How to recognize a scab and get rid of it

I could start this post by saying, “Look how many pots I have!”, but the occasion is sad – a scab. If I hadn’t had the “pleasure” of dealing with this parasite before, I never would have recognized it as an enemy.

I won’t get my hopes up: it’s very difficult to get it out, and with some plants it’s easier to part with immediately than to nurture hope.

What does the scab look like

At first you may not even think that something has settled: the small mites, protected by a waxy layer, look more like sores – as if the plant has scratched against something. It starts with just a couple of spots and does not arouse suspicion. In addition, scales prefer to live at the base of leaves – in Hawortias, for example, these are very hard-to-reach places.

What the scab looks like

Over time, more noticeable signs of infestation appear. First, the number of “spots” on the leaves and stems increases – this is understandable, because the mites multiply. Secondly, the plant becomes sticky due to the secretion secreted by the scale. Because of this, the fungus can also get on the flower. However, this is already a problem.

It’s easy to check whether it’s a scab or not. Try picking a suspicious spot with your fingernail (yes, nasty). The sore will not pick it, it is dry. But a scab is easy.

Measures to Combat

It is difficult to remove the scab: it is tightly sucked to the leaves, and protects it with a waxy plaque (this is in addition to chitin), so spraying preparations gives dubious results.

Folk remedies against the scab

The main recommendation is mechanical cleaning. It is customary to wash the plant with a solution of laundry soap, tearing off the scab from the stem and leaves in the process (especially a lot of it on the underside). But I already tried to save a lemon this way in the 9th grade, and I can’t say about the positive result. I was tortured to wash, and ended up parting with both the lemon and the neighboring plants.

Another tip is to wipe with gauze soaked in vodka or alcohol, again, pulling the scab off the plant, and change the top layer of soil. But this is not suitable for fluffy and thin leaves – violets, pelargoniums and the like only throw them away immediately. Also, alcohol can damage the leaves, so it is better to test on a small area first.

Preparations for the scab

The first remedies are Aktara and Actellic. But I categorically do not recommend using them at home, especially if you have children or pets. Often, preparations against ticks are toxic and should only be used outdoors, which, by the way, is problematic for an apartment dweller.

I’m not just saying that because it says so on the package, but I was smart enough to use it once in the bathroom, when I was poisoning mites on cacti. The smell was all over the apartment, and I was dizzy. It takes several treatments to get rid of parasites, but I didn’t want to do it again.

Alternatively, you could try Bancol or Mospilan. The first has a relatively faint odor. The second is good because it is absorbed by the plant and therefore works even on untreated parts. In any case, take precautions so as not to poison yourself inadvertently.

When treating with acaricides (that’s the name of chemicals against mites), don’t forget window sills and frames, where the “enemy” can sit back and strike next.

It is important at the slightest suspicion of a mite to isolate the plant from the rest, otherwise the mite will spread before you get rid of it.

Well, this time I threw out all the suspicious plants, so as not to throw away more in the end. I cleaned the windowsills, the table, what I could wipe with alcohol. I very much hope that there is no threat left.


As a rule, the scab comes into the house with purchased flowers or cuttings taken from acquaintances. Therefore, it is better to put new plants for a week or two in quarantine – away from the other flowers, to observe whether they are okay, whether something appears on the leaves or insects on the ground.