have very different care requirements.

The stickiness is called honeydew and it is secreted by scale insects - the brown bumps attached to the leaves. It is not sap. Scale is very difficult to treat successfully on large plants. Systemic pesticides applied as soil drenches are absorbed by the roots, but gradually lose their effectiveness with plants taller than 6 feet.

To successfully treat scale, you have to thoroughly spray drench all leaf and stem surfaces until they are dripping wet. You must make direct contact will all of the scales, including the ones that are virtually invisible to the naked eye. To spray properly is a very messy process and best done outside, although that may be impossible with a plant that size. What you use to spray is less important than being thorough.

If you fail to get complete coverage, then a few scale insect will survive, reproduce and the infestation will return again in a few months. Keeping the plant healthy by providing proper light and water will help maintain its natural resistance to pest infestations and disease.

I have written detailed articles on indoor plant pests and on Palm care 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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