Not only do indoor plants enhance the overall appearance of a space, but they’ve been shown to boost moods, increase creativity, reduce stress, and eliminate air pollutants — making for a healthier, happier you. It’s not that difficult to keep houseplants happy, but you do need to pay attention to their basic needs and take care of any pest problems right away.
One of the biggest frustrations an indoor gardener can face is finding bugs on a beloved houseplant. These pests are tiny bugs or mites that feed on the leaves, stems or roots of your indoor plants. Some crawl on plant leaves or in the soil and some can fly. Others can simply appear more like a fungus or disease.
Infestations of these pests are often worse with your indoor plants, as the outdoors is full of natural pest predators. Ensure that you’re watering your houseplants properly. The soil should never be soggy. Wet soil is not only bad for houseplants, it’s a breeding ground for pests like fungus gnats.
These pesky creatures seem to appear from nowhere, but here are some of the common sources of them finding their way to your indoor plants:
- bags of potting soil
- new plants
- open windows and doors
- a plant that was outside
- fresh flowers or produce
It’s always best to correctly identify the pest you are dealing with before you begin treating your plant. If you’re unsure, make sure to chat to someone on our team. We’re here to help. Start treatment quickly to help prevent the possible spread of pests to other indoor plants.
Step one is to isolate the infected plant/s to prevent spreading infestation. Then, wash the infested plant with mild soapy water. Soap often kills houseplant bugs on contact. Spot-test a couple of leaves first before washing all the leaves. Strong detergents can harm sensitive plants.
Next, make sure to wash the pot and plant tray with soapy water too. Houseplant pests can easily hid under the rim of the pot or tray, or even on the bottoms of them. Soak some cotton-wool in rubbing alcohol and dab it on the bugs to kill and remove them from your plant. Then treat the plant with neem oil for long-term indoor plant pest control and prevention. Neem oil is a natural insecticide for indoor plants that works to kill and repel bugs.
Certain types of houseplant pests, like fungus gnats can be found in the potting soil of your indoor plant, so check your soil too. If infected, try removing the top few centimetres of soil and throw it out, replacing it with fresh potting soil. (Make sure to store unused potting soil in an air-tight container.) You can then drench the soil with very mild soapy water or try a neem oil solution. It may take several treatments to eliminate the bugs completely, so keep checking on your plant.
Here’s a list of some of the more common pests which may be found on indoor plants: