While most monstera plants are fairly easygoing and simple to care for, they are still susceptible to infestations from certain household pests! One possible invader is scale, a type of insect that can attach to your monstera and suck the juices out of the leaves and stems. If left untreated, a severe scale infestation can eventually kill your monstera!

In this article, we’ll show you how to recognize and treat scale on monstera plants so you can bring your plant back to full health.

How Do I Identify Scale on Monstera?

Most species of scale are soft insects with a hard outer shell (with the exception of mealybugs, which have soft bodies and no shell). Scale attaches to the leaves, stems, and trunks of plants and sucks the sap out of the plant while hiding under the protection of the shell. This can make them a little tricky to remove, but not impossible!

What Do Scale Insects Look Like?

Most scale insects look like small brown bumps stuck to your plant, but they can also be brown, cream-colored, or black. Most scales are about 1/8 of an inch in diameter and may be round or oval in shape.

Basically, if you notice some weird bumps on your plant that you can pry off with your fingernails fairly easily, you might have scale.

Where Do Scale Live on Monstera Leaves?

Scale can attach to the tops or undersides of monstera leaves, as well as the stems. When you water your monstera plant, we suggest that you give your plant a once-over to check for signs of insect infestations or other health problems. Just take a look at the stems and the tops and bottoms of the leaves.

What Damage Will Scale Insects Do if Left Untreated?

Scale harm your monstera by sucking the sap out of the leaves and stems, which can cause leaves to yellow, wilt, and die, and eventually kill off the entire plant. 

Can Monstera Recover From Scale?

If you catch the infestation early and treat it, your plant can make a full recovery, even if you lose a few leaves. Once the plant recovers, it should start to grow new leaves and look good as new with time!

How to Get Rid of Scale on Monstera

Since scale attach so firmly to plant leaves and stems, they can be a bit of a challenge to remove. Getting them all can be time-consuming, but it’s worth it to save your monstera!

Getting Rid of Scale on Indoor Plants

Scale cannot be removed by rinsing or spraying off the plant. Instead, these insects must be removed manually, either by prying them off or by getting them to detach on their own.

You can remove a lot of the scale with your fingernails or a soft brush, but keep in mind that some insects might be stubborn and need a bit of extra force. Also, take care not to pick or brush off the scale and accidentally drop them into the soil or on another part of the plant. They’ll just reattach or possibly even lay eggs, and you’ll be in the same situation all over again!

You can rinse the plant after picking off the scale to help remove any stragglers you might have dropped, but make sure to tip the plant on its side so you don’t simply wash the scale into the soil or over-soak the potting mix.

Remove All Visible Traces of Scale With a Cotton Swab

One way to get the scale to detach is to dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and then rub the swab over the scale. This should help remove some of the more clingy insects, but try not to get too much alcohol directly on the plant. 

Prune Out Leaves and Stems With Larger Infestations

If scales have completely taken over some of your monstera’s leaves or branches, it might be easier to simply prune those parts right off. 

Sterilize some sharp pruning shears with soap and hot water or rubbing alcohol, and carefully snip off the overrun leaves or stem, taking care to not knock any scale into the soil or onto another part of the plant.

Use Insecticide or Rubbing Alcohol to Kill Scale

If you can’t get all the scale off and the infestation is severe, or if the scale keeps returning, you might want to use an insecticide or rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab to remove them. 

If you’re using an insecticide, follow the instructions on the bottle, of course, but this will most likely involve spraying down the whole plant and wiping off the leaves to remove excess soap. You might want to wrap the pot and soil in plastic to prevent soaking the soil or getting a bunch of insecticide into the potting mix. 

Tip: Insecticide can make plants more photosensitive and vulnerable to leaf scorch, so apply in the evening. You might also want to move the plant away from the window for a day or so.

Insecticide is especially effective for recurring infestations because it helps to remove eggs as well as actual scale insects. 

How Do You Prevent Scale Naturally?

Scale is a pain to treat, and it can take time for your monstera to recover from an infestation, even if you catch and treat it early. Natural prevention is definitely the way to go!

Introduce Ladybugs

One natural (and fun!) way to prevent insect problems is to introduce natural predators, such as ladybugs, to your plant. 

This isn’t always a popular option for indoor plants, but it can be fun to have ladybugs around (especially if you have kids!), and they are very effective at preventing pests. If your monstera lives in a room like a sunroom or covered porch with other plants where helpful insects won’t be a nuisance, this might be a great solution!

You can easily order ladybugs online and simply release them into your monstera’s soil. They’ll take care of themselves, and your pest problems may vanish!

Homemade Insecticide

If you don’t want to use a commercial insecticide, a simple mixture of detergent-free soap and water can be very effective!

Just mix a teaspoon of mild, detergent-free dish soap into 4 cups of water in a spray bottle, and spray down your monstera. Wipe off the excess for clean, shiny, insect-free leaves!

Vinegar spray can also be effective and is easy to make. Mix a cup of plain white vinegar with 3 cups of water and add a few drops of mild dish soap. Spray and wipe your plant as usual!

It’s also not a bad idea to spray down all your plants if one of them gets an insect infestation, or at least the plants right next to the infected plant. This can prevent insects from spreading from plant to plant and laying eggs!

Apply Neem Oil

Neem oil is another classic, very effective treatment for insect infestations. To get rid of or even prevent a scale takeover, follow the dilution directions on the bottle and spray down your plant as you would with an insecticide, then wipe off the excess with a soft cloth. 


Tip: Neem oil smells kind of funky, so it’s best to do this outside if possible. It’s also a good idea to use an old cloth that you don’t care about! Another option is to use our Leaf Armor Spray

Quarantine New Plants

Another important but often overlooked element of pest prevention is keeping new plants away from your other plants until any latent infestations manifest so you can deal with them. When you bring home a new plant, try to keep it away from other plants for a week or two and keep a close eye on it. If you notice any insect issues, treat them right away, and make sure the problem is solved before you place the plant near your other plants. 

Inspect the plant before bringing it home (like if you’re buying it at a nursery instead of online), check for signs of insects like bumps, webbing, or sticky residue. When you notice these signs, reconsider your purchase!

Fight for Your Monstera!

Fighting off insects is just part of plant ownership, and you might have to go to war from time to time. But if you’re attentive to your monstera plant and treat issues as soon as you notice them, you should have no trouble eliminating scale and other pests before they do any lasting harm to your plant.