Q:

How do you control bugs in potted plants?

A:

Quick Answer

To control bugs in potted plants, pick larger insects from the plants, trap bugs on sticky traps, rinse leaves periodically and throw badly affected plants away. It can also help to avoid excessively moist or excessively dry soil.

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Full Answer

To control insects in houseplants and other potted plants, use the following steps.

  1. Water plants properly
  2. Insects like fungus gnats favor moist soil conditions. However, some insects, such as spider mites, thrive in very dry soil. Water houseplants regularly, but allow the soil to dry in between watering.

  3. Wash plant foliage regularly
  4. Dust and dirt can attract insects. Washing the leaves regularly can keep dust and dirt from building up. Pressure spraying can also remove mites, aphids and mealybugs from plants.

  5. Pick off insects
  6. If the first preventative steps do not work, pick off larger insects, such as mealybugs, by hand. Handheld vacuums can also remove some insects.

  7. Set up traps
  8. Yellow sticky traps can help control flying bugs, which can be hard to control through washing or removing by hand.

  9. Apply an insecticide
  10. If handpicking, traps and spraying do not control the bugs, spray the plants with insecticides, insecticidal soap or neem oil. Use the product according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  11. Throw the plant away
  12. If control methods fail to work and the plant is badly infected, throw it away to keep the bugs from moving on to other potted plants. Learn more about Invasive Insects

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