We love plants, don’t we? And, who else loves plants almost as much as we do? Insects, that’s who.
How to keep houseplants insect free is at the forefront of many people’s minds when it comes to caring for their plants. Well, this is the article for you, if you want to keep the creepy crawlies off your green babies!
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How To Keep Houseplants Insect Free
Insects are a pain in the backside, aren’t they? They are irritating, unsightly, and they can even damage your precious plants.
Keeping insects off your houseplants can seem like a never-ending battle – but there are many weapons at your disposal!
- Sticky traps. These are handy little things that attract insects, who then get stuck on them, making them easy to remove.
- Essential oils. Many people swear by using smells that insects don’t like – the most popular are Lavender, Orange, Clove and Mint.
- Don’t overwater. Many bugs love the moisture and humidity, so keeping watering down is a good way to not encourage them in in the first place.
- Use dish soap. Dilute some mild dishwashing soap with some water, and gently wash the leaves of your plant to remove any unwanted inhabitants.
- Add Diatomaceous Earth to the soil. This will not harm the plant, but the structure of DE is incredibly damaging to the soft bodies of insects.
- Keep your plants healthy. Bugs can get more of a stronghold on a sick plant, so make sure that is is well fed and watered, and as strong as it can be.
This is a useful video, showing you how to keep your indoor plants bug-free:
Why Do I Have Little Bugs Around My Indoor Plants
If you are seeing an infestation of little creatures in the soil around your plants, it is likely that you have fungus gnats.
These guys are tiny, about the size of a fruit fly, and they resemble mosquitoes (don’t worry, they don’t bite!)
These little critters love moisture and humidity, and they feed on the nutrients in the soil around your green babies, and lay their eggs in the top layer of soil.
While they don’t feed on the plant itself, they can damage it by causing problems with the root system, and they often feed on the tiny root hairs.
If you leave them to it, chances are you will start to see signs that your plant is not happy – it may wilt, throw out discolored leaves, and growth may be affected too.
Although it may feel cruel to your plants, the best way to get rid of them is to stop watering. This will dry out the eggs and kill them, thus breaking the cycle.
You can also repot your plant into fresh, clean soil, and ensure that you don’t overwater and thus begin the problem again.
It may also be worth buying nematodes – microscopic creatures that feed on the fungus gnats, and removes the problem naturally.
You can also use sticky traps to catch the adult gnats, but remember that you will have to keep using them after the new eggs hatch, so that the cycle doesn’t just start again.
Here’s a little more information on fungus gnats, if you really want to know!
What Home Remedy Gets Rid Of Bugs On Indoor Plants?
Obviously, not getting bugs on your plants in the first place is the best solution – but this is not always possible!
If you’ve got them, getting them off without using harsh chemicals is the best way forwards, and you can do this using things you have in your home:
- Hydrogen peroxide. This amazing cleaner can be safely added to your plants’ water – dilute it 1:3 with water and use it every second or third watering.
- Diatomaceous earth is a fine powder, made from fossilized algae. It will do no harm to your plants, but it will kill soft bodied insects.
- Soapy water is completely safe for your plants, and it can wash off bugs as well as it washes the grease off your dishes!
- Rubbing alcohol is safe to use on your plants; simply soak a cotton bud and apply it to infected areas.
- Dilute essential oils like mint, lavender and rosemary with water in a spray bottle, then mist your plants all over.
Can I Spray Vinegar On Houseplants?
The answer is yes, you can – but would you actually want to? The answer to this is a resounding no!
Vinegar is a very helpful substance, good for health and fantastic at cleaning – but sadly, it won’t do your houseplants any good.
Spraying vinegar on your plant may seem like a good idea to remove bugs and insects – but you should always dilute it with water first.
Neat vinegar will dry your plant right out, and can even kill it. Neat vinegar on the leaves can cause burning or scorching, too.
There are many other home remedies that you can use to remove bugs on houseplants, so save that vinegar for your chips!
What Should I Spray My Houseplants With?
Your plants generally only need to be sprayed with water, to add some moisture to the leaves and humidity to the air.
However, if you have a bug infestation you may want to fill the spray bottle with something else!
You can use insecticidal soap spray to kill off bugs – either make your own using dish soap, or you can invest in a specialist one from a plant store.
Neem is also very useful at getting rid of bugs; simply dilute it with water in a spray bottle and go for your life – it cause any damage to your plants at all.
Or you can use essential oils diluted in water – sprinkle a few drops of your chosen remedy into a bottle, shake it up well and cover your plants with it.
How to keep plants insect free can be a tricky problem for many of us. However, once you have got a few of the above techniques down, you may never have to worry again!
Insects are not only not fantastic for our plants, but they are also not something we want to give free rein to our houses. Now you have some weapons in your arsenal to fight them off!