Few things are more disheartening to plant owners than discovering that unwanted house guests are feeding on your plants. Fortunately, if your Fittonia hasn’t sustained a lot of damage yet, it’s a perfectly treatable issue. Read on to find out how to treat common household plant pests, and how to prevent infestations in the future.
What You'll Learn Today
Why Are There Holes in My Fittonia?
Whenever you see holes in the leaves of your plant, it’s safe to assume that some sort of creature has been munching on it.
A common misconception from new plant owners is that they won’t have to deal with insects on their plants indoors. However, pests will attack indoors occasionally, too.
Fittonia plants are most susceptible to the following pests:
Often plant owners don’t even catch these culprits red-handed – they just see the destruction the bugs leave behind. Aside from holes in the leaves, pests can also cause issues such as:
- Root damage
- Lower stem issues
- Stunted leaf growth
- Distorted leaves
How Do You Get Rid of Bugs on Plants Naturally?
The best way to get rid of bugs on indoor plants is by using a natural, homemade method. The harmful chemicals in pesticides are not suitable for indoor use.
When you see the telltale signs of a bug infestation on your nerve plant (or any houseplant), the first step should be to quarantine that plant from the rest of your collection. That way, you can hopefully avoid the pests spreading to the other plants.
Here’s how to stop each unwanted pest from tormenting your Fittonia:
These are tiny insects that move slowly and leave their eggs on the leaves and stems of your Fittonia. The honeydew that they secrete on your plants can attract certain types of mold.
To eradicate mealybugs, use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove them, along with the eggs. You might have to do this several times until you stop seeing any signs of the bugs.
You can also spray the whole plant with a DIY solution consisting of Dawn soap, rubbing alcohol, and water to kill the bugs on contact.
These obnoxious bugs are tiny winged creatures that lay eggs in the soil of your Fittonia while feeding on scraps of plant material. They can also feed on the roots of your plants while in their larval stage.
To get rid of fungus gnats, you can try a few different methods. First, try letting the top two inches of potting soil dry out, which can destroy their habitat.
You can also try spraying the top layer of soil with a solution of soap and water, or hydrogen peroxide and water.
Aphids are tiny bugs that gather around new leaves and buds and feed on them. This causes stunted growth, discolored leaves, and more. Like gnats, they also excrete honeydew.
To kill the aphids, gently spraying your nerve plant with soapy water. Make sure you’re using a mild soap that won’t hurt your plant.
Dipping a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol will also work to kill any aphids you see. If your plant is majorly infested, it’s best to remove the affected area of the plant altogether.
How Do You Stop Plants From Attracting Bugs?
After you’ve done damage control to get rid of insects on your Fittonia, it’s time to come up with a preventative plan.
Most of the preventative measures you can take to deter bugs from your plant are also tips for good plant health in general. Meaning that as long as you continue to follow the general care instructions for your plant, you should be able to stave off further infestations.
Here are some important tips to keep in mind:
- Isolate new plants: Mites and aphids have been known to hitch a ride on a Fittonia plant from the garden center to their new home. Just in case, it can never hurt to keep the plant away from all of your others for a few days first.
- Control the humidity: Fittonia enjoy some humidity, but they don’t need an excessive amount. Too much humidity affects the airflow around your plants and can attract unwanted insects.
- Watch your watering: Overwatering is not only bad for your nerve plant in general, but the standing water also creates a fantastic environment for bugs. Keep your Fittonia moderately moist, but never let it get waterlogged.
For a more detailed explanation of common household pests and how to deal with them, check out this helpful video.
If you see bugs on your Fittonia, don’t panic. As long as you’re vigilant about checking on your plants, this doesn’t have to be a death sentence. And as with most aspects of gardening, let this be a learning experience, and chalk it up to trial and error.