China Doll Plant: Mealybug Alert!

Posted by Jordan | Friday, December 05, 2008 | , , | 5 comments »

(The first sign of mealybugs on November 14th. The small mealybug pests are bright write, small, and hard to get in focus with my digital camera.)

The China Doll Plant or Radermachia sinica that I had purchased for $1.25 in the middle of September to grow at my office (read about it here as well as in a later post) has unfortunately become the breeding ground for what appears to be mealybugs. This is the first work plant to be killed off by a pest.

I had noticed that the plant had a few mealybugs on it a few weeks ago and decided that the plant was a lost cause so I placed it in a different room to be quarantined so that I could eventually throw it into the trash. However, I got busy with work, then Thanksgiving came along, so yesterday I remembered that I needed to throw the plant away.

(December 5th: The mealybugs are now larger and covered with a hard outer shell. Click on the photo for a larger, more detailed view.)

In the meantime, at our work we have a cleaning lady that comes once a week who also seems to like plants but she does not speak that much English so I cannot really talk about plants with her. Anyway, the other day I noticed her leaving the room where the China Doll plant was left to die, as well another small empty office near that which also has a few of my plants, and what she had an empty bottle in her hand. What could she have been doing with that, I thought to myself. Sure enough, I went and checked on the plants when she left and noticed that she had watered all of them, even though I had just watered most of them the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and then the others on Monday. If I had not noticed that she had watered them again that day, I would have over-watered them since it was not in my normal watering schedule and they were still wet about a quarter-of-an-inch down.

All of my other plants which are not infested with mealybugs or other pests are doing great and do not need to be over-watered. From now on I will try to make sure all of the watering of my plants is done by me!

Regardless, I did not want to take the time to try to nurse the China Doll plant back to full health so it has been discarded. Additionally, the plant which was growing next to it for several weeks, the Chrysalidocarpus lutescens (Areca Palm) was not doing the best either and was thrown away.


  1. joey // December 5, 2008 at 8:21 PM  

    Did you ever try a Q-tip and alcohol? Worked wonders for me for years (just buy a gallon of alcohol and a gross of Q-tips, which should last through the century ;)

  2. Jordan // December 6, 2008 at 1:41 PM  

    Hi Joey,

    I had heard about that method of pest removal before, but the plant's condition already appeared to be bad enough that I didn't think the Q-tip and alcohol method would succeed. I have enough other plants to take care of and that plant was only $1.25, so I thought I would just throw it away and be done with it!

    Your suggesting to buy a gallon of alcohol and a bunch of Q-tips is a great idea though!

  3. Anonymous // December 10, 2008 at 1:44 PM  

    Wondering if anyone has tried the Aqua Globes from Harriet Carter?

  4. benette // November 2, 2013 at 12:04 PM  

    my beautiful either came with mealybugs or acquired them. I tried q tips and alcohol and also frequent showing, but to no avail. I put it outside during this summer and it's worse. I guess there are no predators that want to eat mealybugs.
    It has now been banished. I'll leave it outside this winter and see what happens.

  5. rassler // November 4, 2017 at 10:18 PM  

    I just take it outside and spray them off but I do have to say those little white fluffs of annoyance do come back quickly.