Get Rid of Pests on Houseplants: Methods You Should Know

Whether you are a plant parent to a fiddle leaf fig tree, pamper African violets, or have many exotic tropical houseplants placed all around your home, in order to keep your particular houseplants happy and healthy, you have to know how to take care of it properly. Regular and effective TLC will do the trick and you can have a harmonious life with your plant baby. However, even if you give the houseplants all of your attention, it can still be infested by different pests like mites and insects from time to time.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF YOU DON’T ERADICATE PEST INFESTATION?

It is true that few bugs won’t be able to cause major damages to the houseplant. However, if you leave the infestation untreated, then they will multiply and convert your pride into an ugly mess.

If you are dealing with pest infestation, then you will notice that the color and/or texture of your leaves have changed. The leaves can also look pinched or cupped. They might also look misshapen and distorted. There will be WHITE SPOT ON PLANTS. It can also be yellowed or speckled. The area where the leaves are attached to the stem and/or the underside of the leaves will have spot webbing draped along it.

Pests can even kill your houseplants if they are not removed timely.

But don’t panic. Fortunately, with few simple techniques (and a whole lot of patience) you can eliminate common houseplant pests for good. Next, information about some common pests found on houseplants has been mentioned for easy detection. Methods to get rid of them have been mentioned as well. So, read on to know more.

WHAT PESTS WILL INVADE INDOOR PLANTS?

1. APHIDS

Young houseplants are usually attacked by sap-sucking pests like Aphids appearing as clusters. An Aphid can appear like a WHITE SPOT ON PLANTS. The life cycle of this soft-bodied pest is usually 2-3 weeks long. Thus, the population can increase rapidly.

As they affected new flower buds and growth of a plant, you might be left with a deformed flowers/leaves, stunned growth, and yellow leaves/bud drop. They are known for producing sticky honeydew which leads to unwanted black coating on the leaves because of sooty mold fungi growth. They can eventually kill the plant if not removed.

SOLUTION:

Spraying or wiping the leaves of the houseplant with a mild solution of standard dish soap and water will help you to control Aphids infestation. For 2 weeks you have to reapply the soapy water every 2-3 days. You can also add Neem oil or standard horticultural oils as well as they are also affective against them.

PLANTS AFFECTED:

Young houseplants can be infested by this kind of pest. Usually, herbaceous perennials, container plants, and perennial bedding plants deal with it.

 

2. MEALYBUGS

The name was dubbed to these fluffy insects because they have a powdery material covering their bodies that are white in color. They have a waxy coating and are the size of a dill seed. This is the reason why these slow-moving pests appear as WHITE SPOT ON PLANTS.

Mealybugs (related to scale insects) can bring havoc by sucking the host plant’s juice. They are also known for attacking new growth. If you do not eliminate this problem, then you will be left with yellowish leaves that eventually drop from the plant. Vegetables, fruits, and flower buds can prematurely drop off as well. The honeydew (waxy excretions) promotes growth of sooty mold fungus.

SOLUTION:

If you have rubbing alcohol, then getting rid of Mealybugs will become easier. Dip cotton swabs in rubbing alcohol (or vegetable oil) and dab on the areas of infestation. For study, larger plants, you have to wash the leaves with dish soap and water solution. Neem oil and insecticidal soap is a must if you are dealing with a heavy infestation.

PLANTS AFFECTED:

Poinsettias, Coleus, Gardenia, Jade, and Hoya are particularly susceptible to this kind of pest.

 

3. SPIDER MITES

Usually on houseplants you will notice white spider like insects known as Spider Mites which also come in red, tan, or black colors. They look like dark specks on leaves. They are known for forming telltale spider webs on the plants. They thrive in dry, warm conditions and can become a menace during the winter months.

Within a very short time, Spider mites can bring major damages to the infected houseplant. They also suck the sap making the leaves look curled under, discolored, shriveled up or dried, or speckled. If not controlled, they can kill the houseplants within days in some cases.

SOLUTION:

You need to get rid of them as soon as possible. So, start by cleaning the plant and the area around it. Make sure to pay attention to the underside of leaves as they start the webs underneath the curling edges of leaves. Routinely spray Neem oil or insecticidal soap on the plants. You can also increase the humidity of the room to limit their build-up.

PLANTS AFFECTED:

Some favorite houseplants of Spider mites are Scheffleras, Ivies, Figs, Dracaenas, and Hibiscus.

 

4. SCALE INSECT

It is quite hard to spot this kind of pest on houseplants as they appear like a weird growth more than an insect. This is mainly because they don’t move around that much and appear as brown bumps or dots. They can be tan or white colored as well and look like WHITE SPOT ON PLANTS.

