Insecticide for indoor plants

These natural and DIY pesticides are effective at helping to rid your crops of harmful critters, but safe enough to keep from poisoning you and your family.

There’s nothing like having a home garden to make you begin to appreciate the trials and tribulations of the farmers who grow our food. Between weather, weeds, and insects, not to mention the challenges of soil fertility, it can be an incredibly humbling experience to try to put food on the table with a home garden – especially when adhering to organic protocols that don’t rely on quick, yet potentially harmful, solutions, such as herbicides, pesticides, and conventional fertilizers. We’ve written previously about homemade herbicides, which can help you get a handle on noxious or invasive weeds without as much labor as hand-weeding, and this time around, we’re taking aim at insect pests, which have the potential to turn your formerly lush garden into their own insect all-you-can-eat buffet.

When it comes to keeping your crops healthy in the face of massive quantities of plant-munching bugs insects, there are a number of approaches that can help turn the tide in favor of your own harvests, and while removing insects by hand is one time-tested method, it can also be incredibly challenging to do so, or can be too little too late. Another, far less time-intensive method of knocking back insect populations is by applying natural or homemade insecticides, which can reduce their numbers or eliminate them all together. Not all bugs insects are harmful, so applying insecticides indiscriminately, especially harsh pesticides that affect even the beneficial insects, can have a detrimental effect on your local garden ecosystem.

8 Natural and homemade insecticides

1. Oil spray insecticide

A homemade insecticide made from vegetable oil mixed with a mild soap (such as Dr. Bronners castile soap) can have a devastating effect on certain troublesome insects, such as aphids, mites, thrips, etc. To make a basic oil spray insecticide, mix 1 cup of vegetable oil with 1 tablespoon of soap (cover and shake thoroughly), and then when ready to apply, add 2 teaspoons of the oil spray mix with 1 quart of water, shake thoroughly, and spray directly on the surfaces of the plants which are being affected by the little pests. The oil coats the bodies of the insects, effectively suffocating them, as it blocks the pores through which they breathe.

2. Soap spray insecticide

A very similar homemade pesticide to the oil spray is a soap spray, which is also effective for controlling mites, aphids, whiteflies, beetles, and other hungry little insects. To make a basic soap spray insecticide, mix 1 1/2 teaspoons of a mild liquid soap (such as castile soap) with 1 quart of water, and spray the mixture directly on the infected surfaces of the plants. A soap spray insecticide works in a similar fashion as an oil spray pesticide, and can be applied as necessary (though it is always recommended to NOT apply it during the hot sunny part of the day, but rather in the evenings or early mornings).

3. Neem oil insecticide

An oil extracted from the seeds of the neem tree is a powerful natural insecticide, capable of disrupting the life cycle of insects at all stages (adult, larvae, and egg), making it a great resource for the organic gardener. Neem oil acts as a hormone disruptor and as an “antifeedant” for insects that feed on leaves and other plant parts. Neem oil is biodegradable and is nontoxic to pets, birds, fish, and other wildlife, and is effective against a variety of common garden insect pests, as well as being a natural fungicide that can combat powder mildew and other fungal infections on plants. It can be found at many garden stores or natural foods markets. To use neem oil as an insecticide, either follow the instructions on the bottle, or start out with a basic mixture of 2 teaspoons neem oil and 1 teaspoon of mild liquid soap shaken thoroughly with 1 quart of water, and then sprayed on the affected plant foilage. Neem oil can also be used preventatively by spraying the leaves of plants that are often ravaged by pests, before they’re actually infested.

4. Diatomaceous earth as a natural pesticide

This natural substance with a somewhat unwieldy name is made from a sedimentary rock created by fossilized algae (diatoms), and which is a rather abundant resource (diatomaceous earth is said to make up 26% of the earth’s crust by weight). Diatomaceous earth has a number of uses in and around the home, and acting as a natural insecticide is just one of them. This material works not by poisoning or smothering the insects, but instead by virtue of its abrasive qualities and its affinity for absorbing the lipids (a waxy substance) from insects’ exoskeleton, which then dehydrates them to death. Diatomaceous earth is often available at garden stores, although many times only in large bags, so if you’ve got a small yard, consider splitting it with a neighbor. To apply, simply dust the ground around your plants, or even sprinkle it on the foliage, where it will help control snails and slugs as well as other crawling insects. Due to its dried nature, in order to be an effective natural pesticide, diatomaceous earth needs to be reapplied after every rain.

