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How to Deal With Pesky Pests on Your Houseplants

by Plant Care, Plants

IT HAPPENS TO EVERY PROUD PLANT OWNER. ONE MINUTE YOUR GREEN BABIES ARE FLOURISHING AND REWARDING YOU WITH LUSH FOLIAGE AND NEW GROWTH AND THEN BAM!

You see something flying or crawling around the base of your plants, a web here, a sticky residue there. But don’t worry! You don’t need to say your goodbyes just yet! If you catch it in time, there is still hope.
 
If you are struggling with plant pests or worried that they will soon come, this weeks blog post may help you be prepared.
 
If you have any tried and true tips or tricks that you have used to help with pests in your plants, I would love to hear about them.

For now, let’s get back to those pesky pests!

The most common pests found on houseplants are fungus gnats, mealybugs, and mites.

FUNGUS GNATS

Fungus gnats are small black flies. You will usually find them running around the soil surface or on leaves. Symptoms and damage from these pesky pests will be wilting, poor growth and yellowing leaves. The damage created on your lovely plants is caused by larvae feeding on roots and any leaves that are in contact with the soil. These little guys love when you overwater your plants as it creates the perfect environment for the larvae.

To control fungus gnats, reduce the amount of water given to each plant. In so doing, you will avoid algae growth on the soil. Insecticides can be brought in if issues continue after a couple of weeks of adjusting watering practices.

MEALYBUGS

Although they have a rather fun name, they are not fun at all! These pesky pests are white, almost “cotton-y” masses. You’ll find them hiding in the leaf axils on the lower surfaces of leaves and on the roots. Infested plants become stunted and severe infestations can cause plants to die.

You can begin to control these pests by running a steady stream of water on the lower leaves as well as on the soil. This will flush the water through the bottom and help drown those pests out. If you are not successful, you can use a safe insecticide and follow the instructions on the bottle.

Gnat
mealybugs
mite on plant

MITES

Small but mighty! Mites, specifically the two-spotted spider mite (just got a little eerier didn’t it!) are very small pests that can be unnoticed until plants become extremely damaged. The damage will be found by way of yellowing leaves, leaves that are specked (i.e. the speckles on leaves may be dark brownish to black circles – these are the places where the mites feed), webbing (i.e. just like spider webs), loss of leaves and this damage could ultimately lead to plant death if mites increase.

To control mites there are a couple of highly effective yet easy things that can be done. These practices include pruning the affected/infested leaves, stems and other areas. Discard the materials pruned by securely bagging them and throwing them away in the trash. Insecticides/insecticidal soaps can also be used in areas with larger infestations.

DIY TIP! MAKE YOUR OWN INSECTICIDAL SOAP BY COMBINING 5 DROPS OF SUNLIGHT DISH SOAP FOR EVERY 2 CUPS OF WATER.

These pests may be pesky, but hopefully with a little knowledge gained you will be successful in maintaining healthy and long-lasting houseplants.

Now you have an extra reason to get close to those houseplants. So next time, you’re talking it up with Franny the Fern or Phil the Philodendron, have a look to see if you can spot any of these pesky pests! Keep in mind that although you may not be able to see them, they may still be there. Like Sara the Sansevieria with yellow tips, we may not see them but the mites are there.

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