Want to learn more about Plant Symptoms - Silvery Parts (Thrips)
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WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN
Silvery parts can appear on your plant as a result of being infested with small bugs called thrips.
Thrips feed on leaf tissue - particularly young, soft tissue - using their mouthparts to consume the contents of your plant's cells. Similar to how mosquitoes suck up blood, thrips feed beneath the surface of the plant, injecting enzymes that then break down the plant into a thick liquid that they then eat.
This process causes the affected area to flatten and turn a silvery-white color, as the green chlorophyll pigment in the leaves has been removed. The damaged leaf tissue may then start to turn brown as it dries out and becomes further damaged. If the thrips have had time to eat a leaf for a while you can usually also see small black dots scattered on the silvery patches.
If your plant becomes infected with thrips, you need to act fast! These little insects multiply quickly and can do major damage to your houseplant.
SYMPTOMS OF THRIPS
The first sign of thrips that you will usually notice is that your plant’s leaves will start to look a bit dull and unhealthy. You will often see:
Silvery or bronze discoloration
Black specks - thrip poo!
Part of the leaves die
Deformed new growth
Be sure to check both the surface and the undersides of your plant's leaves for signs of pests - note that thrips can also appear on stems and leaf veins, and that damage on the stems may look different to leaf tissue damage (i.e. it may show brown marks instead of silvery discoloration). Also check on any buds, leaf junctions or bends in the plant. These hidden areas that are often protected from rain or wind are prime locations for pests to hide!
Thrips are very small, so it may be difficult to tell at first if you have an infestation. Silvery parts are a telltale sign, but if you want to be extra sure then you may need a magnifying glass to take a closer look at what's going on with your plant.
These insects are typically brown or yellowish in color (although this can vary), and are a long oval shape - a little bit like a tiny grain of rice!
Note that it's unusual for thrips to cause leaf drop, so if your plant is losing its leaves, this is likely due to secondary factors.