5. Garlic insecticide spray

Garlic is well-known for its pungent aroma, which is delectable to some and yet repellent to others, and it is this strong scent that comes into play when used as a natural insecticide. Actually, it’s not really clear if garlic spray and chile spray (below) are actually insecticides or are more likely insect repellents, but either way, these common kitchen ingredients can be used to knock down, or even knock out, insect infestations in the garden. To make a basic garlic spray, take 2 whole bulbs (not just 2 cloves) and puree them in a blender or food processor with a small amount of water. quart of water. Let the mixture sit overnight, then strain it into a quart jar, adding 1/2 cup of vegetable oil (optional), 1 teaspoon of mild liquid soap, and enough water to fill the jar. To use this homemade insecticide, use 1 cup of mixture with 1 quart of water and spray liberally on infested plants.

6. Chile pepper insecticide spray

Similar to garlic spray, chile pepper spray is a great homemade natural insect repellent that can be used for a variety of different pests. Chile spray can be made from either fresh hot peppers or chile pepper powder. To make a basic chile spray from pepper powder, mix 1 tablespoon of chile powder with 1 quart of water and several drops of mild liquid soap. This mixture can be used full-strength on the leaves of affected plants. To make chile spray from fresh chile peppers, blend or puree 1/2 cup of peppers with 1 cup of water, then add 1 quart of water and bring to a boil. Let sit until cooled, then strain out the chile material, add several drops of liquid soap to it and spray as desired.

7. All-in-one homemade insecticide spray

From the folks at Rodale’s Organic Life comes this all-in-one DIY natural insecticide, which is said to be a combination of many different recipes submitted by readers. To make it, puree 1 bulb of garlic and 1 small onion, add 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder and let steep for an hour. Strain the mixture and add 1 tablespoon of liquid soap and mix well. To apply this homemade insecticide, spray it full-strength onto both the upper surface of the leaves, as well as the undersides, and store the remainder in the refrigerator for up to a week if desired.

8. Tomato leaf as a natural insecticide

I have to admit that this one is new to me, but I’ve seen enough mentions of it now to warrant its inclusion here as a natural pesticide. Tomato plants are part of the nightshade family, and as such, contain alkaloids such as the aptly named “tomatine,” which can effectively control aphids and other insects. To make tomato leaf spray for a natural insecticide, chop 2 cups of fresh tomato leaves (which can be taken from the bottom part of the plant) into 1 quart of water, and let steep overnight. Strain out the plant material and spray onto plant foliage.

Make, use, and observe, then modify

Although there are many more natural pesticides available, such as Bt (a soil microbe toxic to certain insects), milky spore (also a microbe), nicotine (extracted as a tea from bulk tobacco), pyrethrum (derived from a variety of daisy), and iron phosphate (a natural mineral toxic to slugs and snails), the above natural and homemade insecticide recipes should give you a good starting point for creating your own version. Every organic gardener seems to have their own particular blend and ratio of ingredients, so by paying close attention to the effects of a specific recipe, it’s possible to modify it to best suit your own insect battles.

Just remember, killing off all of the insects in your garden is not the desired result here, as any healthy ecosystem requires an abundance of beneficial insects, microbes, and fungi, both in the soil and on the plants themselves, so introducing other predatory insects (ladybugs, praying mantis, etc.) or creating good habitat for them, as well as building soil fertility, can also be an effective pest management approach.

How to Care for House Plants

The difficulties you might experience with your house plants could be caused by diseases, insects or cultural practices — the care you give, or don’t give, to your plants.

The following chart will help you identify plant symptoms that are caused by cultural practices, and show you how to treat them.

House Plant Cultural Problems

Symptom Cause Treatment
Pale growth with new leaves smaller than normal. The plant stretches toward the light. Insufficient light Move plants to brighter spot or closer to light source. Supply artificial light.
Foliage wilts, potting mix is dry. Lack of water Water thoroughly.
Foliage wilts, potting mix is moist. Soil smells of decaying vegetation. Overwatering Water less frequently. Increase light so plant can better absorb water.
Growth is slow and leaves are pale in color. Lack of fertilizer Apply appropriate fertilizer regularly throughout the growing season.

Growth is stunted, leaves are yellowed. A crustlike accumulation appears at the base of the plant’s stem and on pot rim.

