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Houseplant Pest Control

By DoMyOwn staff

Protect your houseplants from pests with these tips.

 Houseplant Pest Control Video Play

Video Transcript

Hi I'm Courtenay from Today we're talking about pest control for indoor plants: what pests normally infest indoor plants, how to know if you have them, when you should treat for them and how to prevent them from coming back. What are the most common insects that infest house plants? The most common house plant pests are sucking pests like aphids, white flies, mealy bugs, spider mites, fungus gnats, and scale.

How do you know if houseplants have pests? Change in leaf color or texture is a good indicator. You may see webbing draped along the leaf undersides or where leaves attach to the stems. It's important to find the source and to visually inspect each plant thoroughly some pests like spider mites are small and you won't notice without inspection or until there is a full blown infestation. Place pest monitor cards above the plant to monitor infestation for flies.

When should I treat my potted plants for pests? Ready to spray indoor products can be applied year-round inside. If you choose to move plants outside for treatment, be sure to check the label for specific application restrictions such as temperature requirements, dry time, and whether plants need to be moved outdoors before spraying. Generally, you don't want to apply outdoors in cold weather under 40 degrees or in hot weather over 85 to 90 degrees. Do not spray outdoors if rain is expected within 24 hours. 

How do i get rid of pests on potted plants? For some pests, you should wash the leaves or hose down the whole plant before applying any insecticides. When you notice a pest infestation, you should treat immediately and quarantine the plant from others until you notice no pest activity. While most products can be used indoors or outdoors, be sure to check the label in case the plants must be moved outside first during treatment or before you spray. It may be easier in some cases to take plants outdoors to spray them to help avoid getting overspray on furniture floors and walls. If you have plants that you know are sensitive test a small area first. 

Now, let's discuss some product types that are used to control common pests on indoor house plants. Some common products used are horticultural oils, neem oils, insecticidal soaps, insecticidal concentrates, and glue boards to monitor your infestation. Oil products normally applied in spray form work by essentially smothering bugs to death.  Some ready to use insecticidal soap products can be used on houseplants. Rates in the product you use would depend on the product and target pest. 

If you are using an insecticide as a foliar spray, a good choice we recommend is a product that contains the active ingredient bifenthrin. If you need a systemic solution, we recommend a product that contains the active ingredients amidocloprid or dinotouferin. 

Let's talk about treating for fungus gnats. As fungus gnats aren't sucking pests,their treatment methods are going to be different. Here are some of the basics. Let the soil dry out. This may kill the larvae. Water less often and more deeply. Move plants outside prior to treatment and allow to fully dry before bringing indoors. Knock down space spray aerosols can be used, but please note these are not for use directly on plants. You can also use flylight traps. We carry some that are compact and affordable for this purpose.

What are some prevention and care techniques? Get familiar with general care for your specific plans such as whether they need direct sunlight or need to be moved as the seasons change. How often to fertilize, what kind to use, and when to change potting media. Healthy plants are more resistant to pest infestations, like what we talk about with healthy turf for prevention of weeds and disease. Moisture meters are a good tool, especially for larger containerized plants. Inspect all new houseplants before bringing into your home. Make sure there's no webbing anything crawling especially underneath the leaves or on the stems. Always use sterile potting material. Do not over water plants and remove the top edge of potting soil and replace with fresh if the top is infested. Inspect any plant that was taken outside and brought back in. Discard heavily infested plants or cut off the growth that is infested. Maintain a high humidity and proper water. Treat leaks in the home and use screens if you open windows a lot. 

Thanks for watching! If you liked this video, make sure to like, comment and subscribe. We'd love to answer any questions you may have and see photos of your house plants. And we're always happy to help here at