Having an indoor garden adds clean air, beauty and a peaceful environment. Fortunately, having an indoor garden means you don't have to be as concerned about insect pests as you would if your garden were outside. However, sometimes insect pests fly in from outside or you carry them in on your clothing. These insects can reproduce easily if left unchecked. Explore some of the natural remedies indoor gardeners are using these days to control pests.
Check your plant leaves. If they have white or yellow speckles, you may have spider mites. Use a magnifying glass to see these tiny insects and notice that they come in colors such as green, red and brown. Spider mites puncture your plants and suck up the juices, usually congregating on one side or branch of your plant. Be aware that these mites grow into the thousands in a short period of time.
Recognize aphids from their colors of green, pink, blue, yellow and black. Notice how aphids are shaped like a teardrop with protrusions on their rear ends and how some have wings while others do not. They also leave a sticky residue of honeydew. Find aphids on the young leaves and buds of your plants and discover large groups of aphids underneath the leaves. They leave the leaves mottled, curled up and your plants' growth stunted.
Use a magnifying glass to see another tiny plant pest called thrips. Thrips look like grains of rice which jump around near the soil and are very destructive. Thrips leave a shiny residue on your plants.
Gnats are easier to recognize as black insects that fly around, starting out in the soil as larvae and feeding on your plants' roots.
Companion planting is a great way to keep pests away. Some plants even help other plants grow better. The benefits of this practice have been documented for vegetables, which you may grow indoors if you have a greenhouse or sunroom. Plant garlic with your plants to repel aphids. Grow basil with tomatoes and peppers to keep pests away. Place chives with your carrots and roses to protect them. Grow marigolds with your indoor vegetables and plants to keep many pests away.
Allow ladybugs to hang around your indoor plants, if you see any. Ladybugs are called beneficial insects because they get rid of many insect pests.
Isolate your spider mite-infested plant in a bathtub or sink. Make a homemade solution of 1/2 gallon room temperature water, 1/4 cup buttermilk and 1 1/4 cups potato flour. Mix thoroughly, adjusting ingredients until you can easily spray the mixture; then saturate your plant with this solution. Spray under the leaves too. Leave this solution on your plant for 24 hours, then rinse well or spray it down with a hose outside. All of the spider mites will be suffocated.
Take your aphid-infected plant outside; kill a few aphids and place them in the bottom of the pot. The odor the dead aphids emit let other aphids know they must leave the area.
Thrips are attracted to yellow. Trap thrips on yellow cards coated with sticky oil by placing the cards near the infestation.
Spray your indoor plants with hot pepper wax to repel all insects as well as indoor rodents, like mice. Hot pepper wax is made from cayenne pepper and food grade wax. It's completely natural and safe for your vegetables and plants. Buy it at gardening stores or online.
Isolate a new plant for about 10 days to see if it has any pests. In this way you can treat it before intermingling it with your other houseplants.
If you find a plant that appears to be sick, isolate it as soon as possible to prevent other plants from being infected.
Select varieties of plants that are resistant to disease.
Avoid using harmful, artificial chemicals on your indoor plants. Chemicals can not only affect you but also your house pets and children.