Buildup of mineral salts in the soil

In light cases, leach the soil thoroughly with clear water. In more severe cases, repot into fresh soil.

Plant does not bloom. Various causes (too little light, too much water, etc.) Improve growing conditions according to specific needs for each plant.

If pests are affecting your house plants, there is an increasingly wide range of biological pesticides, such as insecticidal soap, which can be used around the home without harming its other inhabitants.

It is important to use only appropriate pesticides in treating pests and diseases. Read the label carefully to make sure a pesticide is not only suited for the problem you wish to treat, but also to ensure that the product is not harmful to the plant you are treating. Always wear a mask, gloves, and long-sleeved clothing when working with chemical pesticides.

Organic pesticides are the preferred choice in an indoor environment. There are many very efficient organic insecticides and miticides — insecticidal soap, diatomaceous earth, rubbing alcohol, rotenone, pyrethrine, etc. — and powdered sulfur is a good organic fungicide.

The following chart will help you identify and treat plant conditions caused by pests.

House Plant Insects and Other Pests

Symptom Cause Treatment
Leaves take on a mottled appearance and appear dusty underneath. If the leaves are shaken over a sheet of white paper, tiny moving “spiders” are seen. In severe cases, a spidery webbing stretches between leaves. Spider mites Clean plant thoroughly with soapy water. Spray with insecticidal soap. Keep the air humid to prevent a recurrence.
Little balls of “cotton” (actually slow-moving insects or their egg cases) are seen on stems, at leaf axils, or on the plant’s root system. Leaves yellow and may become covered with secretions. Mealybugs Touch individual insects and egg cases with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. Spray the entire plant with a solution composed of 7 parts water and 1 part rubbing alcohol.
Shell- or scalelike bumps are seen on leaves and stems. Plants may yellow or become covered with secretions. Scale insects Scrape off the shells with an old toothbrush dipped in soapy water. Treat with insecticidal soap.
Green to black, round-bodied, translucent insects cluster together on new growth. Plants may yellow or become covered with secretions. Aphids Wash the plant thoroughly with a damp cloth dipped in soapy water. Treat with insecticidal soap.
Tiny, white, dandrufflike insects rise up when the plant is touched. Small translucent bumps are seen underneath the leaves. Whiteflies Use a vacuum to suck up flying adults, then wash the plant thoroughly with a damp cloth dipped in soapy water. Treat with insecticidal soap.
Leaves and foliage are streaked and mottled. Hyphen-sized insects scatter about when the plant is breathed upon. Tiny black excrements are found on infected plant parts. Thrips Remove severely infested flowers and foliage. Treat with insecticidal soap.
New growth is distorted and turns brown and dry, eventually ceasing altogether. This problem is very host-specific, affecting mostly African violets, begonias, and cyclamens. Cyclamen mites This problem is very difficult to treat. It is often best to get rid of infected plants. An appropriate miticide or repeated insecticidal soap treatments can be used if the plant has great value.
Tiny insects are seen jumping on the soil surface during watering. Springtails Springtails are basically harmless. Letting the soil dry out between waterings will discourage them.
Tiny black midges are seen hovering around plants and elsewhere in the house. Grublike larvae are seen in the soil. Fungus gnats and sand flies These insects are annoying but relatively harmless to indoor plants. Letting the soil dry out between waterings will discourage them.

Plant conditions could also be caused by diseases. The following chart will help you identify your house plant’s symptoms and learn how to treat them.

House Plant Diseases

Symptom Cause Treatment
White mold appears on leaves and flowers. Plant parts may yellow and die. Mildew Improve air circulation. Don’t moisten foliage when watering. Treat with an appropriate fungicide.
Gray, fluffy mold appears on leaves, flowers. Plant parts may yellow and die. Gray mold (botrytis) Improve air circulation. Don’t moisten foliage when watering. Treat with an appropriate fungicide.
Yellow, brown, or black spots appear on leaf surfaces and may spread until the entire leaf dies. Leaf spot Can be caused by various disease organisms. Improve the air circulation around the plant. Don’t moisten foliage when watering. Treat with an appropriate fungicide.
Black patches appear at base of stem or underground on the roots. The plant wilts and doesn’t recover even when watered. A smell of decaying vegetation may be noticeable. Root or stem rot Can be caused by various disease organisms, but is usually linked to overwatering. Start the plant over from cuttings.

