Indoor container gardening is one of the most popular hobbies nowadays among urbanites. With not enough space for outdoor gardens, these homes have to make most of their home’s square inch footage to bring in vibrant blooms and improved air quality therein. But along with enthusiasm and excitement also comes a serious challenge — bugs. So how to get rid of bugs in houseplants soil as well as on the plant itself?
From cutworms to fungus gnats, grubs, weevils, and what-have-you, these miniscule creepy living things are collectively called “bugs” for a reason– they can bug you to no end causing distress not just to the plant itself but also to your sanity. To get you and your houseplants out of these messy situation, these tips on eliminating bugs from your houseplants soil can be of great help.
1. Carefully observe the type or types of bugs infesting your houseplants’ soil. Springtails, for instance, can be seen after watering. Mold, gnats and others may manifest in cream or gray color. There are many types of bugs in houseplants, and identifying what’s infesting your potted plants will make the effort more efficient and less time consuming.
2. Eliminate bugs at first instance by drying out at least 2 inches of your potted soil. This will help dry out eggs being laid by adult ones. When this does not work, take out the infected soil and wash pot using mild soap and hot water. Replace with new potting mix particularly with moisture control quality like this one from Miracle-Gro. It does not only provide key nutrients to plants to grow better, it also prevents bugs from thriving.
3. If new larvae still emerges in your newly potted soil, introducing parasitic nematodes is another way to eliminate these bugs. These harmless worms eliminate bugs larvae by entering their bodies then, eat them. Dr. Pye’s Scanmask comes with 7 million live beneficial nematodes that can destroy soil bugs and pests ranging from cutworms, weevils, grubs, gnats, flea, subterranean termites, Japanese beetles, and other soil-dwelling, wood-boring insects. Though proven safe and effective, it is wise to apply them on your potted plants in an open area like patio or terrace.
4. Another way is to spray insecticidal soap to eliminate bugs that gnaws at a plant’s base just a few inches below the soil. Other lurkers like aphids, spider mites and white flies will also be eliminated using insecticidal soap like this one from Espoma.
5. “Shower” your plants the natural way. You can mix 4 cups of water and 5 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid in a sprayer then, spray unto plants leaf, soil and stem to dehydrate pests and bugs. Essential oils can also be mixed to create a concoction to repel bugs on soil. Aside from pyrenthrum spray, natural insecticide from dried chrysanthemum flowers, neem oil spray is also an excellent option as it works as both insecticide and fungicide.
6. Stick a clove or two of garlic into your houseplants’ soil. This positive and non-toxic way of eliminating nibbling bugs and pests like mole, gophers and voles. Its overpowering smell repels bugs. You may also concoct your own garlic water recipe to be used as spray or to water plants.
There are ample of ways on how to get rid of bugs in houseplants soil as well as on the plant itself. Some people standby using natural means of doing so, while others go the easier route of buying organic insecticides that eliminate such bugs at their onset. In all these, one important aspect is common though– to immediately apply quick and effective measures in protecting your houseplants and make your container gardening project thrive without pests hanging around.