Pests of Indoor Plants
Indoor plants are somewhat less likely to be affected by pests than plants in the garden. This is because the house acts as a barrier to insect pests and the conditions indoors tend to be less suitable for many pests. However, there are some pests of houseplants and they can be difficult to get rid of.
The following are the pests most likely to attack your houseplants. All either prefer or can survive the relatively warm and dry conditions found in homes.
Whitefly are small, white, sap-sucking and flying insects. The winged adults have an annoying habit of flying off the plant when you try and spray them. So the early application of Gro-Sure Houseplant Insect Control Spray or Organic Super Spraying Oil* is essential to get control of the non-flying larval stages.
Fungus Gnats (Sciarid Flies)
Have you ever noticed tiny black flies circling your houseplants? These are likely to be fungus gnats. The larvae feed on decaying organic matter in over-watered potting mix. The flying adults emerge after pupation, mate and seek other decaying organic matter to lay her eggs in. Drain any affected plants and use Gro-Sure Houseplant Watering Indicators to ensure plants and not over-watered. Spray the plants and the potting mix surface with Gro-Sure Houseplant Insect Control Spray.
Adult scale insects are often mistaken for fungal growth. The adults are sedentary; they attach themselves to the stems or leaves where they have inserted their sap-sucking proboscis. They are covered in a protective layer of waxy material which protects them for insecticides. So, like whitefly, they are best controlled early with Gro-Sure Houseplant Insect Control Spray or Organic Super Spraying Oil*, when they are in their juvenile, less well-protected stages.
Occasionally aphids will infest houseplants. The plants can be taken outside and hosed with water to remove the aphids or sprayed with Organic Super Spraying Oil. If moving them is not possible, manually crush the aphids and spray the plants thoroughly with Gro-Sure Houseplant Insect Control Spray.
Spider mites can be very difficult to control in hot dry conditions, they are not easily controlled with insecticides. If the plants can be moved to a cooler location or regularly misted with water to keep leaves cool this will help reduce mite numbers. When spraying with Gro-Sure Houseplant Insect Control Spray, ensure the undersides of leaves are treated. Application of Organic Super Sulphur* to undersides of leaves provides good control of mites.
General Prevention of Houseplant Pests
- Keep new plants isolated from other houseplants for at least one month before exposing them to other plants.
- Thoroughly clean previously used planters whenever potting or repotting a houseplant.
- Use fresh sterile potting mix such as Gro-Sure Houseplant Potting Mix.
- Clear away old, dead leaves regularly.
- Clean your plant’s leaves occasionally with a clean damp cloth. Milk will give a shine to the leaves.
- Inspect plants regularly; a magnifying lens can be helpful to identify mites or other small bugs.
*Take plants outdoors to spray with Organic Super Spraying Oil or Organic Super Sulphur so that the oil or sulphur does not damage furniture or carpets.