Getting tired of being bugged by the bug? (sorry!) Keep your houseplants in the best condition by following this guide on how to get rid of the common houseplant pests.
Collecting houseplants and making an indoor garden is one of the most popular hobbies this 2020. Aside from giving your home a bit of color and a fresh vibe, houseplants are also great for cleaning indoor air and increasing your productivity while working from home. Unfortunately, along with the endless list of benefits, being a #CrazyPlantLady and collecting houseplants has a major problem: pests. Yes, that’s right! Figuring out how to get rid of the common houseplant pests is extremely difficult and frustrating because it can affect the plants’ appearance, growth, and overall health.
Fortunately, there are ways to help you get rid of these common houseplant pests and to keep your greenery happy and healthy.
We are familiar with aphids. It’s the most common houseplant pests you will see on your houseplant, especially in succulents. If you’re a new plant parent, aphids are tiny plant insects with black, brown, red, soft green, or yellow bodies that usually linger on the underside of leaves, feeding on sap.
According to Daniel Scott, associate director for horticulture at the American Horticultural Society, aphids discharge a sugary secretion called honeydew due to their diet, which causes a black sooty mold that grows on the surface of your houseplant. The black sooty mold does not infect the plant tissue, but it can hinder photosynthesis because the light won’t be able to get into the leaves. As a result, distorted, discolored leaves and stunted plant growth.
To eliminate aphids, use a solution of water and a few drops of dishwashing detergent and gently spray and wipe infested leaves. You can also carefully place natural aphid predators, like lacewing or ladybugs. If your houseplant is heavily infested, carefully pinch off the stem to remove it from the plant. Avoid over-fertilizing and overwatering your houseplants to prevent them from attracting aphids.
Typically found on leaves, nodes, and plant stems. These small, wingless insects that look like cotton when grouped together are attracted to over-fertilization, especially with fertilizers high in nitrogen, and overwatering. They’re especially common in succulents. One of the signs that your houseplant is infested with mealybugs is the leaves tend to curl and turn slightly yellow. Stunted plant growth is also a common sign.
To get rid of mealybugs, dab them lightly with a cotton swab soaked in 70% isopropyl alcohol or spray with a dish-detergent and water solution. Horticultural oil, insecticidal soap, and neem oil are effective, too. One of the ways on how to get rid of the common houseplant pests is to avoid over-fertilizing and overwatering your houseplants to prevent them from attracting mealybugs. It’s best to follow a strategic fertilizer regimen.
If the leaves of your houseplant are turning yellow or wilted, then it could be the work of scale insects. Similar to aphids, they are small, sap-loving pests that are usually on the branches, leaves, and plant’s stems. Some scale insects have a hard shell, some have a softshell, but both types can threaten your houseplant’s energy and strength.
You can get rid of the pesky insects by using your hand or an old toothbrush. Gently rub off these pests or use a cotton swab dipped in 70% isopropyl alcohol. Horticultural oil and insecticidal oil are effective, too. When infestation is heavy, prune infested plant stems as soon as possible to avoid scale insects from occurring again.
Spider mites are super small, reddish houseplant pests that live on the bottom of leaves, where they feed on plant fluids. They also leave small dots behind with each feeding. They’re especially common in English Ivy. Similar to scale insects, they can cause plant leaves to dry up, fall off, and turn yellow.
The easiest and gentlest way to eliminate spider mites is to simply hose down with lukewarm water. You can use a sprayer on small plants. One of the solutions on how to get rid of the common houseplant pests is to avoid high temperatures and low humidity. It’s best to mist the leaves of your houseplant regularly with a spray bottle to increase the humidity.
Whiteflies are moth-like houseplant pests that usually collect in groups on the underside of your houseplant’s leaves, sucking on the sap. As a result, poor plant health, stunted growth, and yellowing leaves. Whiteflies are also unfortunately connected to the transmission of plant viruses.
Use yellow sticky traps to detect and control whitefly populations, but be careful because sticky traps will also capture beneficial insects. Scott says that one trap per room should be enough. Diluted Neem oil mixture, horticultural oil, or insecticidal soap are effective, as well.
Get the infestation under control by following our guide on how to get rid of the common houseplant pests. Grow your plant knowledge. Check out our Plant Care blog to learn more about different houseplants and tips on how to keep your plants alive and healthy.
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