February 03, 2019

Making sure you give your plants the proper amounts of lighting and water isn’t all there is to taking good care of them. It’s also important to monitor them closely for any signs of pests. Indoor plants can be just as susceptible to bugs and insects as their outdoor counterparts. The lack of natural atmosphere indoors gives bugs and insects the ideal conditions to develop and reproduce. Without wind or rain to brush them away, your houseplants rely on you to protect them from pests.

To help you deal with these creepy critters, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common houseplant bugs and the best ways to get rid of them.


Commonly found on houseplants, aphids deter growth by feeding on a plant’s sap, which removes vital nutrients. They also excrete honeydew, a substance that can attract mold and form black patches, and also lead to the spread of disease to other plants. To deal with aphids:

  • If infestation is small, wipe off plants with soft cloth soaked in water
  • Wash plants with strong spray of water
  • Encourage native predators like lacewings or ladybugs
  • For more severe cases, apply horticultural oil, hot pepper wax, or insecticidal soap


Scale insects can be difficult to notice sometimes. They attach themselves to stems and the undersides of leaves, feeding off sap and weakening the plant. They also leave behind honeydew that can cause more problems for the plant. Their shells protect them from things like pesticides, so the best ways to deal with scales are:

  • Wipe/scrape off with cotton pad or Q-tip soaked in rubbing alcohol
  • Physically scrape off consistently to control infestation
  • Encourage native predators
  • Spray with neem-based pesticide

Spider Mites

Spider mites are nearly impossible to see with the naked eye, as they’re incredibly small, but they can be found with the help of a magnifying glass. These bugs can cover a plant with fine, silky webbing that they use to move around. They feed on sap, which will cause a plant’s leaves to start turning a yellow, washed-out color. To deal with a spider mite infestation:

  • Isolate your plant
  • Wash of the bugs with a spray of water
  • Use soap and water to keep the plant clean
  • Apply light-weight horticultural oil every 10-14 days for best results


These small, moth-like bugs don’t fare well in freezing weather, so they thrive in indoor spaces where they’re protected from the cold. Like other pests, they feed on sap, which leads to honeydew excretions that can attract mold. Adult whiteflies will fly away if the plant is disturbed, so washing them off won’t work to get rid of them. The best ways to get rid of whiteflies are:

  • Spray plant regularly to get rid of larva/baby whiteflies
  • Trap adult whiteflies using yellow sticky cards above plant tops
  • Apply insecticidal soap and horticultural oil on leaves


Author: Angela Morilla

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