Insects And Interior Plants

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

indoor plants-insects-and-interior-plants
Bamboo palm and Peace lily

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

Plant pest

Mealybugs-indoor plants-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.

  1. 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.


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About the author

+ posts

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.

27 thoughts on “Insects And Interior Plants”

  1. This is a very informative post as usual, I enjoy reading and learning on your site. I did not know there were so many indoor pests! I am not a big indoor plant lover, however I do have a few that have been given to me. One is a cactus (low water), one I’m not sure (medium water) and another that requires more water. My question is this, how do you know when a cactus is getting low on moisture. Others are easily identified by limp leaves.

    • Hello again, you have ask a good question. Cactus should be water once a month, to know if you plant needs water use a soil probe, long pencil, or a piece of tree branch long enough to reach the very bottom of soil. If after checking soil, soil is still moist and clings to whatever you use to test soil with, you should not water cactus. wait until soil is completely dry and then give your cactus plant another drink of water. Hope this helps, all the best to you and have a good day.

  2. What a great post. I love indoor plants but don’t have that green thumb.

    Now I know I add too much water as I have few aloe vera plants and the tips are yellow. I try not to put too much and not frequent but still tips are yellow. Would cutting the yellow tips help?

    • Hello terry it is so good to meet you. Aloe is some what like cactus when it comes to water, aloe can survive on very little water. Too much water will cause the leaves to turn mushy and cause the tips to turn yellow, solution, Plant your aloe in sandy soil.

      Sandy soils are great of drainage and your plant should bounce back. Or if you don’t have sandy soil you can visit your garden center and see what they have or you can buy a bag of sand and mix it with your soil, I would use more sand and less soil, this should work also. Do not use sand of the beach even though it is free because sand that is on the beach has salt which can cause your plant to decline. Hope this helps, all the best to you and have a good day. And please do let me know how it goes.

  3. Hi Norman, THANKYOU! Yes I am one of those people that’s bought plants for indoors and then in a couple of weeks they end up looking unhealthy! Really appreciate the hints and tips. Now I will know what to look for next time when I, looking to buy my next interior plants!
    Cheers, Amanda 🙂

    • Hello Amanda it is so good to meet you and I am glad that I could help, all the best to you and wishing you the best of success. have a good day.

  4. I am back to read your article again. So much information. I have a question, my reason for revisiting your site, is what insect could be causing leaves to turn brown or could this be from another issue? I had flies in the house and I used a dish detergent/water mix to spray them. Some got on this plant and I wiped it off. Could this have caused the leaves to go brown? Would love to see more pictures of the affects of insects, etc.

    • Hello Matt’s Mom it is so good to see you, The brown leaves on your plant can come from many factors. It could insects so check well for insects both the top and undersides of leaves, a lack of water can cause leaves to turn brown and in some cases it can be over watering also, so check soil, then it might be a build up of salt from over fertilizing if this is the case flush soil with water so salt can leach or change salt. Other factors could be area where you have plant my be to hot, and a know fact is using using city water that is high I chlorine. These are some of the things to look for. Hope this helps, let me know how it goes and have a good day.

  5. Hi,thanks for the great tips on how to take care of the indoor plants.Knowing that the plant will clean the interior air,I intend to buy some and place it inside my room.

    I prefer those low maintenance and colorful plant.Can you recommend me some of it? Bugs and insects is what stopping me from putting this plant in my room for the past 1 year.I worry about the ants especially.Will this indoor plant attract ants? Will these bugs and insects cause any diseases?

    • Hello lllusionzTan it is so good to meet you and I am glad that I could help, That colourful plant is called a croton plant and there are many species of them. When purchasing a plant like a croton it must come from the shade house from your nursery if you are using it indoors and this type of plant requires direct or bright light which means that you must place it in and are of the house that gets a lot of sunlight coming through.

      If you follow the maintenance direction for this plant you should not have any problems, Just keep soil most, not water logged, to much water will cause leaves to drop off and disease to take over, like root rot. You can also purchase insecticidal soap from you garden centre so in the event of insect attacking you plant just apply according to directions on bottle. Hope this helps, wishing you all the best and please let me know how it goes. Have a good day.

  6. Spidermites? sounds like something from a movie! never heard of them. your post is great. your site is better. thanks for the post. i will put it in my favourites.
    me and the mrs we do gardening, but have insufficient knowledge. same things goes with plants. we go to the shops and buy what we feel nice. then when they die, sad, chuck it in the bin. we do not ask or even thought of the questions you have mentioned. it has certainly got me thinking. i will show the mrs. i do know remember seeing any pests on our plants. they do look quite big on your pics. are they tiny or what? thank you.

    • Hello Arif I is so good to meet you , thanks for those kind words and I am glad that I could help. Those pictures that you are seeing is not that big, it was just made that way so persons like yourself would get a clearer view, Wishing you the best of success with your gardening All the best to you and have a good day.

