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Houseplant Pests: What You Need to Know

Houseplant pests – there’s no denying that they are pesky little blighters and no plant parent wants them anywhere near their green beauties. However, the fact is that if we’re plant parents long enough, it’s highly likely that we’ll experience houseplant pests at some point. Thankfully, if we can spot and treat these uninvited guests quickly there’s a very good chance that your fab foliage can be restored to good health once more – hurray!

So, this week, we’re bringing you a handy little ‘how to’ guide; how to spot houseplant pests, how to treat them and how to prevent them in future. Read on so that if those pests do strike, you’ll be armed with the all-important know-how to banish them for good.

The Most Common Houseplant Pests and How to Spot Them

There are a number of different types of houseplant pests that could infest your plants. But whatever the pest variety, they all have one thing in common; they’re no good at all for your lovely plants and will leave them damaged and weakened. The longer they are left, the more damage they will do, so it’s really important to spot and combat them as quickly as possible. If one or more of your plants has fallen prey to a pest infestation, it’s more than likely going to be one of these five types of gnats, bugs or mites; they are the five most common types of houseplant pests.

Spider Mites

These are tiny, spider-like bugs that love to suck the sap from leaves. It is very difficult to see these little bugs with the naked eye but if your plant has fallen victim to them the leaves will become mottled and, in the end, they will shrivel up and die. Sometimes, you might also notice a fine webbing around the leaves.

Spider mites thrive in hot, dry conditions so mist your plant regularly to raise humidity levels and help prevent an infestation.


Another sap-sucking pest, these are small, dark brown bugs that jump from plant to plant, piercing the luscious leaves in order to suck out the sap. If thrips have invaded your houseplant, you will see small drops of red liquid developing on the underside of the leaves, this red liquid will eventually turn black. Thrips can cause serious damage to your plants so the quicker they can be identified and treated, the better.

Scale Insects

These little creatures look like tiny brown limpets and they love to suck the sap from the plants that they attack. To identify an infestation of scale insects, look for brown spots or bumps on the stems and leaf joints which can be easily scraped off with a finger. Over time they will form large colonies and weaken their host.


Tiny, white and heart-shaped, these piercing and sucking flying insects can severely weaken your plants. You’ll find them on the underside of the leaves. Whitefly like cold weather so your house plants will be more susceptible to an infestation in the winter months.


Also known as greenfly, aphids are yet another sap-sucking blight on your plants, they just love to suck the sap from flowers, shoots and soft leaves. If your green beauty is suffering from an attack of the aphids, you will see mottling and distortion on your plants. You might also notice ants around your plant because they are attracted to the honeydew that the aphids eject.

How to Get Rid of Houseplant Pests

If you find that your plants have a pest infestation, do not worry, this does not spell instant doom for your beloved plant or plants. There are steps you can take to eliminate the pesky pests and bring your green beauties back to full health.

  1. Firstly, isolate your plant. You must isolate any infected plants straight away to prevent the pests from spreading to any other houseplants that you may have. Make sure you monitor any plants that were nearby plant for signs of infection for 3-4 weeks after you have isolated the poorly plant.
  2. Clean, clean, clean. The next step is to thoroughly clean the area where your plant was situated, the pot and the plant itself. Use soapy water to clean the area and the pot, it’s a good idea to sterilise after cleaning with rubbing alcohol. To wash the plant, gently rub down the leaves, stalk and stem with a mild, insecticidal soap. Ensure the soap is free of degreasers and detergents as these can harm sensitive plants.
  3. Debug! Now it’s time to remove any visible bugs from your plant. Dab rubbing alcohol onto the bugs to kill and remove them.

How to Prevent Pests on Indoor Plants

Now that you’ve removed these unwanted squatters on your indoor houseplants, it’s time to help restore them to full health and help prevent future infestations. A great first step is to spray the Plantsmith Protecting Bug Control Spray onto your plant. This is a non-toxic formula that contains plant-boosting nutrients to strengthen houseplants that have been weakened by previous pest attacks. This natural, biodegradable light mist provides a physical protection for plants, helping to protect them from bug attacks.

To give your plants some extra TLC, why not treat them to the other products in the Plantsmith range. Use the Plantsmith Beautifying Leafshine to help bring your plant’s leaves back to their former gorgeously glossy glory. Containing natural oils to amplify the natural shine and grapefruit extract for anti-fungal protection, this fab product will help banish memories of those horrible pests.

You can also consider using the Plantsmith Perfecting Houseplant Care Mist and the Plantsmith Fortifying Houseplant Tonic. Both of which are designed to help keep your houseplants in tip-top condition and happy houseplants are more resilient to potential pest attacks – winner!

A fab way to help protect your plant from pest infestations in the first place is to ensure you are providing your plants with the best care possible; plants that are happy and thriving will be less likely to be susceptible to gnats, bugs and mites. Make sure you are familiar with how to look after your houseplants; the watering schedule, as well as the misting and sunlight requirements and always remove any dead leaves from the soil. To make your plant care routine a breeze, browse our range of bespoke plant care accessories. Our stylish and functional watering can in copper or gold and the matching Zab Plant Mister will elevate your style whilst making it super easy to care for your green beauties.

Sometimes, it’s time to say goodbye…

Sadly, despite our best efforts, sometimes a plant can’t recover from a pest infestation and we have to say goodbye. If this happens, pop the afflicted plant into the compost and chalk it up to experience. The good news is that we do stock a range of naked plants, making it oh-so-easy to refill those pots and get going on a brand-new plant journey.

We hope you’ve found this guide useful and informative, arming you with the necessary info to be able to tell any plant intruders to bug off! Please do get in touch with us here at The Little Botanical with any other questions or concerns you might have about houseplant pests and diseases. We know this can be a tricky problem to solve and we’re always happy to help.

Until next time plant tribe.

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