Houseplants can add color and beauty to your home and are relatively low-maintenance comparing to outdoor gardening, which makes them ideal for apartment dwellers. However, you still need to care for them by preventing insects and disease from destroying them.
Gnats, aphids, fruit flies, and spider mites are all common insects that can attack your plants. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to prevent bugs in your houseplants, which will work best when used in conjunction.
1. Choose the right plants. When selecting houseplants, make certain that you pick species that are suited for the amount of light they are going to experience. Plants in improper lighting conditions suffer from stress, which makes them more susceptible to bug infestations.
2- Make sure your houseplants are potted in sterile soil. While bacteria, fungus, and insects are a vital component of outdoor soil health, houseplants are better planted in store bought potting mix, which will generally be sterile. Using outdoor garden soil can introduce insect larvae into your houseplants.
•Make sure to include a drainage layer of gravel at the bottom of each houseplant pot. Poorly drained soil can saturate the roots, leaving them more susceptible to insect attack.
3- Clean your houseplants regularly. Dust buildup on your houseplants leaves often contains organic compounds (like skin cells or pet hair) that insects can feed on. Furthermore, insects like mites thrive in thick layers of dust and will be less likely to infest a clean plant.
•Large houseplant leaves can be gently wiped with a moistened rag. Use as nonabrasive a cloth as you can find; microfiber cloths work well for this task.
•Plants with many small leaves can be picked up and submerged into a sink full of lukewarm, slightly soapy water. Swish the leaves around a bit and then turn the plant right side up to dry.
4. Monitor your plants for insect damage. Most infestations can be mitigated if you inspect your plants regularly so you can catch the early signs and do something quickly to combat it. Leaves that are discolored, display speckles, mottle, and chewing can be a sign that insects are present.
5. Control existing insect infestations. Prune any discolored leaves away and throw them away. Small insects like aphids and mealybugs can be removed by rubbing the plant's leaves with a cloth moistened with soapy water.
6. Know when to give up on a plant. Unfortunately, houseplants that are badly infested with insects cannot be helped. In this case, it would be best if you throw the plant away before the insects spread to other plants in the house.