  7. Very interesting article!
    I bet you have seen your share of pests in this line of work.
    My indoor plants are classified as one category, low maintenance, lol
    I am terrible at taking care of them but do love them just the same.
    I will have to take a closer look at your website and start doing a bit more research so my plants can look a bit more lively!


    • Hello Shawn it is so good to meet you, It is all in knowing how and I know that you can do it. All the best to you and have a good day, and please let me know how it goes.

  8. Fantastic and expansive information of gardening indoor and outdoor. I thoroughly enjoyed perusing through the site as I have had interest in growing vegetables for a few years now. One suggestion I could offer would be to try and combine some of the tabs so there aren’t so many of them. Overall, a fantastic presentation and large stock of facts. Great site.

    • Hello Joe it is so good to meet you, I am glad that I could help and thanks a million for your advice. All the best to you and have a good day.

  9. I am very interested in your content and expertise on this page. Wow!! I love your depth of knowledge and incredible amount of information that you offer. I would like to keep your information close for future use.

    I can’t have indoor plants since my cats destroy them, but I have wondered what those horrible white bumps were that look kind of like mold or fungus.

    I’m more of an outdoor gardener and wonder if outside plants succumb to the same pests as the indoor ones? If so, what is the best way to rid the insects naturally without chemicals?

    Thank you so much for allowing me to view your fantastic data bank of knowledge.

  10. I am so glad I found your site. I have terrible trouble with keeping infoor plants alive that I have virtually given up. The plant I seem to be given most often and which I seem to kill within a couple of weeks is a phalaenopsis. How often and how much water should I be giving it? My house is rather hot, especially in summer, and I fear that I am drying it out. I have an aromatherapy diffuser near it and I was hoping thet mist from the diffuser might help it but is it safe to use a diffuser beside a plant? Sorry for so many questions but I really do need your help. Thanks in advance.

    • Hello my good lady it is so good to meet you and I am more that happy to help you with your concerns. So no problem, ask all the questions you want , I am here to help you where I can, it is my pleasure. I worked with phalaenopsis before and these are very beautiful orchids.

      Care of Phalaenopsis: This plant should not be place in direct sunlight because leaves can burn very easy, these plants will do find indoors under normal lighting condition. Mist the leaves with water, you can purchase a spray bottle for this, also make sure the growing medium or moss is some what dump not water logged. To much water will cause flowers to drop and leaves to turn yellow and brown with indicates at this point that leaves are dead.

      water plant once a week, but check moisture level before watering. The temperature should be in the range of 60-65 degrees F at nights and 75-85 degrees F at day time. Feed you plant with a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen. Feed you plant once a month. one teaspoon to a gallon of water.

      Under very cool condition the plant may not bud. Some times the water from the faucet can be to harsh for our orchid plant so this too can be taken into consideration. Using room temperature bottle may help if faucet water is to harsh.

      Hope this helps, and please let me know how it goes. All the best to you and have a good day.

  11. I think indoor plants certainly make a difference when placed in the right areas around the home or in an office building.

    We have a Zanzibar in our living room which has lovely glossy green leaves and it looks great as it doesn’t need too much maintenance or water. Even though it’s quite a durable plant, we keep it out of direct sunlight and it’s flourishing quite well.

    Whenever the wife & I get any plants at the nursery, whether they be indoor or outdoor plants, I always check the little tag that comes with them, because it gives you very useful info on how to look after them.

    • Hello Adrian its so good to hear from you, and you are doing the right thing, always check tag for care of plant. Thanks fro sharing all the best to you my friend.

  12. Well….some of the pictures of bugs really grossed me out! That said, you’re post was EXTREMELY helpful. I’ve never seen so much information about indoor plants and bugs in one article. And your links to other pages was definitely engaging. After reading your post, I now know where I’ve gone wrong with my plants. I like that many of your bad bug solutions was just using soap and water. Everyone has that! Thanks for all the information.

    • Hello Diane it is so good to meet you, glad that I could help and thanks a million for those very kind words, all the best to you and have a good day.

  13. Hello, Norman.
    Thank you for a very informative post. I knew that light, water, and fertilizer were really important for interior plants. Now I found they need to be cleaned regularly too. Very interesting.

    I like plants, but I do not have enough patience for their care. Zamia is the only plant that has managed to stay alive in my office. It is really low maintenance plant.

    Do you know what an optimal amount of water for zamia is?

    • Hello lgor if you are talking about the Z Z plant then water only after soil has dried out a bit, I have worked with Z Z plants for ears and they are like cactus. They can survive on very little and still look their best. Hope this helps, all the best to you and have a good day.

  14. Norman

    You got a great website very rich content. Personally am a passionate farmer who love spending my free time playing with the soil. Have done lot of research on farming. I had even a Facebook page called farming advisory. I will be frequent visitor now..Cheers..


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