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10 Tips on How to Get Rid of Common Houseplant Pests &  Effective Solutions

Get Rid of Common Houseplant Pests

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Protect Your Houseplants from Pests: 10 Quick Tips & Remedies

If you’re like most people, you probably enjoy having plants in your home. Not only do they add a touch of nature to your surroundings, but they also provide oxygen and help filter the air. However, if you have houseplants, you may also know that they can be susceptible to pests.

Because they are continually kept indoors, your houseplants are subjected to conditions that may not be optimal for them in terms of temperature, sunshine, and humidity. As a result, they are an obvious target for any houseplant pests that may find their way into the home. Because pests do not have natural predators, their proliferation may swiftly outgrow control.

Don’t put off taking care of your houseplants until they show signs of trouble. On a regular basis, keep an eye out for any symptoms of an insect infestation in your houseplants. If you catch your houseplants in the early stages, you have a better chance of rescuing them.

1.- What are houseplant pests?

Houseplant pests come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Some are nocturnal, while others are active during the day. They may infest the leaves, stems, or roots of a plant and can cause extensive damage if left unchecked. In some cases, pests may be difficult to spot due to their small size or camouflage.

However, a few telltale signs can indicate an infestation, such as yellowing leaves or stunted growth. If you suspect that your houseplant has been infested with pests, it is important to take action immediately.

There are a variety of methods that can be used to control pests, including traps, pesticides, and biological controls. By taking early and effective action, you can help to protect your houseplants from further damage.

How to Get Rid of Common Houseplant Pests

2.- Why are there bugs on my indoor plants?

Because there are no natural predators in most homes to manage houseplant bugs, infestations are worse indoors than they are outdoors. The winter is the most dangerous time of year for houseplants to get plagued with pests for a number of reasons.

Firstly, when houseplants fall into hibernation during the winter, pests have an easier time attacking them. Secondly, many houseplants’ winter growth is weaker than their summer growth, leaving them more susceptible to infection.

Lastly, when it’s cold outside, it’s easier for certain species of plant bugs to thrive inside, where humidity levels are significantly lower. In addition, your plants won’t be able to breathe in any fresh air.

All of these factors make it more difficult to control pests indoors and explain why they tend to have more problems during the winter months.

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3.- How do houseplants get infested?

Before you can get rid of houseplant pests, there are a few things you need to know about them. One of the most common ways that houseplants become infected with pests is from bags of potting soil. These bags often contain eggs or larvae of common houseplant pests, which can quickly hatch and infest your plants.

Another way that pests can enter your home is on new plants. When you bring a new plant into your home, it’s important to inspect it carefully for any signs of pests. If you see any bugs or eggs, it’s best to return the plant to the store and choose a different one.

Pests can also enter your home through open windows and doors. If you have houseplants near windows or doors, be sure to keep them closed when you’re not using them, and this will help to keep pests out.

Finally, a plant that was previously outside is another common source of houseplant pests. If you bring a plant inside that has been outdoors, be sure to inspect it carefully and isolate it from your other plants until you’re sure it’s pest-free.

To prevent their return, you need to learn how to identify them and where they come from. This way, you can take steps to prevent them from getting into your home in the first place. Once you have an infestation, you’ll need to be diligent about removing all the bugs and their eggs.

You may also need to treat the plant with an insecticide to prevent further infestation. With a little knowledge and effort, you can successfully get rid of houseplant pests and keep them from coming back.

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4.- How to identify common Houseplant Pests

Identifying pests in your home may be a challenge, so here is a list of common indoor houseplant pests to assist. To understand how to spot each one, click on the links provided.

Spider mites

Especially in plants with dense foliage and on their inner joints, spider mites create distinctive webbing. The pinhead-sized mites cause harm to plants by sucking out their fluids. When leaves have been damaged, they will seem yellowed.

The leaves will become yellow and brittle as the infection worsens and perish rapidly. The best way to get rid of spider mites is to spray insecticidal soap all over the plants. Repeat as instructed on the packaging.

Broad mites

Less common pests, such as broad mites and cyclamen mites, may inflict significant harm to plants’ growth tips. If the tips of your houseplants begin to seem stunted or deformed, or the leaves begin to curl, you may have mites in your houseplants.

African violets, begonias, cyclamens, and other tropical houseplants are among my personal favorites. Miticide, insecticidal soap, or horticultural oil may be used to treat a mite infestation if the indoor plant can be thoroughly sprayed. In most cases, the mites may be prevented from spreading by simply removing the diseased plant and throwing it away.

