Types of Houseplant Bugs and Methods to Check Their Infestation

Sooner rather than later, houseplant bugs will invade your indoor plants, thereby getting them to wilt and throw their leaves prematurely. It is really important you know more about the different types of house plant bugs and the most effective ways to control their infestation.

Your house plants are pliable to attacks from assorted mite pests and insects. Bugs on houseplants are very capable of causing wide-ranging damage to the health and appearance of the plant. When your houseplants are overrun by mites, they will look weak or appear not to be growing vigorously. Normally, houseplants bugs can be traced to recently purchased plants or plants received as gifts. To prevent this, try to put your new plants at an isolated spot for at least a period of two weeks. Within the isolation you can easily determine the presence or absence of bugs on houseplants.

Some of the most popular houseplants bugs are:

Greenhouse Whiteflies: They are well-known to favor greenhouse grown vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers. Plants such as lantana, hibiscuses are also pliable to this pest. They are called whiteflies because they are usually covered with fine white wax. They like to suck sap from the plant, thereby causing damage to the plant. During infestation your houseplant will lack vigor and will have dull looking appearance. To subdue the infestation, one can resort to using sticky cards so as to trap adult whiteflies. It is better to apply, organic insecticides, horticultural oils and insecticidal soaps directly, to the leaves by using a sponge.

Twospotted spider mites: They are one of the most common pests infesting houseplants. This houseplants bug favor all plants, because they crawl from one plant to another, thereby infesting all the indoor of nursery plants. Twospotted spider mites like to feast on plant sap and will produce small wounds appearing like white flecks on the outer plant cells. The offset of the infestation more or less looks like small patches on the underside of the leaves, at the base of the leaf veins. Bit by bit, as the infestation grows, the leaves develop a grayish appearance.

You can easily spot the webs, if the infestation is major. Heavily infested leaves will drop prematurely. Unless caught in the very early stages of infestation, spider mite infestation is usually lethal. They are very difficult to eliminate and your best recourse is to discard all the plants infested, since these will serve as breeding grounds for new infestations. Sanitize the tainted area and try to observe top quality growing conditions to keep them at bay. Another way to control their spread is by repeatedly washing the small plants with jet of water. This will pressure the eggs and nymphs to get washed off.

Mealy bugs: They look soft but deadly effective at sucking sap from plants, thereby weakening it and causing its leaves to shed prematurely. They generally prefer, poinsettia, jade, lantana, coleus and cactus. These pests are known to affect various regions of the plant, from the root to the leaves. While infestation on the leaves is the most visible; frankly, these pests are mostly seen in the roots. The best way to get rid of bugs on the leaves of your houseplant is to swab individual mealy bugs with alcohol or insecticidal soap to curb their population. You can also apply insecticides like disulfoton and imidacloprid, which are also quite effective soil applicants.

Fungus Gnats: They look tiny and are dark colored. They like to fly across the soil surface. While a nuisance, the fungus gnats do cause little or no damage to the houseplants. Optimum ways to control them is to change soil moisture conditions. Since the fungus gnat larvae feed mostly on decaying plant material, changing soil moisture conditions will help. Apply yellow sticky cards to help catch the adult gnats.

Other known houseplant bugs are Aphids, Thrips, soft scales, armored scales and springtail. There are several ways to get rid of bugs on houseplants. You can start by washing your plants repeatedly with jets of water, which will help curb aphid and spider mite population. Hand picking method can be used to control larger houseplant bugs like mealy bugs. Vacuuming can help get rid of whiteflies. Moreover, trapping some of these insects using bright colored sticky cards can also be very useful.

Top 10 Natural, Eco-Friendly and Anti-Pollutant Houseplants

Get rid of indoor pollution in a natural way

You must have spent practically thousands of dollars to buy the latest vacuum cleaner and the latest floor cleaners that help you keep your house clean.

However, there comes a time when these machines fail to work leaving you to the unhealthy dust particles and other pollutants in your house. Rather than artificial machines, you must opt for natural pollution fighters that come in the form of plants.

These plants are quiet unlike the noisy machines when you switch them off. Moreover, you do not have to throw hundreds of dollars to repair them. Re-growing the plants is very much simple.

Hence, to get rid of pollution in your house in a natural way, you must go through the top 10 houseplants that you can buy.

1. The Feston Rose plant

While looking for a houseplant, you generally prefer the one’s that need the lowest maintenance. One such houseplant is Lantana camara or the feston rose plant. The most fantastic feature of this plant is that it bears innumerable flowers of variegated colors.

