Bugs Bugs! Go Away! (Part 2 - Prevention)
Posted on September 19 2021
Congratulations if so far you haven't had the need to deal with bugs (😱😱)! However, it's essential to know how to prevent having them as, like it or not, they can strike your houseplants at any time. In this blog we will be talking about some must-know points in order to keep your plants free from bugs.
Healthy and strong plants are less prone to pest problems
Pest issues on indoor plants are almost unavoidable at some point so the correct mindset for keeping indoor plants is to prevent, or at least minimize, the chance of having one. We need to learn to accept that they are part of the ecosystem and some of them actually do good for the plant (e.g. earthworms).
Choose the right plant for your home based on your lifestyle and home condition
By choosing the right plants and providing good overall plant care, you will be able to minimize the chance of getting pest problems. For example, if your home doesn't get much light throughout the day, then low light-tolerant plants like sansevieria and peace lily will best match the growing requirements at your home.
If you have a very busy schedule, don't choose a plant that requires more care just because it's pretty. Choose plants with growing requirements that match your indoor environment (humidity, light, temperature), because plants cannot fight off pests when they are struggling to grow in too little light, overly wet or dry soil, too hot or too cold air temperatures, etc. All these little dots link together in order to have healthy and pest free plants. To understand more about light requirements for plants, read HERE.
Water plants properly
Watering irregularly (over-watering or under-watering) is almost always one of the main triggers for pest problems. It's very important to know how much water your plant needs and when your plant needs water. Most houseplants will be happy to have water when they are half dry, but some of them might need a bit more moisture in the soil or in the air (humidity). Take note of the following:
- Water the soil surface or the base of the plant (let the plant sit on a plate with water and let it slowly absorb the water) but not the leaves.
- Always do a finger test before watering - water it when it's half dry
- Read more about watering your plant HERE
Keep the leaves and soil surface clean
Did you know leaving dead leaves, stems or flowers on the soil or with the plant will encourage infested soil? These decaying plant parts are a breeding bed for pests. Therefore, act on the following:
- Keep the soil surface free of dead leaves, stems and flowers.
- Clean plant leaves with a damp cloth as dust and grime can reduce plant health.
- Prune out dead branches and stems.
- Examine plants regularly for insects.
Always use new soil when potting plants
If you have got a new plant and plan to put it indoors, always repot it with new potting soil. Never use old soil from other plants or from your outdoor garden. When in doubt, before repotting, wash old soil off the plant roots. Avoid using soil from open bags of potting soil that have sat outside (or been left alone for a long time) for potting indoor plants. Read more about potting mix HERE.
Feed your plants regularly
Last but not least, as mentioned earlier, a healthy plant is less prone to pest issues, so do fertilise your plant from time to time, especially when it's actively growing. To understand more about feeding your plants, read HERE.
As you can see, keeping a healthy plant is the best way to keep pest problems at bay. If you encounter bugs check our previous blog about identifying and treating pest problems HERE as early detection is key to managing pests. Last reminder - examine your plant regularly while appreciating its beauty.