I realize it's been over 2 months since you posted your question so I hope you've gotten help by now.* If not, it sounds like your plant could have mealy bugs.* The adult stage looks like tiny tufts of cotton.* The sticky stuff you describe is their honeydew aka waste.* You can use a horticultural oil sprayed every 5 to 10 days until they are gone.* I recommend an organic spray made from sesame seeds called Organocide.* There is another made from petroleum called Organicide.* Notice the organic one has and 'o' after the 'organ'.
When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.