houseplantsAs the summer season progresses in you need to shift your houseplants indoors from the outside. Not doing this could infect your houseplants with flying insects or aphids and other small pests.

Aphids are tiny little sapsuckers live and feed in groups on the stems of plants. They can be different colors including white, green, brown or even orange. To treat aphids indoors, add a teaspoon of dishwashing soap to a gallon of water and wash the whole plant with the solution. You can help the process along by rubbing the stems with your fingers or a cotton ball. Let it set for a few minutes, then rinse well.

Mites are very small insects and can form a thin web over the plant. Affected plants’ leaves may appear spotted and, if there are flowers, they may start to look unhealthy. Try blasting off the mites with water. You can do this by setting the plant in the sink and using the sprayer. You can also use the same method we talked about for aphids.

Scales  appear as sticky areas on leaves and stems. If there are tiny dots you can remove with your fingers, the plant may have scales. Remove them by hand and carefully monitor the plant for more outbreaks.

Mealybugs may be identified as mealybug by its white, fluffy, wax coating. They typically appear on the underside of leaves. Try using a little alcohol on a cotton ball and applying it to the mealy bugs. The alcohol will penetrate the wax and eventually kill the pests.

You can also make your own kitchen insect spray that was developed by the editors of Organic Gardening magazine. If you would like to try this natural insect control on your houseplants, here is the recipe:Combine 1 garlic bulb, 1 small onion, and 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper in a food processor or blender and process into a paste. Mix into 1 quart of water and steep for 1 hour. Strain through a cheesecloth and add 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap. Mix well. The mixture can be stored for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.

If your spot that your plants are getting affected with pests an even after treating them two or three times these pests persist you need to discard these plants otherwise it will also infect your other houseplants. Scrub the flowerpot and disinfect it before using it again.

Gardeners know that the houseplants have a dormant period just as outdoor plants do. In case of such dormancy water less and do not add fertilizer. Quite periodically set your houseplants with a shower, and rinse off the dust on the foliage and wash the soil thoroughly. Drain well before putting the plant back on its shelf. You may also need to move plants around the house to give them as much sunlight as possible. Prune off any dead stems and leaves, and keep the soil clean. Adding an attractive mulch, such as pebbles, glass beads, or cocoa shells would be even better.

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