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When disturbed, these little whiteflies fly up in a puff and hide on the underside of leaves. Weakened by their sucking, plants become distorted or discolored. In order to eliminate whiteflies as rapidly as possible, capture them early.

Yellow sticky traps work well to catch them, and insecticidal soap or horticultural oil well for spraying them down. To operate, the spray must come into direct touch with the insect.


Springtails are little, wingless insects that may leap several inches into the air if startled. Unless there are a lot of them, you won’t notice them. They all rise up simultaneously in a group, forming a cloud-like formation.

They like moist environments, such as potting soil that is still wet. Springtails can eat plant roots, although they don’t cause much harm while they’re in the soil.

It is possible for springtails to find a source of moisture elsewhere, such as a basement or bathroom, when the soil dries out. You may either vacuum them up or use diatomaceous earth to remove them from the water.

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Despite their small size (less than 1/25 inch), these insects may inflict a lot of harm to plants. In groups, they eat foliage, flowers, and even fruits, transmitting illness and weakening and warping plants.

Because of the lack of natural predators in the home, you’ll need to apply insecticidal soap or neem to control pests. Cover the leaves completely on all sides.


Aphids are tiny green, white, yellow, or black spots that may occur on any part of a plant and can spread quickly. Sucking on the stems and leaves weakens plants. Aphids proliferate so swiftly that a plant might be completely infested in only a few days.

Using a vigorous stream of water in the shower or repeated sprays of insecticidal soap can quickly and effectively eliminate aphids from your home. However, these pests are hard to get rid of, and you’ll need to be persistent in your efforts. 1


They’re tiny, oval-shaped insects that attach themselves to the plant’s stem and then harden their outer shells to protect themselves from predators. They steadily siphon plants of their sap, leaving them feeble and unable to support themselves, much as mealybugs do.

Getting rid of a scale infestation is a very difficult task. A lot of pesticides don’t get through their tough outer layer. You may be able to remove the scales using a soft brush or your fingernail. In this crawler stage, insecticidal soap may be sprinkled on the young scales to help them move to a new site.

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Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats are small insects that rise up in a cloud when startled and linger around indoor plants. Unlike the adults, larvae feed on organic matter and fungi in the potting soil as well as feeder roots.

They like moist soil and are more of an issue for seedlings than for existing houseplants. Yellow sticky traps may be used to capture the adults and thereby reduce the population.

Dry up the soil for a few days to kill any remaining eggs and larvae. Try using dryer sheets to keep insects away.


It’s not uncommon to see mealybug blobs connected to a flower or plant near its base, but they may also be found on the stems themselves. They settle in and begin draining the life out of the plants one by one.

Even when watered, plants afflicted with mealy bugs seem to be drying out. Mealybugs are very difficult to remove from a home or business.

Early detection of a problem might save you from having to remove infected branches. You may also use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to get rid of mealybugs.

The best thing to do if your plants get contaminated is to get rid of them. The mealy bugs are only going to grow in number.

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Leafminer damage is shown as squiggly lines going through a leaf. They’re more of an issue outside, but if you bring your plants inside, you’ll have to deal with them. Tiny black flies are the parents of leafminer larvae.

Fly eggs are laid in the leaf, and the larvae eat their way through the leaves until they are ready to hatch. In many cases, the harm is purely aesthetic.

Leafminer damage may be devastating on food greens, such as Swiss chard and spinach. Still, on houseplants, they are just unappealing.

Adult flies may be trapped using blue adhesive tape and damaged leaves removed to prevent the emergence of young flies. It is possible to suppress leafminers with the use of pesticides, such as Spinosad, although they are typically not required inside.

5.- Using natural remedies to get rid of these Pests

Most everyone can appreciate the beauty of a plant, whether it’s a flower in full bloom or a bountiful crop ready for harvest. What fewer people realize, however, is the importance of plants in our everyday lives. Not only do they provide us with food and oxygen, but they also help to regulate the climate and support ecosystems.

Given their importance, it’s troubling that so many plants are sprayed with synthetic chemical pesticides. These harmful pesticides are not always effective in eliminating plant pests and can also have detrimental effects on the environment. For example, pesticide runoff can pollute waterways and poison wildlife.

Additionally, houseplant pests may develop a resistance to pesticides over time. As a result, it’s essential to use eco-friendly pest control measures. One way to do this is by using natural predators to control plant pests. For example, ladybugs feast on aphids, mites, and other small insects.

Another strategy is to remove pests by hand. This can be done by gently shaking them off of the plant or using a soft brush to sweep them away. Before you begin treating your plant, it’s usually helpful to know what kind of insect you’re dealing with so that you can get rid of them as quickly as possible.

