This month, we are featuring a series of articles that will teach you how to prevent, detect and eradicate common houseplant pests. Up this week: SPIDER MITES
Keeping your plants clean is the best way to prevent spider mites. As you do your watering routine, check your plants for abnormalities and/or bugs and remove any dead foliage. You can also wipe down the leaves of your larger plants, if you have some, with a wet paper towel. Learn more plant housekeeping tips here.
Spider mites are minute, sap-sucking pests that can infest the underside of leaves of nearly all houseplants growing in hot and dry conditions. The upper surface of the leaf becomes speckled with yellow blotches and the leaves fall prematurely; white webbing is sometimes produced between the leaves and stems.
Wash them away.
Spider mites can be dislodged with a steady stream of water. Repeat the treatment as necessary. This is best for light infestations.
Use neem oil.
Neem oil is an organic oil derived from the neem tree. Use according to label instructions.
Give your plant a soapy suds down.
Make your own insecticidal soap by using a gentle dish detergent or similar soap product free of perfumes and additives that might harm plants. Mix the soap in a weak concentration with water (starting at 1 teaspoon per gallon and increasing as necessary). Spray on plants. Depending on the severity of infestation, you may need to repeat this method weekly until the infestation is completely gone.