Our indoor plants, despite their green beauty and improving air quality, are not immune to infestation. There are common bugs that invade your indoor plants, threatening their well-being, from fungus gnats to spider mites and Aphids.
Protecting your plants from insects is an obligation you undertake as a gardener to keep them healthy. If you like it or not, you will encounter these bugs at some point. So, identifying them will help you know how to treat them.
So, let’s identify these bugs, their characteristics, and the damage they cause to your plant.
Common Bugs That Invade Your Indoor Plants
Aphids are pear-shaped and small insects, sometimes green, yellow, red, pink, or brown, depending on the species. Despite their small size, they can cause immense damage to your plant. They can multiply rapidly, and often, you will find them in groups with wings and without wings.
You can find them under the leaves or new growth. They like to suck the plant’s sap, causing the leaves to curl while the whole plant weakens.
How do you treat Aphids? You can rub them off using your hands or spray them with an insecticide or Nem oil.
2. Fungus Gnats
Fungus gnats are tiny and black, and they can be very annoying. These insects do not feed directly on the plant but on the potting mix. They occur as a result of overwatering.
Fungus gnats lay eggs in the moist soil, which grow into larvae. They need water to thrive. That’s why you will find them in moist soil. The larvae feed on the fungus in the soil.
How do you treat Fungus gnats? Just avoid overwatering your plant to control the insects.
3. Spider Mites
Although they are not insects, spider mites are closely related to spiders. They are tiny, so you can only see them through a microscope. These insects spin webs on the entire plant. Spider mites feed on plant juice, leading to the discoloration of the leaves. However, you can see tiny mites if you look closely.
To get rid of the mites, take your plant outside and wash off the webs on both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaves to break the webs.
Whiteflies are tiny, white, and moth-like and are found on the undersides of the leaves. They don’t survive in freezing temperatures, so you will mostly find them indoors. These pests reproduce rapidly.
They like to sap plant juices, leading to yellowing and wilting of plant leaves. To get rid of Whiteflies from your plants, spray your plants with neem oil or insecticidal soap under the leaves. Spray weekly for the treatment to be effective.
Mealybugs have soft bodies covered with a cotton-like substance. These insects are more of scales and have a waxy coating as well. They are mostly found on the plant’s stems and lower sides of the leaves. They suck the plant’s juice leaving behind a sticky residue.
The sticky residue can lead to mold growth, resulting in the yellowing of leaves and sometimes stunted plant growth.
To get rid of mealybugs, dip a cotton swab in alcohol and rub against the leaves. You can also spray the plant with water or rub the leaves with your hands to remove the insects.
Scales are yet another type of bug that invades your houseplant. They are sometimes hard to spot as they come in different shapes and sizes. However, the most common ones look like bumps and attach themselves under the leaves and on the stems.
These insects feed on sap, causing your leaves to turn yellow and fall off. To get rid of them, use a cotton swab dipped in alcohol or remove adult ones with your fingers. If possible, remove the infested leaves.
This pest is tiny and slender, and sometimes, they are black or yellow. You will find thrips mostly under the leaves or between flower petals. They scrape and feed on the plant tissue, causing bronzing or silvering of the leaves, thus affecting the aesthetic appeal of your plant. Rinse your plant leaves with water or spray with insecticidal soap.
What is the hardest pest to get rid of in houseplants?
Spider mites are considered to be the most difficult insect to eliminate. They are very tiny, and they multiply fast. Furthermore, they infest very quickly and like to suck the plant’s sap leading to plant damage. Their small size makes their elimination challenging; thus, taking multiple measures will help eliminate them from your indoor plant.
What houseplants attract the most bugs?
Most houseplants attract bugs due to their characteristics like sap, fragrance or moisture. Houseplants like peace lilies, African violets, and ferns are known to attract pests. However, keep an eye on your plants and don’t allow conditions that attract pests.
What is the biggest killer of houseplants?
The biggest killer of houseplants is related to improper care like overwatering, poor drainage, underwatering, pests and diseases and environmental conditions like light, temperatures, and humidity.
Knowing common bugs that invade your indoor plants helps you to implement the best measures to protect your indoor garden.
However, the best treatment against bugs is monitoring your plants regularly and implementing preventive measures to keep bugs at bay. Also, give your plant the care it needs to avoid creating an environment favorable for bugs.
- 🌿 Hello! I'm Mary, the nature-loving soul behind Serene Eden. Gardener, plant whisperer, compost connoisseur, sun-soaked plant enthusiast, and avid bee-watcher. Let's cultivate beauty, one bloom at a time. 🌱🌼
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