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6.- How to get rid of Bugs on Indoor Plant Leaves

Houseplant bugs that feed on plants may be found on leaves, flower buds, stems, and other parts of the houseplant. Here are some natural remedies for pest infestations on indoor plants:

Isolate the plant

Protect your other houseplants by isolating the infected ones. Step one is to immediately separate the plant. For many weeks, keep a watchful eye on the surrounding plants for any symptoms of pests.

Clean surrounding area

Insects may leave a plant and hide for a long time, so keeping the space around it clean is important. Clean the space where the plant was resting with soapy water once it has finished growing. If you like, you may use rubbing alcohol to disinfect the area. Also, be sure to monitor the surrounding plants closely for signs of indoor plant pests for several weeks.

Wash plant leaves

Insecticidal soap or a light liquid soap may be used to clean the leaves of an affected plant. Bugs in houseplants are killed by soap when they come into touch with it.

Make sure you use the correct kind of font. Some of the most popular products include cleaning agents that are harmful to plants. Before you wash all of your plants’ leaves, try a small area with a little amount of soap.

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Clean the pot

The container and the plant tray should also be cleaned with soapy water. Pests in pots and trays, as well as on the bottoms of pots and trays, may readily conceal themselves.

Remove the bugs

Use a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol to kill and remove the bugs off the plant by dabbing it on them.

Treat the plant

Use neem oil to treat the plant for long-term prevention and control of indoor plant pests. When it comes to killing and repelling pests in your home, neem oil is a great option. Here, you’ll find detailed instructions on how to utilize neem oil as an insecticide. As an alternative, horticultural oil may be used, or you might try pepper spray.

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7.- How to get rid of Tiny Flying Bugs on Houseplants

Most indoor plant insects go through a life cycle, including a flying stage. This makes managing these pests extremely difficult, as they can quickly spread to other plants in your home. Suppose you notice insects on your indoor plants. In that case, it’s important to take action immediately in order to prevent them from causing further damage.

The best way to get rid of houseplant insects is to destroy their eggs and nymphs. This can be done by carefully inspecting the plant for signs of infestation and then using a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove the eggs. You can also use a powerful vacuum cleaner to remove the insects themselves.

In addition, several commercial products are available specifically for dealing with indoor plant pests. However, the most effective way to prevent an infestation is to take preventive measures such as quarantining new plants and regularly inspecting your plants for signs of damage.

8.- How to get rid of Bugs in Houseplant Soil

As any gardener knows, pests can be a serious problem for houseplants. Not only can they damage the plants themselves, but they can also spread to other plants in the home. One of the best ways to get rid of pests is to be on the lookout for them. Regularly inspecting your plants will help you spot signs of an infestation early on.

If you do find signs of pests, there are a number of treatments that you can try. However, it is important to note that it takes multiple treatments to completely eliminate the pests in most cases.

This is because parasites breed quickly and can often survive a single treatment. As such, it is important to be persistent in your efforts to get rid of pests.

Continue treatment until the infestation is completely eliminated. Getting rid of pests in houseplant soil is easy if you follow these simple guidelines.

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Replace the top layer of soil 

To begin, remove the top inch of dirt and dispose of it. Fresh potting soil or a soil cover should be used to replace the old one. Fine sand or natural top dressing may help prevent further infestations by covering the ground.

Use a soil drench 

Spray the soil with an organic insecticide that is safe for houseplants. Organic insecticide soap is one option. You can make your own using 1 tsp mild liquid soap to 1 liter of water. Alternatives include using neem oil (which can work for systemic houseplant insect control). Avoid overwatering your plant while you’re at it.

Water properly 

The soil should never be damp while watering your houseplants, so make sure you do this correctly. Pests like fungus gnats thrive in wet soil, which is also terrible for houseplants. If you have trouble with watering, I suggest investing in a low-cost soil moisture meter.

Properly store unused soil. 

It’s best to keep any remaining potting soil in an airtight bag or container since pests can’t survive without it. A 5-gallon bucket with a tight-fitting top works well for me (this airtight seal lid is perfect).

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9.- How to prevent houseplant pests

You don’t want bugs to return to your houseplants after you get rid of them, do you? Prevention is the greatest long-term strategy against any houseplant infection.

Here are a few extra recommendations to maintain your indoor plants pest-free and healthy for the long term.

Never use dirty pots.

Before reusing a pot or plant tray, make sure it is well cleaned and disinfected. Depending on how strong they are, you may either hand-wash them or put them in the dishwasher.

Monitor your plants

Keep an eye out for indicators of indoor pests by regularly inspecting your plants. When I water my plants, I normally do this.

