When it comes to controlling bugs on indoor plants, it can seem as though we are dealing with them from nowhere. Aphids, mites, thrips, and mealybugs can appear, disappear, and then return again. At the first sign of pest infestation in your indoor plants, it’s important to act quickly. These pests can end up killing your prized indoor plants.
The best treatments to get rid of houseplant bugs are Neem oil because of its natural pesticides, insecticidal soap because it kills pests on contact, and Diatomaceous earth (DE) because it kills bugs without being toxic. Other than these natural pest remedies, you should also ensure that the growing conditions for your houseplants are optimal. You may even need to adjust the soil.
The most destructive plant pests are spider mites, aphids, scale insects, and mealybugs, which feed on plant juices. If you do not remove these pests, their eggs, and larvae, you risk killing your plant.
We have provided instructions on how to prevent bugs from growing on houseplants. You will also discover how to identify some plant pests so that you can apply the appropriate natural pest control method.
Overview of Common Houseplant Pests
Whether they are flying or crawling, these pests can quickly invade indoor plants, causing the seeds to rot, stall growth, or even cause the roots to rot. You might see these insects emerging from the soil, flying around the plant, or stuck to the stems.
As well as causing inconvenience-after all, who wants flies in their home-most bugs also cause significant damage to plants. Yellow leaves, weak growth, unattractive leaves, and wilting stems are all signs of insect infestations.
It’s not difficult to eliminate bugs from houseplants, since some natural remedies for plant bugs work without toxic chemicals. All you need is a little patience, determination, and effort to get rid of pests from indoor plants.
Why Do Indoor Plants Get Bugs?
There are many pests that live on houseplants and many seem to prosper in the home, including whitefly, aphids, fungus gnats, and mealybugs. However, dealing with these pests is far more complicated than dealing with them outdoors.
Indoor plants are often attacked by insects for many reasons:
Soil—Using soil from gardens can introduce all sorts of bugs into your home. The ground may contain microscopic eggs or larvae that end up in your plant pots. Always use sterile commercial potting mix from a reputable garden store.
No predators – There are rarely any predators in a home that kill pests and prey upon them.
Growing conditions – Poor light, low or high humidity, and certain temperatures can all contribute to houseplant bugs flourishing. The humidity in homes is lower than that outdoors, which makes them a favorite for some common household insects.
Moisture – When soil in potted plants is too moist, fungus gnats can multiply quickly and become very active.
Bring indoor plants from outside – Many plants, such as hanging baskets, thrive inside during the winter but outside in the summer. Unwanted guests can enter your home from outside.
Stressed plants – Plants that are growing in poor conditions-not obtaining enough light, water, or fertilizer-are more susceptible to insects than healthy plants.
How to Identify Common Indoor Plant Pests
Houseplants that have been infested with bugs require knowledge of what types of pests are causing the problem. Although some home remedies are effective on a range of bugs, getting the right environment for houseplants is part of successful treatment.
The key to getting rid of common houseplant bugs is to know how to identify them.
Small white flies on houseplant leaves. This is a whitefly sign. These tiny flies feed on sap from plants. Plant leaves subsequently turn yellow and die. Use Neem Oil Spray in conjunction with Yellow Sticky Cards to combat these pests.
Tiny spiders or spider webs on indoor plants. Fine webbing under the leaves is a warning sign of spider mites. These minuscule spiders are hard to spot, so the spider webs are the best way to identify them. Neem oil mixed with insecticidal soap can be effective against these houseplant bugs.
White fluff like cotton wool on houseplant stems and leaf joints. Mealybugs appear as fluffy white bits or mildew on stems. If left untreated, they can destroy your houseplant. To kill these insects in your houseplant, use rubbing alcohol.
Tiny bugs in houseplant soil. It is a biological control method to eradicate fungus gnats by placing a solution of Bacillus thuringiensis var. Israelensis in the soil. This solution will eliminate gnat eggs and larvae.
Clusters of red, brown, yellow or green bugs on indoor plants. They feed on your houseplants’ juice, slowly killing them. If you have an aphid problem, you may find a sticky substance on your plants. If you can handle the bugs yourself, wash the plants with insecticidal soap or spray with neem oil.
Small, slender yellow, black, or brown insects with pointed tails. A thrips infestation will result in brown leaves that eventually fall off your houseplant if you don’t get rid of them quickly. Home remedy: Insecticidal soap or neem oil solution.
Brown bumps on stems. Those hard bumps look like plant growth, but they are actually scale insects that stick to parts of the leaves and slowly rob your plants of their life. Home remedy for scale: This bug can be removed with rubbing alcohol applied to a cotton bud.
How to Get Rid of Bugs in Houseplants
Several steps must be taken to eliminate insects from indoor plants before applying natural home remedies. These steps are:
- Determine what type of pest, mite, fly, or bug has infested your plant.
- Keep the plant isolated from other houseplants to prevent an infestation.