The damages done by this particular pest look like pock marks. They start by turning the leaves of the plant to brownish or yellowish color. This happens as they suck the sap from the affected houseplant’s stem and leaves. If you do not manage the infestation, the plant will die on you eventually.

SOLUTION:

This one cannot be dealt with a simple soap and water mixture. The adults are known for having waxy hard shells that can effectively fight off insecticidal soap too. Start with removing damaged and dead stems and branches first. Use a blade or brush to scrape off the adult scales, insects and eggs. Do smash them to avoid re-contamination. Once you have done this, use a strong insecticidal soap or Neem oil to get rid of the serious infestation and rubbing alcohol or vegetable oil for mild infestation.

PLANTS AFFECTED:

These insects love to breed on houseplants like Figs, Ivy, and Citrus trees.

 

5. RED SPIDER

These oval-bodied mites can be found underside of the houseplant’s leaves. They appear as tiny moving red/yellow/green/brown dots. In some cases, they appear as WHITE SPOT ON PLANTS as well. They are quite small making them hard to spot. Severe infestation will lead to webbing formed under the leaves.

A few red spiders are not that damaging. However, they are known for multiplying quickly and a huge number of these mites can cause major damages. The leaves will turn yellowish to brownish and then drop off as they suck plant tissue. They chew the leaves as well, covering them with brown holes and spots.

SOLUTION:

We all have vinegar lying around the house. This acidic substance can help you to get rid of red spiders infestation. Spray a mixture of 1 liter of water with ¼ cup of vinegar, 1 tablespoon of baking soda, and just a few drops of standard dish soap on the affected area. You can also add few drops of rosemary oil in this mixture as they act as a natural insecticide against them.

PLANTS AFFECTED:

Primrose, Jasmine, Gardenia, Umbrella tree, Madagascar palm, and Parlor palm are prone to Red spiders.

 

6. THRIPS

These slender and tiny black colored bugs can get indoors and feed off your houseplants. It is difficult to handle them as they can both crawl and fly, and multiply swiftly. They can be found on the underside of the leaves as well. They can also be greenish-yellow, white, brown, or transparent (only in case of nymphs).

The damage starts by changing the leaves color to faded almost pale gray or white which will be splotchy. They eventually will turn brown and drop off. You will also notice brown stripes on the leaves. The flower buds will be affected and might be malformed. Production will be less and/or deformed.

SOLUTION:

Thrips might form immunity to chemicals swiftly. So, avoid synthetic or chemical pesticides. Thankfully, it is very easy to get rid of this particular bug. All you have to do is wash the leaves with insecticide soap. You can even use a simple mixture of water and dish soap to wash them. Add Neem oil to make the soapy mixture more effective.

PLANTS AFFECTED:

To avail large quantities of nutritional plant sap and area for laying eggs, Thrips choose broad shaped leaves. Members of the Aroid family, Dragon trees (Dracaena), and palms are attacked mostly by this bug.

 

7. WHITEFLY

These tiny white colored flying bugs are quite common. If you disturb the pots of your houseplant, you will be able to spot them. They kind of look like moths (tent like shape when resting). They appear as WHITESPOT ON PLANTS with the naked eyes. In case of these bugs, the nymph is responsible for causing the most damage. The immature stage whiteflies can be found underneath the leaves.

They also suck the juices and as a result, flower buds and leaves turn to yellow and eventually drop off. Both adult and nymph stages of whiteflies feed on sap. As there will be extraction of sap, the plant will become weak, affecting its yield. Honeydew will be excreted over the foliage and fruit causing sooty mold fungus to grow. If you keep it untreated, then the plant will die.

SOLUTION:

You have to spray the plant with insecticidal soap and water. After a few minutes, use a damped soft cloth to wipe the leaves and other affected areas. It will take some time. Do this once every week as required to get rid of the infestation for good.

PLANT AFFECTED:

Angel trumpet, Poinsettia, Hibiscus, Begonia, and Lantana are some houseplants that get infected with whiteflies from time to time.

 

TO CONCLUDE

This is information about some common pests that you may encounter if you have houseplants. Hopefully, by now you can spot which pest is attacking your houseplant. If you can detect the pest correctly, then getting rid of them becomes easier and more effective.

Use the simple methods mentioned above to get rid of the common houseplant pests you are dealing with along with WHITE SPOT ON PLANTS. These tricks will definitely work. However, if you notice that the problem still persists, then do consult with a professional to get the best help possible to make sure your plant baby is thriving splendidly.

( Pictures come from Canva.com and  Wikipedia.org )

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