Gardena - infested?

A potted gardena has white sticky stuff on it.
It has the right light and water.
This plant was very healthy and even had blooms.
I took it outside when this stuff first showed up and washed it off, but the ? has come back.
I'd prefer not to use heavy-duty pesticide if there is a more benign alternative.
Suggestions?
Dark Energy
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"Dark Energy" wrote in message

This sounds like it could be mealybugs (or soft scale). Years ago, I got rid of mealybugs by dipping a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and touching it to the individual bugs and the cottony residue they left. There are also systemic controls for outdoor plants. A garden store could tell you about controls for indoor plants. (Take an infected leaf with you for identification purposes -- *in a plastic bag* to avoid spreading the problem.)
MaryL
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Dark Energy wrote:

I lost one potted gardenia to scale. The cure was use of a systemic. I leave my gardenias outside in warm weather and use systemic outside. Spider mites were other problem but they respond well to water spray. Normal insecticides would not touch the scale and spider mite problems I had with my gardenias.
BTW,in last several years, I have been able to clone gardenias by rooting under humid conditions in the hottest part of the year. I gift family and friends with gardenias.
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<Dark Energy> wrote in message

Sounds like it might be mealy bug. I've had a potted gardenia tree for about 7 years now. The first year, no problem, second year BIG problems. It had infestations of mealy bug and scale and spider mite. I tried every 'kinder, gentler' course of action suggested by every source I could find and was still loosing the war against infestation. This tree was a gift from my son so I really didn't want to pitch it. I finally resorted to Systemic Houseplant Insect Control (NAYY). Now, once a year, just as the weather turns and I put it outside on my balcony for the summer I use this pesticide (only on the gardenia). I really hate the idea of using chemicals, I came to the realization that it was that or the tree. I chose the tree. I rationalized this use to myself since it wasn't in the ground and the hummingbirds weren't feeding from it and it's the only plant I have requiring this action. When I bring it back in the house at the first signs of fall I put it in the bathtub, spray it down good with soapy water and then give it a good rinse with the hand shower. Seems to work.
Val
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