- Find out how severe the infestation is.
- Continuing to use the home remedies for houseplant bugs after the pests have been killed may be necessary.
- Always sterilize pots and equipment when you repotted or removed diseased leaves from a houseplant.
Bugs on Indoor Plant Leaves
House plants tend to have insects on the underside of the leaves, on stems, or in flowers buds.
Insecticidal soap. Wash houseplant leaves and stems with organic insecticidal soap to kill bugs. You can make your own insecticidal soap or attack houseplant bugs with this remedy at home.
- Mix 1 tsp. of mild organic liquid soap in 33 fl. oz. (1 l) of warm water in a spray bottle.
- Shake well to mix.
- Spray the soap remedy directly onto infected parts of the plant.
- Wipe the leaves to remove dead bugs.
Neem oil solution. This natural remedy for bug-busting neem oil can be used to combat spider mites, aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies, and fungus gnats on indoor plants.
- Mix 1.5 tsp. organic neem oil and 1 tsp. mild liquid soap in 33 fl. oz. (1 l) of warm water.
- Put in a spray bottle and mix thoroughly.
- Use your houseplant home remedy bug solution to spray all parts of the affected plant.
- Use once a week to get rid of bugs and once every four weeks for prevention.
Rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol is a natural way to kill household pests. Soak a cotton bud in the alcohol and apply directly to the bugs. The alcohol will kill them on contact.
Bugs or Insects in Houseplant Soil
Generally, bugs in potting soil are attracted to moisture. Houseplants dislike sitting in moist, waterlogged soil. The dampness not only leads to root rot and weak plant growth, but it attracts various kinds of insects, such as fungus gnats.
Water houseplants only when the soil on top is dry (2.5 – 5 cm). Make sure the water drains from the bottom of the pot about 1″ to 2″ (2.5 – 5 cm). Make sure the plant doesn’t sit in a pool of liquid.
Infestations of plants’ potting medium should be dealt with immediately.
Repot your plant. You need to replace the potting mix with fresh soil. Here is what you need to do:
- Plants should be removed from their containers gently.
- Take out all the soil from the roots and place it in a special bag.
- Examine the roots for signs of root rot and prune any dead or diseased roots as necessary.
- Repotting a pot that has already been used requires sterilizing it.
- Put your plant in half of the new potting soil and fill with water.
- Add soil to the remaining space, making sure that the plant grows at the same height as before.
Neem oil soil drench. Neem oil can be used to drench the soil of your plants in order to kill pests in their plant pots. Neem oil can also prevent fungal diseases from affecting your plants.
- Mix 1 tbsp. neem oil, 1 tsp. mild liquid soap, and one-quart (1 l) of warm water.
- Pour the solution through the soil and let it drain out the bottom.
- Use once a month to help kill off tiny white bugs in soil.
Food grade Diatomaceous earth (DE). You can sprinkle this natural white powder around your houseplant to help control house bugs. Diatomaceous earth is nontoxic but abrasive, so it kills some insects by destroying their outer layer. Diatomaceous earth must be dry in order to be effective, so you will have to sprinkle it again after you water your plants.
Flying Pests from Houseplants
Flying bugs like whiteflies and aphids are much more difficult to eliminate. Once the plant is disturbed, the tiny white, black, or green flies will fly off. To eliminate your houseplant of flying pests, you’ll need to take two steps.
- Step one—Use a neem oil soil drench weekly to kill any eggs or larvae in the soil.
- Step two—Reduce fly populations by using yellow sticky traps.
Why Use Natural Pesticides to Get Rid of Houseplant Bugs?
Although using synthetic pesticides to kill houseplant bugs may seem faster, it’s always safer to use natural products to do the job because these chemicals can be harmful to the people living in the house and also become resistant to the chemicals later on.
How to Prevent Houseplant Pests
In order to avoid nasty infestations of houseplants, it’s best to prevent them from happening. Here’s what you need to know to keep your indoor plants safe from pests.
- When bringing in new plants to your home, always make sure they are pest or bug-free. Separate the plants for a few weeks from your existing plants to ensure they are pest-free.
- Houseplants should be checked for bug infestations regularly. The earlier an infestation is discovered, the easier it will be to handle it.
- Sterilize pruning shears or plant pots before using.
- Whenever you bring your houseplants back indoors following the summer, make sure you thoroughly inspect them for bugs.
How to Keep Houseplant Bugs Away for Good
When you finally get rid of insects on indoor plants using natural remedies, you don’t want them to return. Therefore, constant vigilance is crucial in keeping insects, mites, pests, and flies away from your houseplants.
The plants that are in good health resist disease and are less susceptible to pests. Don’t stress out your plants by:
- Low light if your plant requires bright, indirect light.
- Dry air and too little humidity.
- You are not feeding your plant enough.
- Overwatering and frequent irrigation causes root rot and fungal infections.