Most novice gardeners don’t realize that, even though they have their plants indoors, they’re still going to have to deal with a variety of bugs and other pests that can potentially harm their plants. This is especially true in temperate or tropical areas where there is a large insect population that can make its way indoors.
So, what are the best pest control products for indoor gardens? Here are some of the best pest control products for indoor gardening:
- Orange Guard
- Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew
- Bug Soother Spray
- Epsoma Organic Insect Spray
- KATCHY Indoor Insect Trap
- Mdxconcepts Organic Pest Control indoor and Outdoor Spray
- Wondercide Natural Indoor Pest Control Spray
- Bonide Ready-to-Use Neem Oil
Outdoor gardening is more closely associated with pest control when it comes to gardening, but there are still plenty of pests to look out for when you have plants indoors. Read on to find out more about the pests you can run into with indoor plants and the best products to control them safely.
The Best Pest Control Products for Indoor Gardens
There are many different products available on the market that claim to battle insects and other garden pests indoors, but it’s essential to choose pest control products for indoor gardens that are relatively safe around people and animals, as well as products that are environmentally friendly and effective. Below are some of the best pest control products you can use to help keep your plants healthy.
Orange oils and extracts have been used for insect repelling applications for hundreds of years, and often feature in organic pest control solutions. Orange Guard follows suit in this and features orange peel as the primary ingredient in its indoor pest control spray.
- Pros: Orange Guard is safe to use around food, making it an excellent choice for indoor gardens that are adjacent to the kitchen and other food prep areas. This pesticide is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is made of orange peel extract, giving it a fresh, clean scent. Orange Guard both kills and repels indoor garden pests.
- Cons: Some user reviews reported inconsistent effectiveness in the product, though the majority had positive results. One complaint that comes up is a flimsy spray attachment, though this could potentially be rectified by rebottling the Orange Guard in another spray bottle.
Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew
Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew is a fantastic multipurpose spray since it can be used in both your indoor garden and on any outdoor plantings you might have. Since a major aspect of organic gardening involves trying to protect insects that aren’t pests, the fact that it is mostly harmless to beneficial insects is a significant advantage, too.
- Pros: Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew works on a variety of different foliage types and is approved for organic gardening since it does not harm a majority of beneficial mites and other insects. This insecticide contains natural bacteria as an active ingredient. Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew can be used in both indoor and outdoor gardening projects.
- Cons: This insecticide does kill bees if they are exposed to it (though this isn’t as much of a concern to indoor gardeners). Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew can take several applications to manage more massive infestations.
Bug Soother Spray
Straddling the line between insect repellent and pest control, the main ingredient in Bug Soother is lemongrass oil. This pleasantly-scented essential extract is often used in natural pest control products (it’s also grown for tea and ornament as well). Bug Soother has a variety of products utilizing the same basic formula in different sizes for convenience.
- Pros: Bug Soother Spray smells good, works well on flying insects, and does an excellent job at keeping flying insects from wanting to come indoors. This can cut down on infestations in indoor planting areas. Bug Soother Spray also has a large family of products to choose from for different settings.
- Cons: This spray may contain too much artificial vanillin scent for some people and could be considered somewhat expensive for a single active ingredient (lemongrass oil).
Epsoma Organic Insect Spray
Epsoma is an insecticidal soap that works well on a majority of the pests you might encounter when trying to manage a garden indoors. Like many insecticidal soaps, this soap spray must be used periodically throughout the growing season to maintain its effectiveness.
- Pros: Epsoma Organic Insect Spray has a high level of effectiveness against indoor aphids, gnats, and fruit flies. The fact that it is unscented is a major plus for anyone sensitive to strongly scented insect sprays or air fresheners.
- Cons: Epsoma insect spray may require several applications to get insect problems under control and may not work effectively on all species.
KATCHY Indoor Insect Trap
For gardeners who don’t like to use insecticidal sprays indoors regardless of whether they’re organic or not, KATCHY offers an alternative solution to the insects that may be plaguing your indoor plants. Using UV light and vacuum fans, KATCHY traps flying insects with a hidden glue trap behind a sleek exterior.
- Pros: KATCHY Indoor Insect Trap is aesthetically pleasing to look at and a good option for discreet pest control in the home. This trap can be easily placed near indoor gardening areas.
