Controlling Insects on Indoor plants
In this article, we will be looking at insects that invade our homes and attack our interior plants. Have you ever purchased a plant from your plant nursery hoping it would add flavor to that area that needed a facelift along with the hopes that this plant would also purify the air by removing impurities
only to find your plant not doing as well and starts to take on a sickly appearance, your trophy or your prize that you thought would purify the air along with adding beauty now becomes an eyesore? What went wrong?
Care of interior plants
When purchasing interior plants, there are a few things that you must know if you are to have success. Knowing what to look for and what to do makes a big difference in how that plant will respond to you and how well it will do in the weeks, months, and probably years to come.
I worked as an interior plantscape technician for many years for a five-star resort and had the pleasure of working on many projects bringing a complete change to those areas that we serviced. But the time would arise as expected when our little- uninvited guests (insects) would seek to help themselves by feeding on our plants.
Follow this link to see some examples of indoor plants, these plants are beautiful and can make a world of difference.
When purchasing interior plants from your garden center here are some questions to ask.
1. What is the light intensity or how much light does this plant need in order to survive? Some interior plants like high to medium and then there are some that like medium to low light. Knowing this is very important.
2. Water- Interior plants are divided into two groups which are high maintenance and low maintenance, which simply means that different species of plants require a different amount of water to survive. If you overwater a plant for example such as z z plants you will notice that the leaves will begin to turn yellow because z z plant is considered to be a low-maintenance plant and does not like much water.
On the other hand, a plant such as a peace lily is considered to be a high-maintenance plant and the soil of this plant must be kept moist at all times to keep plants in good health.
3. Fertilizer- Make sure that you fertilize your plant according to the label on the fertilizer bag, you can use water-soluble quick release or slow or controlled release. Quick-release means that the fertilizers are taken up much faster because it is in liquid form, with a slow-release fertilizer the nutrients are released over a longer period of time.
Here are two links that you can follow that talk about quick and slow-release fertilizers.
4. Dust- Dust your plants on a regular basis, this not only helps plants to look attractive but keeps dust from clogging the stomata, the stomata are the small openings in plant leaves that are responsible for the exchange of gasses. such as oxygen and carbon dioxide
For more on how to take care of indoor plants follow this link, interior plant scape care.
Insects and interior plants
Then you have plant pest that feeds on our plants, there are two types, there are chewing insects that eat parts of the plant leaves and you have sucking insects that suck the sap or juice from your plant. Most interior plants are attacked by sucking insects
and the danger of sucking insects is that many of them can transfer diseases to your interior plants.
Here is a link that you can follow that will help you to identify some of these plant pests, all of these are not interior plant scape related but you can move down the list and identify the ones I listed in this article.
- Mealybugs, 2. Spider mites, 3. Scales, 4. Aphids, 5. Slugs, 6. Snails
Signs and control
Signs of mealybugs- are a white cottony white mass or a build-up on plant leaves, on both the top, especially on the undersides of leaves. You can either wipe them off with a solution of dish liquid and water, insecticidal soap, or other products you find at your garden center.
Signs of spider mite- leaves take on a dusty appearance with the spider web on the leaves, the mite lives on the underside of the leaves. You may not see them at first, but under heavy infestation, you will feel them crawling on your hands. Insecticidal soaps will bring this problem under control or other pesticides from your garden center.
Signs of scales- scales are insects that remain very still on plants, they are tiny and their bodies look like and armor. There are many species of scales. Control methods include dish liquid and water. Use a tsp spoon of dish liquid in a gallon of water place it in a spray bottle and shake well
when applying the solution make sure to get the top and underside of the leaves. Insecticidal soap or other products from your garden center can bring this problem under control. Signs that scales are dead are scales flaking off plants when you either dust plants with a duster or wipe plants with a damp cloth.
Signs of slugs- signs of slugs include parts of leaves being eaten along with a clear substance when dry hardens on leaves. Control slugs by handpicking and dropping in a bucket of water and dish liquid or you can buy slug baits and apply them to the plant pot. But caution should be taken when pets and children are present.
Signs of snails- the same signs and control of slugs apply to snails also.
Signs of aphids- aphids can usually be found on the new growth of plants and has a pear-shaped body. Control methods include the same as that of mealy bugs.
Insects and interior plants
Note: In order to ensure that your plants remain healthy too, give them the required amount of water and fertilizer while keeping them clean. Insects normally attack plants that are stress
So know your plants and give them what they need.
The final word
When purchasing interior plants make sure to check plants for insects, off-color which means the plant might have a nutrient deficiency, the soil should be moist, not dry, and separate when touched unless you are purchasing a low-maintenance plant.
The overall appearance of a plant should be healthy-looking not chewed leaves or broken branches. If plant roots are exposed by making a circle, then climb to the top of the soil surface this means that the plant is root-bound and may cause some problems.
So add some interior plants to spice up that area, while keeping the air pure and clean.
About the author
Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.