Do not repot an infested plant.

Repotting a bug-infested plant is a certain way to kill the plant. Repotting an ailing houseplant might put it under even more stress, which could lead to its death.

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Use sterile potting soil.

Repotting plants should always be done with fresh, sterilized commercial potting soil, not backyard dirt! Reusing the soil in the new container for the same plant is OK when repotting a houseplant that doesn’t have any pests. Repotting one houseplant with soil from another isn’t recommended.

Inspect all new plants

Make careful to thoroughly check any new plants when you bring them into your house to ensure that they are free of pests. You should also quarantine new houseplants for a few weeks to ensure that no pests emerge.

Keep your tools clean.

Use sterile shears and other instruments and keep them clean between uses. Soap and water or rubbing alcohol may be used to clean them after each usage.

Wash your hands

After touching an infested plant, always wash your hands.

Debug outdoor plants

It is important to debug any houseplants that have spent the summer outdoors so that they are ready to be brought back inside in the autumn. Find out how to get rid of pests on plants before bringing them inside.

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10.- Final Thoughts 

The most important aspect of owning houseplants is the prevention of pests. It can be a daunting task trying to keep the garden pest free, but with the right know-how, it’s totally doable!

You can start by selecting house plants that are resistant to environmental inconveniences. Consider the amount of light your space gets and the typical humidity and temperature changes.

This will help you understand which plants will be less prone to attacks from various pests, such as aphids, mealybugs, and scales. I also recommend thoroughly inspecting the leaves from bottom to top for any signs of insects or larvae and providing adequate nutrition during the growing season through natural fertilizers such as fish emulsion or liquid kelp.

Once the plants are on board, regular inspections throughout the seasons should become second nature and help minimize the risk of pest infestations spreading quickly. To recap, here are 10 ways to prevent and get rid of houseplant pests:

  1. Keep plants healthy with regular watering, fertilizing, and grooming.
  2. Repot plants into fresh, sterilized soil to prevent pests.
  3. Make sure all houseplants have adequate drainage holes in their pots.
  4. Inspect new houseplants before bringing them home to avoid introducing pests to your collection.
  5. Provide good air circulation around the plant – keep away from drafts and open windows or doors when possible.
  6. Give your houseplant access to plenty of indirect light during the day for sustained growth and health.
  7. Regularly wipe down leaves with a damp cloth or 10% vinegar solution to remove dust, dirt, and potential pests from surfaces where they thrive.
  8. Prune away dead or dying foliage that can become breeding grounds for pests like fungus gnats or spider mites.
  9. Experiment with natural remedies such as neem oil, garlic spray, or diatomaceous earth to combat potential pest issues before they rise again later in the season.
  10. Use certified organic pesticides when needed but sparingly due to the risks of over-application for humans and plant health alike!

Get Rid of Common Houseplant Pests – FAQ

What are spider mites?

Spider mites are tiny spider-like creatures that infest indoor plants and feed on their sap. They are usually red, black, or brown and can be difficult to see with the naked eye. Spider mites are a common houseplant pest and can quickly damage a plant if left unchecked.

What are fungus gnats?

Fungus gnats are small flies that infest indoor plants and feed on the fungus in the potting soil. They are usually black or brown and can be difficult to see with the naked eye. Fungus gnats are a common houseplant pest and can quickly damage a plant if left unchecked.

What is neem oil?

Neem oil is a natural insecticide made from the seeds of the neem tree. It is safe for humans and pets but is deadly to most insects. Neem oil is a common ingredient in many commercial insecticides. It is an effective way to get rid of the most common indoor plant pests.

What are soft-bodied insects?

Soft-bodied insects are a group of common houseplant pests that includes aphids, whiteflies, and mealybugs. These pests feed on the sap of plants and can quickly damage them if left unchecked. Soft-bodied insects are often difficult to control with insecticides and can be resistant to many common pesticides.

To which pests are young plants more susceptible?

Young plants are more susceptible to houseplant bugs such as spider mites, fungus, and insects, and these pests can quickly damage a young plant.

Can I add natural pesticides to a spray bottle?

Yes, you can add natural pesticides to a spray bottle. However, it is important to read the instructions on the pesticide label carefully and follow them closely. Some natural pesticides can be harmful to humans if used improperly.

How to Get Rid of Common Houseplant Pests

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M.Arch. Julio Arco
M.Arch. Julio Arco

Bachelor of Architecture - ITESM University
Master of Architecture - McGill University
Architecture in Urban Context Certificate - LDM University
Interior Designer - Havenly
Architecture Professor - ITESM University

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