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Hello!  I have two problems I would like to ask about.  

1) My boyfriend has a Schefflera arboricola that is sickly and sappy. It DOES NOT have scales. I have dealt with scales many times and have hand-picked thousands of them off of plants in my day.  I cannot see any visible type of pest and his other plants are healthy.  The sap does not appear to be dripping off of the plant, it is clear and sticky on the plant.  What could this be besides scales?

2) I took a cutting of what I believe is a Mexican Love Vine or Senecio confusus.  It has rooted and is getting new leaves.  However, the new leaves are stunted, mishapen and have little, transparent spots all over them.  Any idea what this could be?  Thank you in advance!

Hi Sadie,

Arboricola flowers can produce sticky residue, but you didn't mention any flowers. They don't look like conventional flowers, so perhaps you do not recognize them.

Mealybugs also produce honeydew, but you didn't mention seeing mealybugs.

Scale insects in their juvenile form are very small and translucent and may not be what you have seen in the past.

Assuming, none of the above, then what you are seeing is probably sap secretions that Arboricolas sometimes produce, especially in strong light. These secretions are not a concern and there is no reason to remove them.

When new leaf growth on Senecios is deformed or discolored, it is usually indicative of a root problem. Most often it is a result of inadvertently keeping the soil too moist, especially if the cuttings are not in very small pots. Root systems of new cuttings are very fragile and do not tolerate any watering lapses at all.

I have written an article on Schefflera care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who sends 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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