Houseplants are a great way to bring a bit of garden inside your home – especially in winter.
Unfortunately, irritating insects can take up residence in your houseplants.
Thankfully, there are a few different treatments that will help to control damaging bugs from bothering your houseplants.
First, let us discuss some of the most common houseplant pests:
1. Fungus gnats – tiny brown gnats that fly around the base of your houseplants. They feed upon the decaying matter and lay their eggs on the soil surface. While they don’t harm the plant themselves; they are annoying.
2. Mealy bugs – small, fuzzy, white bugs that attach themselves to the underside of leaves. They feed upon the roots of your plant.
3. White flies – these small flies are sucking insects and congregate underside of leaves. They spread easily to other plants.
4. Aphids – sucking insects that tend to attach themselves to new growth.
5. Spider mites – difficult to see, these tiny mites are found on the underside of leaves. Sometimes you can see their tiny webs. To determine if you have them, hold a piece of white paper underneath a leaf and then lightly shake the leaf. Spider mites will appear as tiny brown dots on the paper.
If you one or more of these pests bothering your houseplants, there are three different solutions to try.
Insecticidal Soap – Spray on the top AND underside of leaves. Insecticidal soap breaks down the covering of the insect and results in their death. Use for mealy bugs, white flies, aphids and spider mites. Apply every 3 days for 3 weeks to completely get rid of the insects and their newly hatched eggs. Do not apply when temperatures are above 90 degrees, to avoid leaf burning.
Neem Oil – Made from the neem plant, this is a very safe treatment for insects and doesn’t harm good bugs. Neem oil works in a very interesting way – it makes bugs ‘forget’ to eat and lay eggs or often, simply suffocates them. Use for mealy bugs, white flies, aphids and spider mites (if it contains a miticide); following package directions. Avoid using when temperatures are 90 degrees and over.
Yellow Sticky Traps - Bugs are attracted to the yellow color of these traps and become stuck when they land on them. You can make your own yellow sticky traps by coloring index cards yellow, taping a popsicle stick or plastic knife to the back and then covering the yellow card with Vaseline. Stick the trap in the soil next to your houseplant and see the bugs get trapped. This works for flying insects such as fungus gnats, white flies and thrips. **This works great for white flies out in your garden too!
How about you? What do you use to get rid of your houseplant pests?