Houseplant Pests – Meadow View Growers

Houseplant Pests

Mealy Bugs

Are they affecting your indoor garden?

How are your houseplants doing? We are getting questions about a few of the major insects that affect them. There are three or four bugs that can cause our plants to deteriorate if we don’t keep them under control. It is important to purchase your house plants from a source that recognizes these problem bugs and prevents these problems from coming home with you when you purchase plants.


  • Spider Mites are little tiny critters (about the size of a period at the end of a sentence) that you almost need a magnifier to see. Typically, they are found on the underside of the leaves. They suck the juices from the plant and eventually cause the leaves to drop off. Before the leaves fall off, they will display little tiny pock marks on the surface of the leaf. You may see some webbing in severe cases.
  • Mealy Bugs are a real pest and very visible, unlike the mites. Again, they are a sucking insect and appear as a rather fuzzy white critter. You may find them in a crevice, where the leaf attaches to the stem of the plant or along the stem itself.
  • Scale can be a problem but is not found as frequently. This is another sucking insect that causes trouble. They appear as an oval or flat brown or tan shell looking structure. Many times they are on the underside of the leaf where the leaf attaches to the stem of the plant, much like the Mealy Bugs, but can also be found along the stem.
  • Fungus Gnats look like miniature fruit flies. Their larvae are tiny worm-like bugs that live in soggy wet soil. They cause damage by feeding on plant roots. The adults are a nuisance when they are around.

You may be asking: How do I avoid having these problems and how do I get rid of them, if they appear?  It is not hard if you stay with it.

If the first three pests mentioned above are sprayed, especially the underside of the leaves, with tepid water in the sink or shower a couple of times a month this may be all that is necessary. If this fails, spray with an Insecticidal Soap or Dormant / Horticultural Oil, again hitting the underside of the leaves. You may need to wipe the Mealy Bugs or Scale off of the plant, but they should come off easily if they are dead.

The Fungus Gnat control is even easier. Keep the soil drier by letting the soil dry out between waterings. It may also be necessary to spray with the Insecticidal Soap until the potting soil adjusts to your changed watering practices.

A little bit of time spent with your houseplants will keep both of you happy and content.

MVG – We keep you gardening all year ’round