- Cons: This trap does not work against houseflies, only smaller flying pests such as thrips, gnats, fruit flies, and whiteflies. The trap is good at reducing pests but does not claim to eliminate them. Some units may rattle slightly during use.
Mdxconcepts Organic Pest Control Indoor and Outdoor Spray
This insect spray from Mdxconcepts is multipurpose, making it an excellent choice for gardeners who are trying to tackle pest control both inside the home and outdoors in the garden. Its clean minty scent lets it do double duty as both an insect spray and an air freshener.
- Pros: Mdxconcepts Organic Pest Control Indoor and Outdoor Spray has natural and non-toxic ingredients and comes with a money-back guarantee; it also works well as a repellent.
- Cons: This spray has a strong spearmint smell that might not appeal to all consumers. The mint essential oil may irritate some sensitive people and pets. The spray is reported not to deter ants consistently and does not work as well to kill bugs as it does to deter them.
Wondercide Natural Indoor Pest Control Spray
Wondercide is safe around animals and people but deadly to insects, making it a great choice for indoor gardening projects. Because it works just as effectively as a flea killer when sprayed in animal bedding and resting spaces, it pulls double duty for gardeners who are also animal lovers.
- Pros: This spray both kills and repels insects while remaining safe for indoor dogs and cats, and has a pleasant cedarwood scent.
- Cons: The cedarwood fragrance may be too astringent and strong for some users, and this spray does not work as well on heavy insect infestations.
Bonide Ready-to-Use Neem Oil
Neem oil is often regarded as the gardener’s best friend both indoors and out since it is effective against such a wide variety of insects, mites, fungal infections, and other plant diseases. Bonide Ready-to-Use Neem Oil is one of the most well-known on the market, and with good reason. Neem oil is especially effective against black spot disease, a plant pathogen that plagues rose gardeners.
- Pros: Neem oil works on a wide variety of bugs while also killing mites and fungi. This oil is also useful for treating dormant plants to prevent the spread of disease from season to season. Unlike other neem oils that may need to be diluted, this version is ready to spray immediately.
- Cons: Neem oil does not work as well on scaled mites or beetles and other similar insects because their hard exoskeleton acts as armor against it. It also may not correct heavy powdery mildew infestations since, by the time the disease has progressed to a severe point, it is difficult to treat.
How Do Houseplants in Indoor Gardens Get Pests?
There are several ways that houseplants can become exposed to insects and other pests that might damage or kill them. Here are some of the ways that houseplants come into contact with indoor pests:
- Opened doors and windows: Just as flies and other insects are accidentally allowed into the house, insects that can potentially attack your houseplants can either get across the threshold or stowaway on people or objects that come through the doors or windows of the home.
- Nursery soil: The potting soil used in nurseries and garden centers is rife with microbiomes that can easily support small insects and other pests. In outdoor plantings, these pests could migrate elsewhere, but on houseplants, the pests are usually restricted to a small territory, increasing the amount of damage done.
- Transport: Houseplants can pick up pests while being transported between places. Any time a houseplant is exposed to the outdoors, there is a chance that it will pick up a pest or two. This is especially relevant to flying pests such as whiteflies.
- New plants: If you have an extensive collection of houseplants, one of the ways that an established houseplant may be exposed to pests is from new plants brought in. If not appropriately quarantined, a new plant that is infested with pests such as aphids will quickly infest your other houseplants, as well.
- Produce and cut flowers: Both cut flowers and fresh produce can harbor small pests such as spider mites. If placed near a houseplant, these pests can potentially migrate from the produce and flowers into the houseplant’s pot.
- Sunning and watering: Many people are in the habit of occasionally placing their houseplants outdoors on a sunny table or windowsill for them to catch some extra sun or to drain after being watered. These are the perfect opportunities for outdoor pests to hitchhike their way indoors on your plant.
Even if you think your plant has had minimum exposure to pests, it’s still a good idea to have a variety of pest control products on hand so that any infestations can be managed as quickly as possible. This is the best way to minimize the risk of losing a plant to pest damage.
Why Use Organic Pest Control Products on Indoor Plants?
There are a few good reasons why it’s a good idea to choose organic, non-toxic pest control products whenever possible in your indoor garden. Here’s why:
- Non-toxic pest control is less dangerous for pets and children. Since houseplants indoors are more likely to be exposed to pets and children who may investigate and even eat them, any pest control products used on the houseplants must be non-toxic so that there isn’t a chance of accidental poisoning.