The vast majority of insect and disease problems can be avoided by using only pasteurized potting mixes and carefully isolating new plants after purchase.

In the final section, we’ll talk about vacation care for house plants.

Want to learn about house plants by type? Try these:

  • House Plants
  • Full Sun House Plants
  • Bright Light House Plants
  • Filtered Light House Plants
  • Light Shade House Plants
  • Hanging Basket House Plants
  • Floor Plant House Plants
  • Table Plant House Plants
  • Terrarium Plant House Plants
  • Very Easy House Plants
  • Easy House Plants
  • Demanding House Plants
  • Temporary House Plants
  • Flowering House Plants
  • Climbing or Trailing House Plants
  • House Plants with Colorful Foliage
  • Fragrant House Plants
  • Gardening

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7 Homemade Bug Sprays For Indoor Plants!

Years ago people only thought about plants belonging in the garden and out in the sun. They were used to placing them away from homes and indoor spaces. But today, that’s just not the case anymore.

We love having plants in our homes and offices. It’s one of the simplest ways to bring nature inside. Whether you live in an apartment or you work in a high rise, you can grow your own little garden indoors in boxes, pots, or hanging planters. They help us relax and bring some of the outdoors inside.

Houseplants are the best natural air purifiers. They cleanse the air from toxic chemicals and raise the air’s humidity to protect us from dry coughs, sore throat, and respiratory problems.

If you’re feeling stressed at work, having plants in your office or home can lower your blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration. They help reduce your stress and anxiety.

However, one of the problems you can face when keeping plants indoors is bugs. These little insects live and feed on the leaves of your plants. They are not only annoying — they can do serious damage to your plants, too.

However there are different ways you can get rid of these aphids, mites, and other creepy, crawly creatures. You don’t have to use chemical pesticides to kill them. They are not only dangerous for you, your family, and your pets, chemical pesticides are also very expensive and do not always work.

But, we also want to be sure we use all natural pest control in the house as well as all natural garden pest control. So if you’re looking for the best home insecticide, best indoor bug spray, best organic pest control, or just a great bug spray for the house for your plants we have you covered!

Instead of using store bought pesticides with who knows what in them, (I mean I know they print what’s in it on the product – but, I am not a scientist so I have NO idea what they are!) you can try these homemade bug spray recipes for your indoor plants.

They’re safer and more effective methods of getting rid of the pests your houseplants may encounter. Most of the items to make these you might find you already have at home!

Let’s get started!

Soapy Water

Soap kills pests on contact. Treating your infested plants with soapy water is one of the best recipes to use. Soap will dehydrate the spider mites and aphids and it won’t hurt your plants. However, always try a spot test to see how your plant responds.

What You Need:

2 tablespoons mild liquid soap
1 gallon water
Spray Bottle

What You Need To Do:

1. Mix 2 tablespoons mild liquid soap for every 1 gallon of water in spray bottle.
2. Spray the mixture on the affected plants. Use it about every 7 days until the problem is resolved. Always try a spot test to see how your plant responds.

Neem Oil

Neem oil is a natural and organic product which is effective in controlling and eliminating common houseplant pests. It works by messing with the brains of the pests so they stop eating, mating, reproducing, and they’ll eventually die off.

Neem oil also has a residual effect so you don’t need to treat the plant every day. You also don’t see them die right before your eyes, it takes some time. Always try a spot test to see how your plant responds.

1/2 ounce high-quality pure neem oil
1/2 teaspoon mild liquid soap
2 quarts warm water
Spray Bottle

1. Place all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Stir slowly. Add the mixture to the spray bottle.
2. Spray the mixture on the affected plants. Repeat the spray every few days or as long as you still see the pests on your plants.

Garlic And Hot Pepper Spray

If you don’t mind the smell, a garlic and hot pepper spray is effective in getting rid of aphids on your plants. It stops them from eating the plants. Always try a spot test to see how your plant responds.

2 to 3 garlic cloves
6 large chili peppers
Cheesecloth or coffee filter
Blender
Spray Bottle

1. Put the garlic cloves and chili peppers in a blender and puree them.
2. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth or a coffee filter.
3. Pour the mixture into the spray bottle.
4. Spray the mixture on the affected plants. Repeat the spray every few days or as long as you can see the pests in your plants.

You might also be interested in this: How To Grow An Herb Garden! Growing Fresh Herbs Is Simple And Healthy!