This houseplant brilliantly tolerates highly saline conditions, lack of water, scorching heat and billowing winds. The leaves of this houseplant bear a very strong and pleasant aroma. This houseplant not only purifies the air in your house but also leaves a beautiful aroma.

2. The Devil’s ivy

Also known as the Golden Pothos and scientifically termed as Epipiremnum Aureum, the Devil’s ivy is a beautiful vine plant with leaves that are marbled and golden in color as per the name.

Even if this plant is not taken care off, it thrives on and continues growing. This plant acts as an excellent natural anti-pollutant against common pollutants like benzene, formaldehyde and carbon monoxide. If kept on a top shelf, this plant climbs down as it matures. However, you should take care that this plant is not ingested in any way even by your own pet dog.

3. Phalaenopsis

This houseplant proudly bears the loveliest white and pink hued flowers. It has very few fleshy leaves at its base. This houseplant possesses a rhizome that looks like a stem.

Since this houseplant cannot tolerant direct sunlight, you can place this beautiful houseplant in the artificial light in your house.

With its beautiful flowers, this plant will surely enhance the beauty of your home and also purify the air inside your house. The houseplant itself is very small but the flowers are relatively big and marvelous.

4. The English Ivy

An ideal houseplant for people who have pets. Scientifically termed as Hedera Helix, this plant is known to filter indoor pollutants like fecal particles, formaldehyde aerosols and much more and keep your house toxin free.

However, English ivy occupies a lot of place and hence care should be taken while you cultivate this plant. There are several different species of the English ivy that have different leaf shape, size and color.

Growing beautifully in the bright sun but not under direct sun light, English ivy grows preferably in soil that is well drained. Care should be taken while placing English ivy indoors because it is poisonous.

5. The Parlor ivy

Also known as the heartleaf Philodendron, the parlor ivy proves to be a beautiful house plant that is equally useful in cleaning up the air in your house. As the name suggests, this plant has small deep green colored heart shape leaves that simply mesmerize you and the onlookers and guests too.

Scientifically termed as Philodendron Scandens, this beautiful climbing plant is easier to grow and much easier to maintain. It successfully filters out unwanted and harmful chemicals in your household making the air fresh and healthy to breathe in.

6. The African Violets

One of the most beautiful houseplants, African Violets make your house appear prettier and also fresher. Scientifically termed as the Saintpaulia species, this houseplant has really pretty violet flowers that simply awe you.

The African violets are available in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. To propagate these plants, all you need is leaf cuttings. These plants grow beautifully in moderate light and temperature. However, you should take care that these beautiful plants are not infested with those pathetic mealybugs

7. The Christmas Cactus

Unlike its name, this plant is neither a Christmas tree nor a cactus. Moreover, this plant blooms beautiful during Christmas time and hence can prove to be a great Christmas gift.

The blooms are beautiful violet, pink, red, oranges, fuschia colored glossy flowers. The leaves of the Christmas cactus are pointed and lobed. The simple Y-shape cuttings of this plant can give you yet another beautiful Christmas cactus. This plant needs adequate amount of light and water.

8. The Yellow Goddess

So very much like its name, this plant seems to be blessed by the Goddess of the color yellow because of the lovely yellow flowers that this plant proudly possesses.

With a beautiful green color at the base, these trumpet shaped flowers simply take your breath away. This plant has several different hybrids bearing large flowers or miniature flowers.

You can see the beautiful bulb growth just after 6-7 weeks of potting this beautiful plant. This plant needs bright light but not directly from the sun. What makes this houseplant an excellent choice is its small size and comparatively big showy beautiful yellow flowers.

9. The Garlic vine

If you are truly a lover of garlic and onion, then this houseplant is just for you. This houseplant, as the name suggests, its leaves and flowers smell like garlic and little bit of onion when they are crushed thoroughly. This houseplant is scientifically termed as Mansoa alliacea.

Everyone very well knows the use of garlic as a placebo for innumerable health conditions. Even this plant can be used for the same. You can use the leaves, roots, flowers, etc., to treat cold, fever, sore throat and other breathing problems.

Many people suggest that this houseplant pushes out all the bad luck from your house. It bears beautiful lavender hued bell shaped flowers. Garlic vine serves a two in one purpose of air purification and treatments.

10. The Peace Lily

With a certainly befitting name, the Peace Lily bears beautiful white flowers, the color of truce and peace, calm and serenity. Scientifically termed as Spathiphyllum, this beautiful houseplant has flowers that surround the spadix and are oval in shape.

