How to Deal with Common Indoor Plant Pests
Indoor plant pests and infections can attack your houseplants at anytime, swapping the magnificence of fresh developing leaves with yellowing ones and turning your greens to nasty browns.
While an infestation of bugs and fungus can make short work of your houseplant collection, don’t panic!
When you have a valuable collection of houseplants, you must be ready for anything that may strike them, and by "anything", we mean indoor plant pests.
Let's check out some of the most common pests that can wreak havoc to your indoor plants and find out ways to control them!
Mealybugs are tiny, parasitic indoor plant pests that resemble small balls of fluff. They flock underneath the leaves and the stems of plants in large numbers. Mealybugs feed on your plants' sap, restricting growth.
Drench a cotton bud in methylated spirit and dab it on the bugs to dehydrate their defensive covering. It kills them instantly.
Prepare a spray bottle of 50/50 methylated spirit mixed with water and spray it to all plant foliage to prevent serious infections.
Spider mites are hardly visible to the naked eye but you can see them if there's large clusters of them. They enjoy plants with soft leaves and feed on their sap. Their dreadful invasions often leave a significant "webbing" on the leaves. Mite attacks cause yellowing, discoloration and the falling off of the plant’s leaves.
Spider mites adore dry air and despise moisture. Watering your plant will damage mites and their eggs, stunting further breeding.
Use a watering can or hose to spray your plants. Repeat it weekly to break down the breeding cycle.
Mix horticultural oil with water and spray in every nook and cranny of your houseplant. It will suffocate the scale in the husk. Before spraying, test the solution on a leaf, as certain plants respond terribly to oil.
Fungus gnats are little, infuriating flying creatures hovering around the soil potting mix. They are not a significant threat to your plants, but of course, you don’t want them.
Unlike spider mites, fungus gnats love moisture and can’t survive without it. Dry the soil mix out and disrupt their cycle. Or you can use 1 part hydrogen peroxide in 4 parts of water to execute this indoor plant pest and their eggs.
Sticky traps or some carnivorous plants can trap and kill flying gnats. One flying adult can lay around 200 eggs, so trapping can help slow their growth. Sticky traps are available at any nursery or hardware store, and you can buy them at a reasonable cost. Alternatively, you can have sundews (Drosera sp.) in your home. These are the type of carnivorous plants with sticky leaves which can trap tiny pests like fungus gnats.
This is the best option for catching adult fungus gnats and stopping them from laying more eggs:
Using a pest spray is also highly effective. Just be careful not to overdo it when you spray and to keep away from pets and children.
Aphids are small, soft-bodied bugs that suck on the stem and plant leaves, eventually killing them. These indoor plant pests are unbelievably tenacious and replicate fast, and they are hard to eradicate once your plant gets them.
- Rinse your plant carefully with a sprinkler, shower or hose to eliminate the mature aphids.
- Spray frequently with a pesticide or neem oil.
- Sprinkle systemic granules in the pot to execute remaining aphids and deter their reoccurrence for almost two months.
- To ensure the plant's safety, keep spraying and inspecting it for two weeks.
Whiteflies are tiny, white-coloured flying insects. These indoor plant pests can deteriorate your plants if their invasion is enormous. You can find them on the base of your plants.
- Trap whiteflies with “yellow sticky traps” to decrease their numbers.
- Use the neem oil spray for the eggs and larvae of whiteflies.
- Spray repeatedly to interrupt the whitefly growth cycle to control these indoor plant pests.
- Trim severely infectious leaves off to prevent further spread.
Prevent Indoor Plant Pests
Prevention can eradicate any indoor plant pests from your household.
- Before buying, check for signs of bugs or pests like webbing, minuscule flies, rare spots or brown bumps on the plant.
- If you notice sticky materials on stems, that may be aphids or mealybugs.
- Healthy plants are less susceptible to pests if given proper care.
- Use commercial potting mix or mix your own potting soil instead taking soil from the garden to prevent pests.