Houseplant pests are the worst, but we are here to help. Here are a few tips to help you prevent pest problems with indoor plants.
Don’t overwater your houseplants. Soil that stays moist for a long time is the perfect breeding ground for fungus gnats. These annoying tiny flies, often confused with fruit flies, won’t harm your plants. You can also employ yellow sticky traps to help catch as many adults as possible.
Regularly inspect indoor plants for signs of pests.
Check the undersides of leaves and joints where limbs meet the main stem. Look for specks on the leaves (many pests), fuzzy white bumps (mealybugs), spider webs (spider mites), or clusters of tiny hard bumps (scale). If you find evidence of pests, you should quarantine the affected plants immediately and treat the infestation quickly. In addition, look for yellowing leaves or spots, mold or fungus growing on the soil, and watch for wilting.
Quarantine any new plants you bring home to prevent new pests from spreading.
Be careful when you introduce new plants. First, quarantine them, preferably in a room with no other plants, for at least two weeks. Then, check them every couple of days for signs of pests.
Ensure your indoor plants have good air circulation.
Stale air that’s not moving creates an ideal environment for many pests. So it’s not a bad idea to keep a fan running in rooms with lots of plants to keep the air circulating well to help prevent mold and pests.
Wash your plants occasionally.
Giving your plants a shower of tepid water, whether in the sink or actually in the shower, does two things: it helps get the dust off the leaves, and a good spray down of all the leaves, tops and bottoms, the stems, and the pot, can help keep pests down.