- Many chemical pest controls are harmful to pollinators and the environment. There are enough natural pest control options on the market that using harmful chemicals isn’t necessary. Using natural products is an excellent way to avoid introducing toxins to the environment that may harm beneficial insects and other wildlife.
- Organic pest control is less likely to cross-contaminate your food and environment. This is especially important for anyone who keeps their houseplants in or near the kitchen and cooking area. You do not want the overspray from insecticides to end up in your food or drinks.
Other Ways to Control Pests on Indoor Plants
Other than using pest control products, there are a few other methods you can use to help you effectively control insects and other pests in your home. Here are some of the ways you can help bolster your pest control methods when indoor gardening:
- Use essential oils. Many essential oils of aromatic plants such as citronella are very repellent to all kinds of insects, so using these oils in an air diffuser near houseplants can help deter infestations from developing. These oils are also a useful way to keep away pests outdoors in garden or patio areas.
- Dress houseplants with diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is a good choice of pest control for all kinds of crawling insects since it is hazardous for them to walk across. Using diatomaceous earth to mulch houseplants can protect your plants while minimizing any damage to insects that are safely outdoors (where they arguably belong).
- Do some companion planting. Growing aromatic herbs and certain flowers like marigolds on windowsills near houseplants can help deter a wide variety of indoor pests and insects. Take advantage of natural pest repelling properties while adding some culinary and visual pizazz to your indoor plantings.
The best pest control campaigns in indoor gardening involve a multifaceted approach, so it’s a good idea to try several different pest control methods to find the one that works best for your situation.
Healthy Plants Have Fewer Pests
When trying to manage pest control in indoor gardening, the most important thing to keep in mind is that maintenance and monitoring are much easier than eradication. The more closely you observe the plants in your indoor garden, the more likely it is that you will catch any potential problems before they snowball into serious issues that could potentially kill the plant.
These are some husbandry methods you can take on to ensure that you have as little pest control to perform as possible:
- Quarantine: All new plants should go into quarantine for a few weeks and separated from other plants to prevent transmission of disease and pests to established plants in the home. This is especially important for anyone who “rescues” failing plants from the clearance rack at garden departments since these plants are more likely to harbor infestations that are stunting them.
- Weekly monitoring: The best thing for any houseplant is to be carefully monitored at least or once or twice a week. Not only does this give the gardener an excellent opportunity to catch any pest issues early on, but it’s also a good chance to observe any other problems the plant might be having and a chance to check the moisture level of the soil in the pot.
- Cleaning houseplant leaves: Houseplant leaves should be periodically cleaned to prevent the build-up of dust that can clog the plant’s surfaces and prevent the efficient exchange of both oxygen and light. Spraying plants down with a leaf shine product can also keep houseplants looking fresh and shiny without preventing the plant from taking up air or sun.
- Keeping water levels consistent: Houseplants become weakened when water is in short supply, and pests often take advantage of a houseplant that isn’t thriving. Watering bulbs can be a great option to keep the potting soil moist, especially in hanging plants where it isn’t as convenient to bring them up and down from the ceiling.
- Learning what your plants like. One of the easiest things to mess up with keeping indoor plants is also one of the easiest to fix. Every plant comes from different parts of the world and will thrive best in different customized growing conditions. Knowing how much light a plant needs and what kind of soil it prefers are half the battle in keeping a houseplant healthy and pest-free.
- Don’t forget to feed: While a plant that is exposed to the earth has a chance to leech additional nutrients from the surrounding soil, a houseplant in a pot only has access to a small amount of soil to feed from. To supplement this, houseplants must be fertilized regularly to prevent the plant from becoming stunted and malnourished. The weaker a plant is, the more susceptible it is to insects and other pests.
It’s much easier to properly maintain a houseplant than it is to try and revive one from the brink of death, so incorporating just a few consistent, weekly plant care chores into your daily routine can do wonders towards your evolution as a green thumb.
Careful Monitoring is the Best Pest Control for Houseplants
The more attention you pay to your indoor garden, the easier it is to identify and manage any pests problems that might spring up. The more you know about the different kinds of insects and other pests that can potentially affect your plants, the better you can streamline your defense strategy to provide the most protection at the least expense to the environment and any beneficial insects.
There are many different natural and organic solutions for controlling garden pests indoors, so you should always take a shot at an environmentally friendly solution before attempting any use of potent chemical pesticides, especially indoors.