PLNTS top 5 tips to get rid of insects that bug your plants!
The sun is shining, the days are longer and warmer and we keep our doors and windows open as much as possible. We are happy to let the sunshine and summer warmth in our homes. But…not only sunshine and warmth enter our welcoming homes, also bugs feel free to enter! Unfortunately our green roomies get very grumpy when they are accompanied by bugs. Nobody likes grumpy roommates, right?! The PLNTS Doctor knows best, so we recommend you to visit this page if you want to know if your plant is suffering from a specific disease or insect. You will find all different types from aphids and mealybugs to small flies and yellow leaves. In this blog we give you our top 5 PLNTS tips to get rid of insects that bug your plants.
The PLNTSteam is here to the rescue:
1. Regularly checks and new plants in quarantine
Knowing where the bugs come from helps you to be more careful. Bugs can come into your home a number of ways. They will find their way through open windows and doors, but they can also cling to clothes or pets. Yes, this gives us the shivers too! Check your plants and soil for insects regularly so that you can react fast when a problem occurs. We strongly advise you to always check your newly purchased plants because it is possible that the bugs hitch a ride on them. At PLNTS.com we check our plants very well, but sometimes the bugs are nearly invisible, especially when there’s just one or a few present, so they can be difficult to spy! This is why we recommend to keep your new green friend in quarantine, away from the rest of the family, for two weeks. This gives them time to get used to their new home before they are introduced to their new family members. Your plant is safe to meet the rest of the family when nothing strange comes up in those two weeks. Last but not least; always check if your bag of soil is closed well. Insects can even find their way into the open bag of soil and then there is no point in giving your plants fresh soil and clean pots…
2. Schedule a weekly ‘bath time’
Yes, your plants also love a bath every now and then. The correct way to clean you plant is by using a damp cloth to gently wipe and clean the dust from the leaves. This will help to keep the bugs away but while dusting you inspect your plants for pests and bugs/mites right away. Check to see if this is possible with the plants in your home, fuzzy leaves don’t like this so much for example.
3. Homemade wonder spray
This really is an amazing tip, so we are not going to keep this from you! This recipe works for chasing AND keeping away bugs from you beloved plants. This homemade plant bug wonder spray includes the miracle cure: neem oil. Neem oil is a vegetable oil pressed from fruits and seeds and apparently bugs can’t stand the smell or taste of the oil. Isn’t that great?!
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of neem oil
- 1 to 2 teaspoons of mild dish detergent (this to effectively mix the oil)
- Warm (not hot or cold) water
Mix this all in a spray bottle and spray your affected plants with this wonder spray! We do recommend to check on just a small piece or just on one leave first. It is possible that some plants may react badly to the spray.
Extra Tip: The Ecokuur Leaf Insect Spray
Not in the mood to make your own spray and looking for an ‘all ready’ solution? We’ve got something great in store for you! Ecokuur for leaf insects is a natural alternative to chemical pesticides. It is safe for us humans, your pets and their environment. Spray this product evenly over the plants where the insects occur. Also treat the underside of the leaves to hit as many bugs as possible. Use 2 to 3 spray treatments with a 1-week break.
Most bugs feed by puncturing the plant and sucking out the cell contents. So they are pretty much the vampires of the plant world. Turns out, there’s another thing they have in common with vampires: they hate garlic! So this is another extra special tip from us. Peel a clove of garlic and press this into your plants soil. This will keep the bugs away.. and the vampires too ;).
Cinnamon is the natural fungicide that has been shown to be particularly effective against damping off. So it will help control fungus gnats by destroying the fungus that the larvae feed on. Simply sprinkle enough cinnamon to form a visible layer across the top of your potting soil and repeat every few weeks, if needed.
Preventing is always better then solving
There is a lot you can do to make it as unattractive as possible for insects to attack your plants. We don’t want to keep this from you. Preventing is always better the solving of course ;). The main thing is: keep your plants as healthy and strong as possible, this so that they are less susceptible for bugs! To keep them as healthy and strong as possible it is important to (re)check the sun exposure for your plants during those sunny days. The more intense sunlight may require you to rearrange your plants.
Also keep an close eye on the temperature and humidity. Plants are picky and they hate it when the conditions around them are constantly too different. Try to keep the temperature the same but never place a fan or air conditioner near your plants! To keep your plants humid enough you can use a plant spray to mist them. Then you may think it is best to water more when it’s warmer. Yes, they will need to be watered more often.. but always check the soil before watering. Check by pressing your finger in het soil. If the first 3 centimeters of soil is dry, it’s time to water! Even better is to add nutrition to the water twice a month, to provide your plant with a lot of extra energy.
You can do this!
Lisa has spent quite a fair amount of hours in the greenhouse and loves to share her experience with others!
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