Growing fresh vegetables, well, that’s another story… I had to come up with an herb garden idea because my soil is just not great. If you are looking for tips for growing fresh herbs in a small outdoor herb garden then take a look at this. ” class=”wp-image-268650″/>

Alcohol

An alcohol solution is effective in repelling insects from your houseplants. Always try a spot test to see how your plant responds.

1 or 2 cups of 70 percent isopropyl alcohol
1 quart water
Spray Bottle

What You Need To Do:

1. Place all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Stir slowly. Add the mixture in the spray bottle.
2. Spray the mixture on affected plants. Repeat the spray every few days or as long as you can see the pests in your plants.

Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus Oil is a great natural pesticide for bees, wasps, and flies. It also leaves a minty smell that works as a natural deodorizer in your house or office. Always try a spot test to see how your plant responds.

1/4 teaspoon Eucalyptus Oil
1 cup water
Spray Bottle

1. Mix the water and oil in a spray bottle.
2. Spray the mixture on the affected plants. Use it every 7-14 days until you don’t see them any more.

Pepper Spray

Black pepper, chili pepper, ginger or paprika — pests hate those. All of them contain capsaicin which repels spider mites and other insects. Always try a spot test to see how your plant responds.

2 tablespoons red pepper
1 teaspoon mild liquid soap
1 gallon water
Spray Bottle

1. Place all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Stir slowly. Add the mixture in the spray bottle.
2. Spray the mixture on the affected plants. Repeat the spray every few days or as long as you can see the pests in your plants.

Chrysanthemum Flower Tea

Chrysanthemum holds a powerful plant chemical component called pyrethrum which invades the nervous system of insects and renders them immobile. You can add some organic essential oil for added scent. Always try a spot test to see how your plant responds.

100 grams of dried flowers
1 liter water
Spray Bottle

1. Boil the dried flowers in a liter of water for twenty minutes.
2. Strain, cool, and pour into a spray bottle.
3. Spray the mixture on the affected plants. Repeat the spray every few days or as long as you can see the pests on your plants.

Stop insect invasions before they have a chance to multiply! Make your home an unwelcome place for these bugs by quickly spraying them with these homemade plant sprays.

What homemade plant sprays have you found effective? Share your recipes in the comments below.

You can also find gardening products I use in my videos here

I now have an Amazon Influencer’s storefront. I put the products I use, in my posts and Youtube Gardening videos, there. Shopping there is free and the site gets a percentage of sales. Thanks!

You can

If you need seeds, this is the company I use

Using natural pest control for houseplants is much healthier for us and our plants. There are lots of home remedies that work great to kill bugs on houseplants! So skip the toxic chemical pesticides, and try these methods instead.

It can be frustrating to find bugs on a beloved houseplant. But if you have indoor plants, at some point you will likely have to deal with houseplant pests. It’s no fun – trust me, I know!

But there are lots of natural home remedies you can use to kill bugs on indoor plants, so you can skip the harmful chemical pesticides.

First, let’s talk about why it’s best to use natural methods rather than synthetic chemical pesticides on indoor plants.

Why Use Natural Pesticides For Indoor Plants?

The obvious reason to use natural pesticides on indoor plants rather than synthetic ones is because they are much healthier for us. I mean, who wants to spray all those toxic chemicals inside of their house anyway. Not me.

But, not only are they dangerous to you, your family, and your pets, they’re expensive. Plus they don’t always work to kill bugs on indoor plants anyway.

Most common houseplant pests are resistant, or can quickly build up resistance to chemical pesticides. And using them will only make your problem much worse in the long run.

So, skip the synthetic chemical pesticides (also known as insecticides), and use these safer, more effective natural remedies for bugs on plants instead…

Houseplant scale infestation on an indoor plant

Natural Pest Control For Houseplants

Below you’ll find several remedies to try. Depending on the pest, and the size of the infestation, some will work better than others.

So, it’s best to know which type of houseplant bug you’re dealing with in order to choose the best method to get rid of it.

Also, you may find that combining a few of these methods will work the best. So be sure to experiment with the different remedies.

Whichever one you choose, you must be persistent with it. You can’t get rid of an infestation with only one or two treatments. It can take some time.

