8 Pest Control Solutions For Houseplants
No home feels complete without the addition of houseplants — a classic Boston fern in the kitchen, a majesty palm in the living room, an orchid on the dining room table. There are so many great benefits of having houseplants around! They improve the air quality in your home, promote mental well-being, and add a sense of comfort and beauty to any room.
While there’s a lot of perks that come with having houseplants, there’s a slight drawback as well — pests. Even plants that are indoors all year long have the potential to be affected by these unwanted guests, who can be just as aggravating as their outdoor counterparts. How do they get in, you may ask? They enter your home on fresh produce, through open doors and windows, in potting soil, on cut flowers from the garden, and more.
The first step to solving a pest problem is to know the tell-tale signs of an infestation and to identify the pests that might be harming your houseplants. If your plant’s color and texture have changed or the leaves look misshapen, this could be because of insects that have set up camp in the pot. Taking a minute each day to inspect your plants can help you diagnose a pest issue before it really begins, giving your plants a better chance to survive.
Even if pests are present, there’s no need to panic just yet. There are plenty of homemade pest solutions to save your houseplants from those bothersome bugs!
For tips on how to remove pests throughout the home, check out Home Pest Control Techniques for Homeowners.
How to Get Rid of Pests with Homemade Pest Solutions
Using DIY pest control methods at home can save you time and money, so it’s worth giving these a shot before you head to the store. Before trying any of the homemade pest solutions below, isolate the infested plants from your other house plants so that the pests don’t spread to others. Once you identify the plants that need pest control, test out the method of your choice on one leaf to see how your plant reacts to it before covering the whole thing.
1. Water rinse
We know this sounds pretty obvious, but this method is easy to overlook. When it comes to fighting off pests, water is definitely on your side. Place the infected plant in your sink and rinse it off by holding it under the running tap. Washing the pests away is the simplest way to get rid of them, so we recommend trying this out if your plant is small enough to fit in the sink. If it’s a larger plant, take it outside and lightly hose it down to rinse the pests away. Be careful when dousing and try to avoid getting water in the pot itself, as you don’t want to drown the plant.
2. Soapy water
Mix one teaspoon of dish soap with a liter of water, put it into a spray bottle, and go to town! Spraying this solution on your houseplants will kill insects on contact. Test it out by spraying one leaf first to make sure the plant isn’t sensitive to the soap. You can reapply once a week if you don’t see results right away.
3. Rubbing alcohol
If you can clearly identify clusters of pests like aphids and mealybugs, this may be the best option. Dab a Q-tip in rubbing alcohol and run it along the infected leaves to remove the insects from the plant. Be careful not to get alcohol in the soil, as it can dry out the plant.
4. Eucalyptus oil
Essential oils aren’t just for aromatherapy, they’re also effective for pest control. Take ¼ of a teaspoon of eucalyptus oil and mix it with one cup of water in a spray bottle. Spray the affected plants once a week until you don’t see the pests anymore. Bonus — this also provides a minty smell that works as a natural air freshener!
5. Garlic and hot pepper spray
Put two cloves of garlic and six hot peppers into a blender with half a cup of water and puree them. Strain the mixture so that it’s all liquid and put it in a spray bottle. Spray the pest-infested plants every few days until the strong smell drives them away! Warning: this will create a strong scent of garlic and peppers, so avoid this method if you don’t like those smells.
If you have a bottle of vinegar lying around, it could be the perfect pest control solution! Start by adding one cup of vinegar to three cups of water, then mix it in a spray bottle. Spray the solution on your houseplants and the strong scent will irritate the insects enough that they’ll find food elsewhere. Spray every few days until you notice they’re gone.
7. Pyrethrum spray
Pyrethrum, a plant genus more commonly known as chrysanthemum, is a kind of flower whose essence is toxic to many insects. Gather a handful of chrysanthemums and boil them in three cups of water, then place the water and flowers into a spray bottle. Spray the infected plants with the solution and it will paralyze the bugs on contact.
8. Tomato leaves
Have tomatoes growing in your garden? Cut the leaves off of the fruit and chop them into small pieces. Then place the chopped up leaves into a quart of water and let it sit overnight. The next day, strain the leaves out and then spray the water onto your houseplants. Tomatoes contain an organic compound called tomatine that helps to control aphids and other insects, so this solution should take care of the problem.
With spring quickly approaching, plants will be making a major comeback! They’re waking up from their winter slumber and are ready to find a place in your home. To prepare yourself this season, stay on top of your homemade pest solutions and keep an eye out for changes in your houseplants that could be attributed to an infestation.
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