Houseplant insects

The depths of winter are upon us but if you happen to look up you will see a sign or two of spring already as the branches of many of our trees are getting the leaf buds ready for warmer temperatures. However, we have some time to wait while Old Man Winter decides to release his grip on us. This means enjoying our houseplants just a little bit more. There are times when we have a lot of questions about what to do to make sure that they are being cared for appropriately. The houseplants in my house currently sit in a western window with a grow light over the top of them. I currently have succulents, a few potted plants from this fall such as geraniums, a hibiscus and spider plants sitting in my little garden in the basement. Since I have them bunched up, it is important to make sure that they are disease and pest free.

The U of M Extension has a wonderful website for helping to answer those questions about houseplants. The webpage is located at The great part of this webpage is that it also is providing some wonderful pictures so it makes it so easy to figure out what pest is “bugging” your plants.

The main points of the webpage are pointed towards keeping your houseplants pest free but it also touches bases on fertilizing and the best potting soil for your houseplants. The tricky part of houseplant pests is that quite often they are tiny little insects and often times they will change the color of the leaves of the plants before you will notice much else going on with them. So, take note, if you have houseplants that the leaves are changing colors, then it is time to really take a close look at the plants in your home. You may find that since one plant has an insect, you may find it on one or more of your other houseplants too. If you are like me and group your houseplants together, you may run a little higher risk at having a houseplant pest go through your plants a little quicker.

Houseplant insects are not all treated by using chemicals either. There are many techniques that you can use to remove houseplant insects. The website will help you to discover some of these techniques which will include using a cotton swab to remove certain insects, to washing them off to pruning them off too. If this still doesn’t work for you, one of the best techniques in removing insects is to use a houseplant insecticide and then moving the whole plant into an appropriate sized plastic bag for about a week. Close up the top and let the plant sit under the grow lights or in the sunlight. This will make sure that any pests that are still crawling around on the plant will eventually meet their end.

The use of pesticides must always be used with caution and as a last resort. If you have a pesticide that has been your go to product, make sure that even though you have used it several times before, that you are reviewing the instructions on how to use it. Pesticides, whether they are used in your garden outside or on your houseplants, can also kill good insects too.

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