In a previous article we discussed how you can get rid of bugs that are tormenting your indoor plants. There is also a way to prevent bugs from becoming an issue.
Insects that like to attack houseplants include gnats, aphids, fruit flies, and spider mites. Here are some steps you can take to prevent these critters from feeding off of your indoor plants.
1. Choose the right plants. When selecting houseplants make certain that you pick species that are suited for the amount of light they are going to experience. Plants in improper lighting conditions suffer stress, which makes them more susceptible to bug infestations.
2. Pot the houseplants in sterile soil. When placing plants in an outdoor garden you can assume that all sorts of bacteria, fungus, and insects will be present in the soil. That’s okay because these components are vital for the health of the soil that nurtures the plant. However, houseplants perform better planted in store purchased potting mixture, which is generally sterile. It is recommended that you not use outdoor garden soil to host houseplants because insect larvae could be present.
3. Make sure that the pot properly drains. Make sure to include a drainage layer of gravel at the bottom of the pot that is hosting the plant. Poorly drained soil can saturate the roots leaving them open to insect attack.
4. Clean houseplants regularly. Dust buildup on the leaves of houseplants often include organic matter like skin cells and pet hair on which insects like to feed. Moreover, insects like mites thrive in thick layers of dust and are less likely to bother clean plants. Wipes leaves gently with a moist rag. Make sure you use a nonabrasive cloth to perform the house keeping. Plants with smaller leaves can actually be submerged into a sink full of lukewarm, slightly soapy water. Rustle the plant’s leave in the liquid and set the plant right side up to dry.
5. Monitor your plants for insect damage. Most infestations can be prevented if you inspect your plants regularly so you can catch the early signs and do something quickly to combat it. Leaves that are discolored, display speckles, mottle and chewing can be a sign that insects are present.
6. Control existing insect infestations. Even if you are very proactive in preventing insects from attacking your plants, you may still have to deal with insects. There are methods to kill existing insects. For example, there are traps that can be hung near the infested houseplant. Pruning can also help in controlling rare attacks. If you notice that insects are focused on a few leaves of a plant, prune those leaves away and throw them out. Rub the leaves of plants that have insects with a moist cloth saturated with soapy water.
7. Know when to give up on a plant. Unfortunately, houseplants that are badly infested with insects cannot be helped. In this case, it would be best if you throw the plant away before the insects spread to other plants in the house.