It’s time to bring your houseplants in! With winter approaching, you’ll want to bring your plants indoors, but not the pests! First, you’ll need to inspect the plant. Properly identifying any pest is the first step in treatment.
Aphids are very common. They come in many colors and they go after plants’ new growth. Aphids look like small bugs in bunches and will leave a sticky, honey dew-like substance behind.
Do you see a cotton-like white bundle or mound on the leaves or in the crevasses of plant branches? These are tell-tale signs of mealy bug. They also leave a honey dew that will be sticky.
Do you see anything shiny and sticky that has a black or brown wort on the branches? This is caused by the scale insect.
Do you see webbing or mottled leaves? This could be spider mites. Hold leaves over a white piece of paper and shake. Spider mites appear as black spots that will fall off and start moving. If you run your fingers over them, you’ll see reddish black smudges on the paper.
Do you see small bugs flying around? If they are tiny black fruit fly-looking insects, they are fungus gnats who feed on rotten roots. Let your houseplant get dry in between waterings.
Do you see small white flying insects? These are whitefly. You will be able to see small eggs deposited on the undersides of leaves.
After you’ve identified which pests you have, it’s best to shower the plants off outside as best as you can. Lie the plants on their side during rinsing, so the insects can be washed off and not go into the soil. You’ll also want to get all the leaf surfaces clean and dust free. After rinsing, it’s best to soak the whole potted plant in warm water with insecticidal soap for 20 minutes. Some pests may come up to the surface. Leach the soil by letting the water run through it for a few minutes. Let the plant drain, treat any pests, and your plant is ready to be brought inside for winter!
Use the chart below for product recommendations for each pest.
Note: If a plant is root-bound or top-heavy, this is a great time to repot them into next pot size up.