Just have settled into your cushy reading spot, admiring your lush indoor greenery that is symbolic of your care and dedication. However, something bothers you. Little webs on your favorite ferns, tiny flies hovering over soil and irregularly-shaped leaves are signs that make you realize that they are being attacked by some unknown invaders. So what’s attacking my lovely plants? And how do I save them? Many plant parents face this battle – the struggle between beauty and microscopic invaders. In this guide, we shall reveal the most common causes of these diseases in plants hence arming you with knowledge to protect your green oasis.

Plant pests introduction

various pests use houseplants as hosts, each one exhibiting its own traits and consequences. Therefore understanding these pests is the first step towards protecting your plants. Here, we have discussed five typical pests affecting houseplants and given you effective tips on how to handle them ensuring the healthiness of an indoor garden.

1) Spider mites

Identification: minute moving dots or webs on leaves which are tiny spider like creatures usually red or brown in color.

Impact: They suck sap from plants leading to pale yellow speckled foliage and overall weak plants which could eventually die due to high infestation levels.Suggested Remedies:

Wiping leaves with a damp cloth will remove physical presence of mites.

Ensure high humidity around plants since mites thrive in dry conditions.

Use neem oil solution as natural insecticide for treating mite infestations.

Introduce their natural enemies predatory mites against spider mite populations.

To keep off spider mites, apply diatomaceous earth around the plant base.

Dispose of any infected leaves or stems by regular pruning.

For severe cases a miticide may be used.

Any infected crop should be isolated from other houseplants to avoid further spread of infestation.

2) Fungus gnats

Identification: tiny mosquito-like insects around damp soil.

Impact: Larvae feed on plant roots leading to stunted growth and potential root rot. Suggested Remedies:

Watering plants less in-between can discourage pests such as gnats.

Adult gnats can be caught on sticky traps.

Larvae can be controlled by applying BTI (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis).

Cinnamon mixed into soil serves as a natural fungicide and gnat repellent.

Putting sand or gravel layer at the top of the pot will deter gnats from laying eggs in the soil.

Clean plant leaves and surfaces regularly to remove organic materials.

Water mixed with hydrogen peroxide is applied to kill larvae in the soil.

The plant could be repotted with fresh sterile potting mix.

3) Aphids

Identification: small insects with soft bodies that are often green, black or white.

Impact: They suck sap resulting in distorted growth, honeydew and maybe transmitting viruses.

Suggested Remedies:

Use soapy water or neem oil spray to suffocate aphids on plants.

You may also introduce some natural enemies like ladybugs and lacewings which prey on them.

Trim any affected areas and dispose them properly.

Physically dislodge aphids by strong stream of water use for showering plants.

To prevent aphids infesting young plants use reflective mulches.

Plant companion crops that attract beneficial insects such as syrphid flies, lacewings, and lady beetles for aphid control purposes.

For persistent issues apply insecticidal soap or horticultural oil that will kill these pests instantly.

Regular monitoring of the crop helps detect infestations earlier enough.

As a last resort, systemic insecticides can be used in case of severe infestations.

Make a habit of checking new plants for possible infestation before you include them in your collection.

Take care of your plants properly to avoid creating an environment that attracts mealybugs.

Clear away plant remains and fallen leaves which provide hiding places.

5. Scale Insects

Identification: Small, brown or tan bumps on stems or the underside of leaves.

Impact: They suck sap and exude sticky honeydew, which attracts sooty mold and other problems.

Control Strategies:

Scrub scale insects off with a thumbnail or use a bristle brush.

Infected areas should be treated with horticultural oil or insecticidal soap.

Ladybirds or parasitic wasps may be introduced as natural enemies.

Frequently examine plants, particularly hidden undersides of leaves.

Cut heavily infested branches off and dispose them accordingly.

Persistent scale infestations require systemic insecticides’ use.

Maintaining plant health can help increase its resistance to pests.

Over-fertilization may attract more scale insects therefore it must be avoided.

Through comprehensive awareness about some of these pests and effective measures to control them, one can safeguard indoor plants without forgoing the full benefits offered by green companions. A successful indoor garden calls for regular checks, quick responses as well as some level of patience.