These flowers come right out of the plant’s base increasing the beauty of the houseplant. The flowers have a soft leathery feel when touched. This beautiful flower bearing houseplant is very much easier to grow.

The blooms grow fantastically under moderate to low light intensity. This houseplant needs significantly moist soil to grow on. If you are an ardent nail polish user, then you must be aware of the effects caused by that smell.

The nail polishes, paints, other solvents and adhesives contain harmful pollutants like benzene, toluene and xylene. These pollutants are successfully filtered out in the ambience of your house by the beautiful Peace lily houseplant. To prevent sun burn, you must place the peace lilies away from the direct sunlight.

Buying any of the above top 10 houseplants would ensure that the ambience of your house remains pure and fresh.

The Basics to Healthy Houseplants

Maintaining Healthy houseplants is not extremely difficult and in fact many houseplants will provide you with big returns on a very small investment. In fact sometimes a little too much care is applied yielding negative results. Plants have developed naturally to survive under inherently poor conditions and sometimes too much of a good thing is in fact not good. Keep it simple but provide the basics.

What Are a Plant’s Basic Needs?

Similar to any living thing, a plant needs water, food, environment and occasional grooming. That is basically the program in a nutshell. Learn how to best satisfy these needs for your particular plant and by routinely satisfying those basic needs you should be rewarded with healthy plants.

Potting and soil mix: To permit adequate drainage, it is recommended that you grow houseplants in either clay or plastic pots with drainage holes.

You can place the growing pots inside attractive outer pots but do not let extra water accumulate in the bottom.

Most houseplants do not require frequent transplanting. Transplant when you see the plant being forced out of its container or you see roots showing at the drainage hole. Use houseplant potting mix, and replant into a container that is just a little larger than the roots.

Light: Flowering houseplants and those with colored leaves need more light than green-leafed plants. These houseplants may require supplemental plant lighting supplied by either a specialty grow light or a common fluorescent light.

Water: Over watering is the most common mistake of new gardeners. Wait for the soil to become almost dry, but do not allow the plant to become wilted. Water until the water just begins to appear at the drainage holes. Test for moisture by touch or by using a moisture meter every five days. If it feels dry or meter registers dry, it is time to add water.

When watering your houseplants look at the top and underside of leaves. If you see bugs, try washing them away with water and a mild dish detergent solution. Test the water and soap mixture on a small part of the plant first, to be sure there will be no damage to leaves. If you find that is not successful, you will need to apply a chemical insecticide.

Throw away dead plant matter and discard the soil to prevent diseases spreading to your other houseplants.

Humidity: Place a layer of marbles in bottom of saucers; fill with water and place plant pot on top to capture evaporation. Consider a room humidifier if you notice your house humidity levels are to low for your houseplants.

Temperature: Daytime temperatures of 64 to 73°F (18 to 23°C) and a little cooler at night are ideal. Avoid placing houseplants near heating ducts or drafty areas.

Fertilizing: A great deal of fertilizing is not necessary. Fertilizing of houseplants should be further reduced during slowed winter growth. Begin fertilizing about February with all-purpose fertilizer diluted to half strength. All-purpose fertilizer has nutrient ratios that are balanced or in equal concentrations, e.g. 15-15-15 or 20-20-20.

Trimming

Remove leaves that turn off color or yellow yellow and dead leaves. If more than half the leaf is affected, remove the entire leaf. If only a small portion of the leaf is discolored, trim that portion to the natural shape of the leaf. Use sharp scissors for best results. The leaves of some houseplants may continue to grow at the leaf base. Remove both the flower and the stem. Remove faded and discoloured flowers.

Pests and Diseases: Healthy houseplants are less susceptible to disease and less than ideal conditions. For the best success, only purchase healthy vibrant plants. Plants purchased at reduced prices are have often deteriorated badly and will require a lot of care to return them to health.

Grooming: Dust plant leaves on a regular basis to keep breathing pores open. Remove dead or dying leaves and flowers. Dust and dirt that collects on plant leaves will act as a filter to the ambient light. A clean plant converts energy from the sun more efficiently for photosynthesis to produce food. Cleaning also keeps leaves free of insects and diseases. When you wipe leaves, you often wipe away unwanted pests as well.

Use a feather duster to remove light dust. Dampen paper towels, cloths or sponges with water to wipe leaf surfaces. Carefully wipe both upper and lower surfaces of the leaf at the same time. Although they provide a nice appearance, leaf shine products tend to inhibit leaf transpiration and are not recommended for good houseplant health.

That basically concludes the practices required to maintain nice healthy plants inside your house. The principles are not difficult to apply. Simply develop a routine and follow it.