Are you worried that your plants might get infested with pests? Even though you can get rid of the critters with a few tricks, it’s better to prevent an infestation in the first place.
Super important: Weak plants are more susceptible and likely to fall victim to pests. That’s why we’ve put together our best tips and tricks to strengthen your plants, prevent potential infestations, and stop pests from returning.
- The right environment for your plants
- Preventing Pests on Houseplants
The right environment for your plants
As I say, location is half the battle or even more than half.
Creating the right environment for your plants will give them the best foundation for healthy and robust growth.
Appropriate lighting conditions
Different plants come from different environments, meaning they have different needs regarding their surroundings. For example, some plants need lots of light, while others thrive with less light.
So make sure you meet their needs. That’s the most important thing for your plants.
For example, signs that your plant isn’t getting enough light include leaning towards the window, overly long stems, or tiny leaves.
You can help your plants in darker corners with artificial light, like plant lamps. This way, you can recreate the perfect environment for your plant.
High-quality soil that absorbs moisture well while remaining highly permeable can minimize the chances of waterlogging or the soil drying out too quickly. This also makes watering easier.
Conventional potting soil, for example, is often too dense for houseplants.
This means it’s less porous and takes much longer to dry out, making it easy to overwater your plant.
With the right soil, you can create ideal ground conditions for your plant to grow big and strong.
Temperature and humidity
Most common houseplants come from tropical or subtropical regions. In other words: They like it warm and humid.
A humidity level between 50-60% is ideal. But since the USA is in different climate zones, we sometimes need to boost indoor environments.
During winter, the humidity drops drastically due to dry indoor heating. We’ve put together some tips for increasing humidity levels to combat this. Think your air might be too dry?
With a hygrometer, you can check the temperature and humidity in your home.
Preventing Pests on Houseplants
To actively prevent pest infestations, there are various activities you can do or should do regularly:
1- Proper watering
Watering correctly is the most important component of plant care.
Stick your finger an inch deep into the soil. If the soil is still moist, it’ll stick to your finger. If it’s dry, it’ll crumble away. Only water your plant when the top 1-2 inches have dried.
Pour out excess water from the outer pot so your plant doesn’t get wet feet. Otherwise, waterlogging may occur. This can also happen if you water your plant too often, even if the excess can drain away.
Proper Fertilizer Application
By fertilizing, your houseplant gets the nutrients it needs to grow. You can do this in two ways:
- With slow-release fertilizer: You can insert our bio-fertilizer pellets into your plants’ soil once in the spring and once in the summer. They release nutrients into the soil over a few months.
- With liquid fertilizer: You can mix liquid fertilizer for houseplants directly into the water you use for watering.
Make sure you never exceed the dosage indicated on the package. Too much fertilizer can harm your plants.
You can find out how often your plants will appreciate liquid fertilizer in our plant encyclopedia. It depends on the type of plant.
If you take good care of your plants, they’ll grow steadily. Eventually, their pots will become too small. You can tell this is happening when:
- the inner pot is completely root-bound,
- the inner pot is deformed,
- roots are growing out of the top or bottom of the inner pot, and
- your plant is top-heavy, causing it to topple over easily.
Is this happening to your plant? Check out how to repot houseplants.
3- Check plants for pests
Another essential part of plant care: Regularly inspect your plants for pests.
This way, you can detect and treat any potential infestations early. But, unfortunately, infestations usually only become apparent when they’re already advanced.
When you water your plants, we recommend closely examining them. Or, as a secret tip: I inspect my plants while brushing my teeth.
Pay special attention to the undersides of the leaves. That’s where trouble-causing pests like to hide. Look out for tiny insects, white webs, and sticky residue on the leaves.
4- Regularly wipe down plants
Over time, dust accumulates on your plant’s leaves. This means less light reaches them, and they can’t perform photosynthesis as effectively. Less photosynthesis also means less energy.
You can provide support by wiping your plant down with a damp cloth or showering it every few weeks.
You should do this more often during the colder months, like fall and winter, since your plant already receives less light. Another advantage is that you’ll wipe away any pests that have gone unnoticed on your plant.
5- Boost your plants with beneficial bacteria and fungi
Not all bacteria and fungi are harmful to plants.
For example, the fungus Trichoderma harzianum attaches to your plant’s roots, promoting growth and resilience. The same goes for the natural soil bacterium Bacillus amyloliquefaciens.
We think these fungi and bacteria are so cool that you can find them in gardening stores too! You can easily apply both of them through your watering routine.
6- Use of Beneficial Insects
By using beneficial insects, you can prevent pest infestations from happening in the first place. These insects eat the pests if they happen to show up. Pests can sneak in unnoticed through an open window.
Predatory mites are also hardworking helpers, ensuring no thrips roam the plants’ leaves.
7- Sticky Traps
By hanging sticky traps near your plants, you can detect a pest infestation early and immediately act. In addition, the traps attract certain pests that get stuck to them, making it easy to spot unwanted visitors.
For example, yellow sticky traps attract fungus gnats, while blue traps attract thrips.
Do you have a pest you can’t eliminate, even though you’ve tried everything? Or do you have any other questions about your plants? Let me know I will be happy to answer your questions.