  • Soapy water – Soap kills bugs on contact. It’s easy to make your own natural bug killer for indoor plants. My homemade bug spray recipe is one teaspoon mild liquid soap to one liter of water. Use it in a spray bottle, or to wash the leaves of heavily infested plants (test it on a leaf first to make sure the plant isn’t sensitive to the mixture). Organic insecticidal soap also works great as a natural insecticide for houseplants.

Insecticidal soap natural houseplant bug spray

  • Rubbing alcohol – Use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to kill and remove insect pests from the plant. This can be a bit tedious, but it works great to remove large clusters of pests like aphids, scale, or mealybugs from a plant.
  • Neem oil is a natural pesticide for indoor plants, and it’s very effective for controlling and eliminating common houseplant pests. It also has a residual effect, so you don’t have to treat the plant every day like you would with other methods. If you have issues with recurring infestations, I highly recommend buying some organic neem oil. Learn how to use natural neem oil insecticide here.

Neem oil natural pesticide for houseplants

  • Soil toppers – Top the soil of an infested houseplant with a product like Gnatnix or a sand soil cover to control fungus gnats. Topping the soil with diatomaceous earth could also help control fungus gnats and other pests that live and breed in houseplant soil.
  • Yellow sticky traps – Yellow sticky traps are inexpensive, non-toxic, and work great to capture adult flying houseplant bugs like fungus gnats, aphids and whiteflies.

Non-toxic sticky traps kill flying houseplant bugs

It will take several treatments to eliminate any houseplant pest infestation, so persistence is key. Once you start treating a houseplant for bugs, continue to treat it at least once a day until the infestation is under control. Don’t despair, we can win this battle and keep our houseplants naturally pest free.

Up next, learn exactly how to get rid of houseplant bugs naturally.

If you’re tired of battling bugs on your indoor plants, then you need a copy of my Houseplant Pest Control eBook. It has everything you need in order to get rid of those nasty bugs FOR GOOD! !

Recommended Natural Pest Control Products

More Posts About Houseplant Pest Control

  • Where Do Houseplant Pests Come From?
  • How To Debug Houseplants Before Bringing Them Indoors
  • How To Keep Cats Out Of Houseplants
  • How To Get Rid Of Thrips On Houseplants

Leave a comment below and share your favorite home remedies and methods of natural pest control for houseplants!

Bugs in Houseplants? Learn How to Avoid.

Leaf-Dwelling Pests

Leaf dwellers that attack plants include Aphids, Spider Mites, Scale and Mealybugs. Other hitchhikers might be Spiders, Gnats or Lacewings. Carefully examine leaves and stems. Inspect leaf undersides in particular; insects like to hang out under leaf surfaces. You might also spot insects at the intersections of leaves and stems.

An easy way to remove insects is to hose down plants. It’s best to use a hose with a nozzle so you can direct water underneath foliage. Apply a gentle spray; too hard a jet will not only dislodge insects but likely tear leaves from stems. You can also use a pressurized sprayer to apply water to leaf surfaces.

For small specimens, consider dunking the entire plant into a 5-gallon bucket of water for 15 minutes. This will cause insects on leaves or in soil to flee. Add a few drops of liquid dish or hand soap to the water as a further deterrent to insects. The only plants you shouldn’t dunk are ones that demand dry soil, such as succulents, cactus or plants that go dormant for the winter.

If you spot insects living on plants, after washing leaves and allowing them to dry, apply an insecticide to the plant. When you move the plant indoors, isolate it from other plants to avoid allowing pests to spread. Keep the plant in isolation for about six weeks; make visual inspections to ensure pests are gone.

Soil-Dwelling Pests

Insects can also set up shop in the soil of plants set outside for the summer. These pests include Slugs, Sowbugs, Earwigs, Fungus Gnats and Ants. For plants in small containers, gently slip the plant from the pot and examine soil. Typically Slugs, Sowbugs and Ants will be visible on the outer layer of soil near the drainage holes. Flick them off with a finger or stick.

Pests like Fungus Gnats and Earwigs typically dwell in the upper regions of soil. Remove any dead foliage or flowers from the soil surface, and dunk the soil into water as described above.

For houseplants in large containers, where slipping the plant from the pot or dunking the entire pot is impractical, apply an insecticide to the soil surface and also to soil inside drainage holes. Apply enough insecticide to soak the soil, and you’ll kill pests or cause them to exit. If pests were present in soil by climbing through pot drainage holes, consider repotting the plant next spring and placing wire mesh or hardware cloth inside the base of the pot to exclude insects.

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