Though the indoors seems like a safe place from plant invaders, indoor pests can come from a variety of sources, including an open window or new indoor plants. When pest symptoms strike a houseplant, identifying indoor plant pests can help you figure out the best way to get rid of the problem. Types of common indoor plant pests include insects and infectious diseases.
The first symptom of a plant pest problem is often an unhealthy plant. Many pests operate underground, so not all pests can be seen before they start causing plant damage. Symptoms of pest problems in indoor plants include yellowing leaves, wilting stems, missing leaves on the bottom of the stems and foliage that is falling off or dying.
Learning to identify pests on a new plant can help you avoid bringing plants home with pests that can invade the existing plants in your indoor garden. If you already have pests, identifying indoor pests is important when choosing the most effective method of getting rid of them.
Aphids are a family of pests that feed on plants and can cause misshapen or dropping leaves. Aphids can further damage plants by spreading viruses to the different plants on which they feed. The easiest way to get rid of aphids is to spray them with a strong stream of water from a spray bottle.
Mealybugs are small, blob-like white or pink bugs that stick to the stems and undersides of plant leaves. These bugs feed on the plant by sucking at the tender shoots of the plant. The easiest way to get rid of mealybugs is to pick them off the plant with a pair of tweezers, making sure to discard the bugs away from any other plants.
Diseases that can cause damage to indoor plants include bacteria, fungi, nematodes and viruses. Symptoms of plant disease that differ from other types of indoor plant pests include standing wet soil, spongy tissue areas and roots with black tissue that slides off easily. Common diseases in indoor plants include root rot, blight, mildew and leaf spot diseases.
When you identify a pest, the first step is to remove it from the garden to prevent the pest from spreading. Disease can be spread by insect pests, quickly decimating an indoor garden. Diseases also spread across the soil in the same plant bed; remove diseased plants from a shared planting container to curtail spread of the disease.