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Houseplants are an easy way to bring a touch of nature inside. They are beautiful and improve the air quality, and it is rewarding to nurture them as they thrive and grow. In addition, the benefits of outdoor gardens are numerous. Homegrown foods are good for your health, and gardening is good exercise and can boost your mood. 

In general, plants help protect and save the planet. But it can be very frustrating when bugs invade your beautiful plants and flowers. And sometimes, ridding your houseplants and outdoor gardens of bugs can be challenging. Just when you thought you removed all the pests for good, they appear again.

Below is our guide to keeping bugs off your gardens and houseplants.

Indoor Plants

Prevention

Make a habit of looking for and removing insects and nests when you water your indoor plants. Pay particular attention if you have moved plants inside from outdoors during cooler weather and when you first bring plants home from a nursery.

Read up on your plants and common bugs. By avoiding what attracts them, you can stave off many of these nuisances. For example, spider mites thrive in dry conditions, so keep the air around your plants humid and ensure your plants are properly watered. If bugs have invaded your greens, it’s time for action.

Quarantine

If you discover bugs in one of your plants, quarantine it away from your other indoor plants. If you catch it early, it may prevent the infestation from spreading. Then, follow the steps below for treatment.

Wash Away the Bugs

Removing the bugs is often as simple as washing them away with water or dislodging them with a cotton swab. But when this doesn’t solve the problem, you can try other things, particularly when you recognize the type of critter that has invaded your greens.

Aphids are tiny pear-shaped insects that invade new leaves and flower buds. Mealybugs are slow-moving bugs the size of a dill seed and look like they are covered with flour. Scale appears as tan oval bumps on the leaves of your plants. Use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or vegetable oil to remove all three of these types of bugs. Repeat weekly until all signs of infestation are gone.

Spider webs on the leaves or stems of your plants are a sure sign of spider mites, one of the most destructive houseplant pests. If you spot spider webs, wash or spray the leaves with a homemade insecticide soap and rinse them well. 

Remedies

Natural pest remedies are some of the best treatments. These include:

  • Neem oil for its natural pesticidal properties.
  • Insecticidal soap because it kills plant pests on contact.
  • Diatomaceous earth (DE) because it is non-toxic, yet kills bugs.
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Outdoor Plants

Start with Preventative Measures

The outdoors is full of bugs seeking food and a place to call home! It is more challenging to ward them off, but there are several things you can do to keep bugs away from your gardens.

Encourage beneficial insects like ladybugs, parasitic wasps, and damsel bugs that eat the pests you want to rid your plants of. Plants like sunflowers, cosmos, black-eyed Susans, goldenrod, and asters attract, encourage, and support a broad diversity of beneficial insects.

Maintaining healthy soil is one of the best pest prevention methods. Floating row covers, a lightweight fabric placed directly on plants, can keep insects from laying eggs.

If certain pests are common to your region, ask your neighborhood groups or search online for preventative solutions. Cutworms are fat, one-inch-long moth larvae that hide beneath leaves or within the top layer of soil during the day and feed on plants at night. They are common throughout the United States. Making collars from plastic cups or toilet paper rolls is a creative way to protect young seedlings from cutworms. Cultivate the soil before planting new seedlings and remove the curled-up cutworms by hand.

Save the Garden without Killing the Earth

Natural and DIY pesticides are effective and safe ways to protect your plants. A mixture of vegetable oil mixed and soap will help rid your garden of pests such as aphids, mites, and thrips.

Mix 1 1/2 teaspoon of a mild liquid soap with 1 quart of water for another simple spray you can use on mites, aphids, whiteflies, beetles, and other insects. You can spray the mixture directly on the infected surfaces of the plants. Experts recommend you apply it in the cooler evening hours. 

You can also make a garlic spray by pureeing two garlic bulbs with a small amount of water in a blender and then straining them into a quart jar. Next, add 1/2 cup of vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon of mild liquid soap and fill the jar with water. Generously spray the plants and say goodbye to the bugs!

Dealing with a pest infestation is every plant owner’s worst nightmare. But, don’t give up! It is possible to get your gardens and houseplants back to normal with a little extra effort.