How to Rid House Plants of Mites

Overview

A small number of mites on your houseplants is not usually a problem, but a large infestation can lead to damage to the plants and leaf drop. Learning to inspect you plants often to catch the problem before the mites cause damage is the best solution. Mites suck the cell juices out of the leaves, leaving tiny spots, and if the mites are not eradicated they will continue to feed and multiply until the leaves turn yellow and eventually drop off. Ridding the plants of the mites is not difficult but patience and persistence will be required.

Step 1

Water the plants when the top of the soil feels dry. Water stress will create an environment that the mites prefer and can lead to an outbreak.

Step 2

Wipe foliage with a damp cloth often to keep dirt and dust from accumulating on it. This will help to prevent the mites or take them off before they are even noticeable.

Step 3

Quarantine all new plants in a separated room for at least three weeks. Make sure the new plants are not bringing the mites in with them and spreading them to your other plants. Inspect the plants after the quarantine period; if they have no mites, place them with your other plants.

Step 4

Run the plants under a forceful spray from the sink faucet sprayer if the plants are large or strong enough to handle it. The house plants can also be set outside on a rainy day if they are not fragile. The spray of water will wash off a small outbreak of mites and greatly cut down on a large infestation.

Step 5

Mix 2 tsp. of Ivory dish soap into a gallon of water. Fill a spray bottle with the mixture and spray the plant if you see mites. Completely cover the foliage, remembering to get the bottom of the leaves. Repeat the spraying every five days for four weeks. This should kill all the mites and their eggs.

Step 6

Spray the plants with a miticide if the infestation is bad or a whole group of plants are affected. Follow the manufacturer’s directions on usage per type of plant. Repeat the spraying once a week for a month.

Step 7

Spray 1 percent to 2 percent horticultural oil on larger woody plants in the summer. Use a 3 percent to 4 percent if the infestation is noticed in the spring or fall. Follow the manufacturer’s suggestions for mixing and applying the oil.

Things You'll Need

  • Damp soft rag
  • 1 gallon jug
  • Spray bottle
  • Ivory dish soap
  • Miticide spray
  • Horticultural oil

References

  • University of California: Spider Mites
  • University of Nebraska, Lincoln: Tips for Keeping Houseplants Pest Free
  • Ohio State University Extension: Spider Mites And Their Control

Who Can Help

  • Colorado University Extension: Insect Control: Soaps and Detergents
Keywords: mites and houseplants, cleaning house plants, preventing spider mites

About this Author

Dale DeVries is a retired realtor with 30 years of experience in almost every facet of the business. DeVries started writing in 1990 when she wrote advertising and training manuals for her real estate agents. Since retiring, she has spent the last two years writing well over a thousand articles online for Associated Content, Bright Hub and Demand Studios.