How to get rid of houseplant bugs and pests

Finding pests on your houseplants can be very worrying. In most cases all house pests are unwanted (except maybe if you live in Australia). We want to do our best to keep our houseplants healthy. Learning about the possible pests that could infect your houseplants, will help you look after them in the long run. Pests are a pain especially when they start causing problems to the health of your plant.

Pests can be found in the soil and on the leaves of your houseplants. Pests can cause a number of problems to your plants. You may notice leaf loss, holes in the leaves and a decline in your plants overall health. If not treated quickly this could lead to your houseplant being very unwell and possibly unable to recover.

If you notice any pests on your houseplants you must isolate the plant to ensure the pests don’t spread to the neighbouring plants.

It’s good to get into a habit of checking your houseplants weekly for pests. This could be on watering day or when you clean the leaves for dust.

It is hard to know where pests come from. Sometimes they are already in the soil when you bring a new plant home. Others can be brought in with the fruit and vegetables from our food shop. All plants will react differently depending on their environment. Regular pest checks are so important. The sooner you find them the better chance your plant has of surviving.



Mealybugs are insects that are small, white and fluffy resembling cotton wool on your houseplants. 


What they do: Mealybugs are insects that suck the juices and sap out of our houseplants. They will not move around too much but they will lay eggs. Mealybugs can grow quickly if gone unnoticed.

Signs of the pest: Mealy bugs are easy to spot.They will leave a white sappy fuzz on the leaves of your houseplant.

Treatment:The best remedy for getting rid of mealybugs will depend on how badly they have affected your plant. The first thing you will want to do is isolate this plant from your other plants.



If you find just one or two,you can wipe them off with a cotton bud or small towel. If the bugs have taken over your entire plant, the best thing to do is place your houseplant in the shower. Thoroughly clean your houseplant’s leaves with water.



It can be hard to get rid of all the sticky dew. Rubbing alcohol can help with this. After the pests have been cleared, you will want to spray your plants with a diluted neem oil. In most cases the packaging will give a proper description on how to dilute it.



Keep a close eye on your plant for the next couple of weeks. It’s important to make sure the soil is free of mealybug eggs. You can go ahead and re-pot your plant for peace of mind. Keep washing and spraying your plant with neem oil regularly until the bugs appear to have vanished.


Spider mites



Spider mites are very small and hard to see. They look like little yellow/white dots moving around your houseplants. Ivy is a plant that is prone to having spider mites. It is said that spider mites will gather on dusty plants. Depending on your local conditions, cleaning the foliage of your houseplant every week can help prevent spider mites from showing up.

What do they do:Spider mites can multiply very quickly. They will damage the plant's leaf tissue.

Sign of the pest:​ Spider mites leave many signs. They will form fine cobwebs under the leaves and around the stem of your houseplants. When the leaf is damaged, it will eventually yellow, wilt and fall off. If your plant is losing leaves and you are unsure of the reason, you may wish to search the foliage for cobwebs.



Treatment: Firstly you must isolate your houseplants to prevent other plants from infection. The good news is spider mites are very easy to treat. Firstly use a cloth or towel to thoroughly get rid of cobwebs and all visible spider mites. If possible, clean every single leaf. The spider mites will form webs on the underleaf. After all visible signs of webs and spiders have vanished, spray with a diluted washing up liquid.






Aphids are small pear-shaped pests. They can be found in green, red and black.They are usually found in large groups and can reproduce very quickly. Aphids in large numbers can do extensive damage to your houseplant.

What they do: ​Aphids will suck the juice out of the foliage of your houseplants.

Sign of the bugs: They can be tricky to spot at first being so small. They can multiply very quickly. You will eventually notice honey dew left on the leaves. If you’re struggling to see the aphids on your plant, you may wish to use a magnifying glass.


Treatment:​ Firstly you must isolate your houseplants to prevent other plants from infection. As these pests multiply quickly it is important to thoroughly clean the leaves of your houseplants. You can hose down your houseplant in the garden or in your bathtub. The honey dew might be difficult to get rid of so you may need to use rubbing alcohol. You can then use a neem oil spray or a diluted washing up liquid to spray onto the leaves. Repeat this method every couple of days until the aphids have gone.


Pests are common so don't be too discouraged if you discover them on your plant. Luckily, there is a lot of information for us to help tackle these annoying pests. Don't give up on your plant at the first sign of pests. If treated quickly and thoroughly, your plant will make a healthy recovery.



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