How To Get Rid Of Houseplant Pests Easily & Naturally

mindbodygreen Editorial Assistant By Sarah Regan
mindbodygreen Editorial Assistant

Sarah Regan is a writer, registered yoga instructor, and Editorial Assistant at mindbodygreen. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Indoor Plants On A Table At Home

Image by BONNINSTUDIO / Stocksy

Ever noticed flies around your houseplants? Or speckled leaves? Many plant parents out there are all too aware that their precious plants can quickly become havens for pests like gnats, spider mites, and aphids. But have no fear—saving greenery from bugs doesn't have to be difficult. Here's how to get rid of pests and keep your plants healthy going forward.

Common causes of plant pests.

So, what causes these pests in the first place? According to Brittany Gowan, creator of Pause With Plants, houseplants can attract unwelcome visitors when they're in an environment that isn't conducive to their needs. "Following the guidelines for lighting, water, soil composition, and temperature for each plant will help to curb the onset of pests," she says. "For example, potting soil that is not well draining and retains too much moisture can create a breeding ground for pests."

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The telltale signs of a pest.

There are a number of things to look for if you're keeping an eye out for pests. Aside from actually seeing bugs on your plants, you'll want to look closely at the leaves. If there are holes in the them, there's a very good chance it's a bug problem. Also, Gowan says, spots, speckling, and yellowing or pale leaves aren't good signs. Plants that are dropping leaves may also be exhibiting a pest problem.

"Other signs include webbing on the underside of leaves and pieces of leaves that seem extra shiny with a sticky substance, called honeydew," Gowan adds.

How to get rid of them.

To get rid of pests, Gowan suggests simply wiping each leaf down with a damp towel. If your plant needs a little more TLC, you can mix a tiny bit of dish soap in with the water before wiping down. Spray the plant with water afterward until all the soap residue is gone.

"Neem oil is also a go-to for pest control," she adds. It's a natural insecticide, and to use it, you simply add 2 tablespoons to a gallon of water and spray your plant down.

To keep your plants healthy and pest-free long term, make sure you're giving them proper lighting, water, soil, etc., and repeat the cleaning and spraying method every two to three weeks, or as needed. This should help keep pests at bay for good and keep your favorite plants healthy and clean.

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