How to prevent and treat houseplant pests
Pests are as common a problem for indoor plants as they are for outdoor plants. In fact, houseplants can be even more susceptible to infestations for a variety of reasons, from changes in environment to overwatering.
There are several types of houseplant bugs that can infest indoor plants, including mealybugs, spider mites, whiteflies, fungus gnats, aphids, scale and thrips. Sadly, the majority are all rather troublesome, as they are small and slender, making them difficult to spot, they multiply quickly, and can crawl of fly, enabling them to infest your plant collection with ease.
There are, however, some steps you can take to prevent irritating pests from taking over your beloved houseplants!
Prevention is always better than cure, so ensure you have a good routine in place to keep your houseplants in tip top shape. Many varieties of pests are attracted to compost that is too moist, so make sure you’re not overwatering plants and if possible, water from the bottom so that the top few inches of compost remains dry – this stops the eggs being laid.
As well as a moist top layer of soil, pests are also attracted to decaying plant material that might settle on the surface, so prune and remove any dead leaves regularly. You could also top your pots with a decorative aggregate like gravel. It looks great and has the added benefit of stopping gnats from laying eggs.
Regular cleaning of leaves is also essential for keeping your plant babies in good condition. Use a damp cloth with a little soap water to regularly wipe away any matter that might have settled on leaves. Not only does this prevent pests from laying eggs, but it also helps plants photosynthesise and keeps leaves looking shiny!
One of the most common ways pests will find their way into your home is by coming in with new plants, so check any new additions you bring home thoroughly for signs of an infestation! Leave no leaf unturned when it comes to inspecting new plant babies – check the soil, underneath the leaves, the stems – and even consider quarantining your new plant until you’re certain it is free from pests.
If you do discover an infestation, don’t panic! The first thing to do is isolate your plant to prevent them from spreading, so move it as far as possible away from your other plant babies to protect them.
Once you have isolated the affected plant you can begin treatment. Invest in a bug killer that targets a variety of pests including thrips, sawfly, leaf beetles and aphids, like Baby Bio® Houseplant Bug Killer. Spray the plant generously, making sure to cover the leaves and stem from top to bottom, but avoiding soaking any delicate blooms. Repeat this every 10 to 14 days to ensure any hatched eggs are treated, too.
If you are faced with a serious infestation, consider repotting the plant into fresh soil to remove any unhatched eggs and prevent the pests from relaying. Once you have placed it into fresh soil, repeat the treatment with Baby Bio® Houseplant Bug Killer.
Once you have repotted your plant and applied the treatment, you might also consider setting up sticky yellow traps to attract and kill any remaining pests that have managed to survive. It’s also recommended to position a few of these sticky yellow traps in pots throughout your collection, as this will help alert you to any future infestations early on.
Watch our video below for more top tips on preventing and treating pests on your houseplants!