Indoor plants are an investment. Big or small, affordable or pricey, exotic or local — it takes a little work to keep indoor plants growing to the best of their potential. Providing that care is a huge part of why gardening and planting is so rewarding. Often, things are smooth sailing until bugs come into the picture. While it’s true that no home is immune to the occasional spider or ant, certain pests are attracted to plants, which they feed on and ultimately kill over time. Here are a few of the most common household pests, along with tips on how to get rid of them as naturally as possible.
Aphids are one of the most common plant-pests. While they do nibble plants, they actually kill them because of a secretion that essentially leaves a moldy residue on the leaves, interfering with photosynthesis. They are particularly attracted to succulents and plants that are overwatered because they like moist, nitrogen-rich soil. Combat aphids by spritzing plants with dish detergent diluted in water. Avoid overwatering your plants. For the most organic solution, consider introducing an aphid predator, such as a ladybug, that is, if you don’t mind a few extra ladybugs around.
Spider mites are small, red arachnids that cause plants to dry up because they feed on plant fluids. Signs of spider mite problems include dots on the underside of leaves, webbing, and leaves drying up and falling off. They are commonly detrimental to crawling and hanging plants, such as ivy. Like aphids, they live on the underside of leaves. Unlike aphids, they dislike humidity. Simply spraying down plants all over with warmish water can ward off spider mites. Keep the leaves lightly misted with a spray bottle in between full spray-downs and watering sessions.
Mealybugs are small and white. Like aphids, they love humidity and overwatered soil. Like spider mites, they cause leaves to be yellow, crinkle up, and fall away. Dabbing leaves with diluted isopropyl alcohol on a cotton ball can be effective, as can specific horticultural products, such as neem oil and professional insecticide. In a pinch, the aforementioned diluted dish soap may also prove effective.
Flower Works of Marquette, MI, has a wide variety of plants and products to support you on your indoor gardening journey, along with a knowledgeable staff that’s ready to help. Stop by or call today. We can advise you on the best plants for your home and habits.