Are you struggling with an aphid infestation on your houseplants? Would you like to find a natural way to remove them without resorting to harsh chemicals and spray? If so, we’ve put together 5 great ways to keep aphids off your houseplants naturally.
In addition to infesting your outdoor plants and trees, household plants such as spider plants, peacock plants, and even herbs can quickly become infested with aphids. In fact, aphids are actually the most common household insect of all!
Due to their small size, aphids can easily come indoors through window screens, door cracks, and other small spaces leading to the outdoors. In addition, aphids can also hitch a ride on those outdoor plants you bring inside, or can even be delivered on flower arrangements.
Thankfully, there are many natural ways to keep aphids off of your houseplants. And all can help remove them quickly and prevent a recurrence by following just a few simple tips.
What Are Aphids?
Aphids are tiny insects that belong to the Aphididae family. The adults are pear-shaped and only measure around 1/8 inch in length or less.
There are around 5,000 different species of aphids. Most are light green in color, but you can also find black, white, and grey aphids as well.
Due to their size and the fact that they often are found on the underside of leaves, they can be difficult to detect. Checking your houseplants over routinely or when watering can be helpful for spotting an infestation early before things get out of hand.
How Do Aphids Infest and Damage Plants?
An aphid infestation can occur before you are even aware there is an issue. They multiply quickly and easily, and you will have to address the issue fast to prevent the aphids from damaging your houseplants.
They are highly mobile and can travel from one plant to another easily. In an indoor setting, they can spread by crawling or flying. So once you start to see aphids on one of your houseplants, it’s only a matter of time before they start to take over your other plants.
Aphids survive by eating the nutrient-filled softer parts of a plant. Leaves, stems, branches, and even the bud and fruit of the plant are all fair game. They tend to cluster in areas of new growth of the plant. This can cause significant damage to plants, especially since aphids multiple quickly.
As aphids eat plant material, they leave behind a sticky substance from their waste called “honeydew”. This byproduct can cause fungus and sooty mold growth on your plants.
Eventually, your plants will start to look deformed and damaged and your plants might even start dropping leaves with an aphid infestation. In addition, the buds and fruit can start to become deformed and die off as well.
How To Keep Aphids Off Your Houseplants Naturally
You do not need to use harsh chemicals and sprays in order to keep aphids off of your houseplants. Often, natural solutions like the ones suggested below actually work better than using chemicals and commercial products.
Most of these solutions utilize products that are readily available in your home. While most of these methods work well, you may have to do them consistently for a while in order to completely get rid of a large aphid infestation.
You can use water as an effective solution to keep aphids off of your houseplants. There are a multitude of ways to use it to address the infestation effectively.
For light infestations, take a cotton swab and soak it in water. Use the damp swab to wipe down areas of your plants where an infestation occurs.
For heavier infestations, use a strong stream of cold water to remove aphids from your houseplants. Using a simple plastic spray bottle filled with cold water on the “jet” setting works perfectly for this. You’ll likely want to do this outside if possible or in your bathtub or sink.
Unfortunately, if you have a plant with delicate foliage, it might not be able to tolerate spraying. If that’s the case, you can attempt to dip the plant in water. Keep the foliage in the water for a few minutes to dislodge insects. Make sure to use clean, room temperature water.
When using water, you might need to repeat the process a few times for complete removal.
Using neem oil is another great way to eliminate aphids on houseplants naturally. Neem oil is made from neem trees. It is an organic and biodegradable natural pesticide that will not harm your plants or family. (Product Link: Neem Oil)
Make sure to follow the instructions carefully when using neem oil since some products come ready to use while others may need to be diluted in water before use. As an added bonus, neem oil also works on beetles, cabbage worms, mealy bugs, leafminers, and other tiny insects – indoors or outdoors!
Homemade Soap Spray
You can prepare a homemade spray with pure liquid soap and water to keep aphids off of your houseplants.
To create your homemade spray, take a small bucket and fill it with water. Then, mix in a few tablespoons of liquid soap. Avoid using detergents and use only liquid soap. The difference between the two are that soaps are derived from biodegradable natural ingredients (oils, fats, etc.), while detergents are made from man-made chemicals.
After preparing this solution, you can use a spray bottle to spray the solution directly on the aphids. You want to make sure to soak the entire infested area, including the underside of the leaves. The homemade solution will kill aphids on contact but not harm your plant.
You can use garlic spray to eliminate aphids from your houseplants. It works by making the plants sticky, and the bugs will not want to lay eggs on sticky plants or stems.
You will need water and garlic to prepare a simple garlic spray. Crush a whole garlic clove and soak it in two cups of hot water. Leave the mix overnight and strain out the garlic from the water in the morning. After removing the garlic pieces, add one tablespoon of hot pepper and liquid soap to the water.
Place the solution in a spray bottle to spray the garlic solution on your houseplants. Like the homemade soap spray, make sure to soak the entire infected area including under the leaves. Store the garlic solution in your fridge for up to one week.
You can also consider using essential oils to remove aphids from your houseplants. Essential oils will not kill the aphids, but it will prevent them from wanting to take up residence on your plants.
The most effective essential oil to use is lavender. However, you can also use clove, peppermint, thyme, and rosemary oil. All create a smell that the aphids tend to stay far away from.
Add four to five drops of your preferred oil to a spray bottle filled with water. Mix well and spray the entire plant. Be sure to test the spray on a small part of your plant first to make sure there is no adverse reaction. Keep the solution nearby and spray your houseplant a couple of times a day until the aphids are gone.
All these natural solutions are very helpful to keep aphids off of your houseplants. They are safe and will not impact your indoor air or the health of your pets and family. With just a little effort, your houseplants will be aphid free in no time at all!
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