Why Are My Bonsai Leaves Sticky? Causes and Ways To Remove Stickiness

Bonsai has become the most popular kind of plant among tree lovers. Day by day, the popularity is increasing rapidly due to its aesthetic form and realistic view of nature. That shape, growth, and design in acute height are impressive. 

But unfortunately, Growing bonsai is challenging. During growing and maintaining bonsai, you may face lots of difficulties. For example, one common question most gardeners ask about bonsai is, why are my bonsai leaves sticky

Unfortunately, sticky leaves are a terrible sign for bonsai. It indicates bonsai is attacked by insects such as aphids, scales, etc. This type of insect lifts a sticky element on the leafage. As a result, your bonsai leaves become sticky. 

Yet insects are dangerous for bonsai; you can get rid of them by following some tricks. So, without further discussion, let’s start the article to say goodbye to those harmful insects.

Why Are My Bonsai Leaves Sticky

Why Do Insects Attack Bonsai?

Some species of plants indeed have a high chance of pest attacks. But any type of bonsai plant can get attacked by insects due to environmental issues.

When you place your bonsai tree outside the home, there is a high risk of pest attack. Besides this risk, you can enjoy intense benefits for growing bonsai outdoors.  So, it is better to check every day carefully to avoid pest attacks.

Generally, insects attack weak plants. So, try to keep your bonsai healthy and ensure its growth to avoid insect attacks. Moreover, pruning, repotting, and perfect watering also work as a protective barrier to bonsai to avoid sticky plant leaves.

Reasons Behind Bonsai Sticky Leaves

If your bonsai tree contains sticky leaves, that means it gets attacked by harmful insects. Only two harmful insects are culprits for bonsai sticky leaves. One is scales and the other is aphids. Both bring a threat to your bonsai. As a result, you can lose the leaves and branches of the tree due to those insects. It can even kill your plant. 

The most common reason behind bonsai sticky leaves is aphids. So, first, you should check for aphids in your bonsai. So let’s talk about aphids and how to identify them and remove them from your bonsai.

What Are Aphids?

Aphids are the most common insects that attack bonsai and make sticky plant leaves. So, you can say it is a threat for a new gardener. So, when you face bonsai sticky leaves the first probable reason you should guess is aphids attack. It is also known as plant lice.

Aphids are dangerous insects that look like green, grey, brown, yellow, or black. The shape of aphids is like a teardrop. It is a power bank of diseases and tries to transmit all of the diseases to bonsai.

What Do Aphids Do In Bonsai?

Aphids use their keen mouths to bind strictly with your bonsai tree. It is a sticky residue on plant leaves and injects so many diseases. Gradually it swallows the sap from the bonsai plant and throws up sticky droplets on the leafage and branch. That results in bonsai sticky leaves. You will frequently find Fukien tea bonsai sticky leaves because of these aphids.

The dodgiest things about this insect are difficult to find. It can hide within a second on the underside of the leaf. So, it is important to know how to find out aphids in your bonsai tree.

How To Find  Out Aphids In Bonsai?

A bonsai can hold so many aphids and ruin your favorite plant within a few days. That is why finding out aphids and applying remedies is essential. When your bonsai gets attacked by aphids, you will notice some symptoms on your plant. Such as

  • If any bonsai plants contain aphids, they will also contain ants. This is because the number of aphids simultaneously increases with the number of insects. So, if you notice insects and bonsai sticky leaves, it has a chance of aphids attack. It is because ants like the sticky droplets that leave the aphids. That droplet is also known as honeydew. 
  • Besides insects, these sticky droplets also tempt mold spots. As a result, your bonsai gets dark and greasy blemishes. So, it is another symptom of an aphid’s attack.
  • The branches will become weak or curl.
  • The Leaves will become sticky,  contain wrinkles, or turn yellow.
  • Flowers damage and  notice fungus on bonsai

How To Get Rid of Aphids On Bonsai Trees?

You already know what aphids are and how to identify aphids in bonsai, right? So after the identification of aphids, now it is time to get rid of aphids to protect your valuable plants from diseases. There are different techniques available to remove aphids. Among them, some best tricks are 

Technique – 1: Water

It is the easiest and best budget trick to remove aphids from bonsai. Follow the steps to treat your plant leaves that are getting sticky.

  • Place bonsai tree in the basin
  • Take a faucet sprayer
  • Now spray water on each and every branch of the plant
  • Balance the water pressure carefully to avoid breaking the sticky leaves
  • The gentle flow of water will take out the aphids from the leaves
  • But don’t throw it in soil because that will again attack your bonsai
  • So, it is better to take out the bonsai from the media and  apply this trick
  • Mix a few drops of vinegar with water to make the treatment more effective. The ratio of water and vinegar will be 2:1
  • Now take a wet cloth to wipe down the branches, and leaves
  • Repeat this process every week until you notice improvements or get rid of stickiness from the leaves

Technique – 2: Pest soap

If you fail in the water spray process, then you can try special insect soap on the tree. This type of soap is specially manufactured with effective ingredients such as soap salt. It helps to form a chemical mixture that can kill any type of harmful insects, including aphids, mealybugs, and more. You can directly use this soap on aphids to kill them. But you can only use it when the plants are wet.

The benefit of using insecticide soap is it does not emit any toxic residue on your expensive bonsai. It is better to apply the soap in a small area instead of applying it to the entire bonsai. Then let it work for 48 hours. 

If you find the soap has successfully cleaned the bonsai area, then you can apply it to the entire branch. But before that, throw water on your bonsai to make it prepared to use soap. You need to re-apply the soap after 7-10 days based on your soap type and brand.

If it is not aphids, then it has a high chance of scale. So, let’s talk about how to remove scales to avoid sticky plant leaves.

What Are Scales?

Scale is a tiny pest that consumes sap from the bonsai and leaves sticky droplets on the plant. That works as a barrier for the scale. As a result, you will face ficus plant sticky leaves. Your expensive ficus plant can destroy if you fail to find the insects at the right time. 

How To Find Scales?

You will find this insect on the bumps, leaves, branches, or trunk. It is smaller in shape and looks white, yellow, or brown. If your bonsai attacks by scales, then you will notice some common symptoms. For example

  • Unusual branch dropped
  • Leaves become yellow and  dry
  • Sticky bonsai leaf

How To Remove Scale From Bonsai?

There is no quick way to remove scale from bonsai. You need to manually remove every scale from the bonsai with hands or tweezers. It is too powerful that insecticide or any other chemical pest is not fruitful on scales. So, invest your time and dedication to kill scales one by one.

Final Words

Hopefully, we can cover all the essential information about sticky plant leaves. We also answer your questions, why are my bonsai leaves sticky?

No matter how healthy or good-looking your bonsai is, you should check every day to avoid sticky plant leaves. Proper care and regular maintenance help to avoid or reduce the chance of insects attack. Besides, if you can identify the insects at an initial stage, then treatment becomes effortless. So before drawing the curtain, an essential tip for the gardener, do not keep any gap in the maintenance of Bonsai.

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