Do Indoor Plants Attract Bugs?


Many people love having indoor plants. Whether they are in your home or office, a plant brightens up any room.  Taking care of indoor plants is an accepted responsibility when you bring one in your home or office.  Some questions often arise as to their care and issues that might come with them.

Do indoor plants attract bugs?  It is possible that your indoor plants will attract a small variety of bugs.  The good news is that it is a small variety. Still, you need to take precautions, or, if you are already plagued with little pests, there are some natural remedies you can use that will not harm your plant.

Here are some types of bugs certain plants will attract as well as some tips and natural treatments to repel bugs from your plant.  Also, you will see that there are certain types of indoor plants that attract bugs and some that do not.

Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats love to come and visit in the winter. They are attracted to moist potting soil more so than the plants, but still they are a nuisance to the plant. Adult fungus gnats often fly in your face once they get into your house.  

These pests look like tiny mosquitoes.  The good news is that they do not bite, sting, or even do damage to your plant.  Mainly, they are just nuisances. 

The larvae stage of the fungus gnat is the only threat to your plant.  Unfortunately, you cannot see them at this stage.  They feed on decaying plant matter in the soil.  If the infestation is large enough, they will feed on the root of your plants.  Watering a little less often can prevent this problem so the top two inches of soil can remain dry.

Aphids

Aphids have translucent and oval-shaped bodies, and they range in color.  They reproduce rapidly, so, you really need to keep an eye out for them.  Aphids leave behind a substance that is referred to as honeydew which attracts other pests. When Aphids are present on your plant, the leaves may wither, curl, or become deformed.  

To rid your plant of Aphids, pinch off infested portions of your plant such as the stem or leaves.  Using a sink sprayer or spray bottle, you can rinse your plant to get rid of the Aphids that remain.  Repeat the process every two to three days.

Mealybugs

Since Mealybugs are talented at hiding, you should watch for small white spots at the intersections of stem and leaves as well as the undersides of the leaves.  These pests have a fuzzy coating that protects them from pesticides and water.

The best way to get rid of Mealybugs is to remove them by hand.  Remove with tweezers and repeat often.  If they become rampant, an insecticide is the only solution.  

Thrips

Thrips are difficult to spot with the naked eye, but you can usually see the little black dots they leave on or around your plant. Shaking a branch of your plant over white paper will make them fall onto the paper, and they will be visible.  

When Thrips visit your plants, they will leave parts of your plant wilted, spotted, or streaked.  You can spray your plants with water or use neem oil.  Repeat this procedure for about a week.

Spider Mites

Spider mites are arachnids and will make webs. You will see their little creations on or near your plants.  If you are able to see them, they will appear to be slow moving dots.  

If they infest your plant, you will see what appears to be speckles on your plants as well as pinpricks.  Your plants might become a bronze color in certain places and droop.

It is best to trim any infested leaves on your plant and treat the plant with neem oil.  The process should be repeated once a week for two to three weeks. 

Whiteflies

Whiteflies are tiny flies that resemble gnats.  They fly in swarms around plants, and leave plants leaves looking pale and limp.  Spraying your plant with water will usually treat the problem.

Scale

Scale are shell like bumps that attach to leaves and stems.  The coatings protect the bugs as the bugs play parasite to a plant’s vascular system. Once scale has infected plants, they will appear yellow.

These pests spread and reproduce quickly.  The first step in getting rid of them is to remove them by hand which is a tedious process.  Next, you will have to treat the plant with insecticidal soap. 

Natural Remedies 

Although some insecticides will not harm your plant, many people feel more comfortable with natural remedies.  Most of the products may be things you keep in your home. Here are some natural bug repellants.

  • Neem oil spray:  This natural remedy comes from neem trees native to India.  It will repel most insects.
  • Soapy water:  Mixing five tablespoons of dish soap with four cups of water in a spray bottle and spraying the plant will dehydrate insects.
  • Beer:  As odd as it sounds, placing beer in saucers close to your plant will distract some insects. They will leave the plant and go to the beer.
  • Pyrethrum Spray:  Made from chrysanthemum flowers, this will paralyze insects on contact.
  • Pepper Spray:  Mix either red or black pepper with six drops of dish soap and one gallon of water.  Spray your plant with the mixture.  
  • Alcohol Spray:  Mix one or two cups of isopropyl alcohol with one quart of water. Pour the solution in a spray bottle and apply to your plants.
  • Garlic:  Put a clove of garlic in your plant’s soil.  Insects hate the odor.

Plants that Bugs Stay Away From

Some plants are resistant to bugs.  People often bring these plants into their home to avoid having to deal with the bugs.  Pests will not come near these plants because the plant’s leaves are naturally toxic.  Unfortunately, you will need to keep small children away from some of these plants. Here are the plants that bugs avoid.

  • Aglaonema:  This Chinese evergreen is disease resistant which is why bugs will stay away.
  • Aspidistra Elatior:  This plant is also known as the “cast-iron” plant.  Aspidistra Elatior will grow anywhere in any type of weather. Although this plant is a bug repellent, it is non-toxic.
  • Bromeliads:  These come in over two thousand varieties.  Pineapples just happen to be a part of this variety.  Since the leaves are tough, insects will not chew on them.
  • Cissus:  This plant is also known as grape ivy or kangaraoo vine.  Although it is safe for children and pets, bugs stay away from cissus.
  • Coleus Blumei:  This plant is not harmful to people, but you should keep your pets away from it.  Its tough leaves are a repellant to insects.
  • Dracaena:  This plant is tough and tall. Its leathery leaves repel insects, but you should keep your pets away from it.
  • Catnip:  This chemical compound drives cats nearly insane, but it works well as a bug repellant. 
  • Sansivieria: This plant is beautiful but its tough leaves will repel bugs.  It is also known as a snake plant.
  • Venus Flytrap:  This plant is a carnivore so bugs will not come near it.  The leaves are like trapping structures that will close when a bug lands on them.

Summary

Bugs are attracted to most plants unless they are toxic or have tough leaves.  Even if you wish to have a house plant that attracts bugs, you have a choice of natural repellents or insecticides at your disposal to get rid of the problem. 

 

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