How to Get Rid of Aphids on Houseplants
One of the benefits of growing flowers and shrubs indoors is the limited amount of plant pests, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, and implementing a pest control system becomes essential to maintaining your plant’s health. Having a strategy in place for how to get rid of aphids on houseplants, for instance, is a lifesaver – at least for your plant.
So, where do you start? Identifying an infestation is vital since you choose the best method for the right pest increases the plan’s chance of success. Aphids are sometimes hard to recognize because they come in all different colors, from light green to pink to black.
These lice-like insects only grow to about ⅛ of an inch despite having long antennae. They are ovalish and often wingless, though some species develop wings throughout their life cycle to travel from plant to plant, either to reproduce or when aphid populations grow too large in one area.
The best home remedy for aphids on houseplants is consistency. Whatever technique you choose, stick with it until all the pests disappear for good.
- How to Kill Aphids on Indoor Plants with Ease
- Use Some Soap and Water First
- How to Get Rid of Aphids on Houseplants with Neem Oil
- Try an Alcohol Spray for Pest Control
- How to Kill Aphids on Indoor Plants Naturally
- Introduce Natural Predators
- Add Essential Oils to the Mix
- Sprinkle Some Diatomaceous Earth
- Home Remedy for Aphids on Houseplants
- Remove Parts or Whole Plant
- Check for Other Household Pests
- Kick Up the Heat with Cayenne
- Final Advice for Aphid Control on Houseplants
- What attracts aphids to your houseplants?
- Why is it important to get rid of aphids?
How to Kill Aphids on Indoor Plants with Ease
It doesn’t have to be a challenge to get rid of white aphids or other types of aphids on your indoor plants.
As a bonus, these control methods work on the majority of vegetation-eating insects, saving you from having to make separate concoctions for every pesky problem you come across. Some common bugs just waiting to take a bite out of your plants are listed here.
Common Garden Pests
- Spider mites
- Fungus gnats
- Scale insects
- Leaf miner
While all of these insects attack shrubs and flowers differently, most cannot withstand the same measures taken to deal with aphids. When executed correctly, these tips not only help eliminate pests but prevent them from coming back in the future, too. They are simple to make and use.
Use Some Soap and Water First
Sometimes the most straightforward pest solution is the best. If the shrub is well-established, spraying the plant leaves with a steady stream of water removes aphids without the need for chemical products.
This solution works particularly well on outdoor plants and is quite successful to get rid of aphids on tomatoes. If the blast of water still isn’t enough to dispel small bundles of these insects, however, then adding an insecticidal soap such as Castile soap helps.
DIY Insecticidal Soap for Aphids
- 5 tbsp mild dish soap
- 1 gallon of water
For an alternative recipe to get rid of aphids on succulents and other houseplants, use horticultural oil instead of dish soap. Either way, combine the ingredients in a large bottle and shake until blended.
Spray all parts of the plant with the soapy water, primarily the stems and the undersides of leaves where the aphids may hide. Do not spray this remedy more than once a week, though multiple applications may be necessary to eliminate an infestation.
Use this easy recipe to take care of aphids on roses, whether you have plants in pots inside or the rose bushes are outside. Aphids can’t handle the soap and quickly die.
How to Get Rid of Aphids on Houseplants with Neem Oil
Since the biggest concern for any homeowner is the safety of all who reside within the home, selecting an aphid control practice that’s also safe to use is critical.
One such option is neem oil, a natural mite killer that works just as well on aphids. While the insects don’t stand a chance against this effective insecticide, it is harmless for pets and small children.
Homemade Aphid Spray
- 1 tbsp neem oil
- 2 cups of water
To get rid of woolly aphids, whether they are on your houseplants or your plants outdoors, try neem oil. Neem oil is an organic material extracted from certain evergreen trees.
The oil upsets the hormonal balance of most garden pests, making it difficult for them to develop into new stages of their life cycle and preventing them from making more insects.
When applying this substance to kill aphids on trees or other plants, add it once a week for the best results. If using this as a preventative measure, do not apply more than once every two weeks.
Try an Alcohol Spray for Pest Control
Another helpful tip for how to kill aphids on indoor plants is to create an alcohol spray. This tactic involves using either isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol to treat an aphid infestation. Either way, both are safe to use on your favorite houseplants.
Easy-to-Make Alcohol Aphid Spray
- 1 part alcohol
- 1 part water
Start by adding equal parts water and rubbing alcohol into a small spray bottle. If you are concerned about the alcohol damaging the plants, add a little more water but don’t add too much to make the solution ineffective.
If it’s only a small patch of aphids, then a quick brush of alcohol with a cotton swab works. Otherwise, spray the area with the most aphids and allow the liquid to dry. Repeat this process twice a week until the pests disappear.
This alcohol spray is also quite effective to get rid of millipedes indoors, ants that have managed to find their way inside, and any other insect that travels where it doesn’t belong.
How to Kill Aphids on Indoor Plants Naturally
There are plenty of natural ways to oust aphids, meaning you don’t have to sacrifice preference for what’s readily available. Like most creatures, bugs rely on a sense of smell to find food. Garlic cloves give off a pungent odor most bugs hate, making it a fantastic repellent to drive pests off of your houseplants and out of your homes.
Garlic Oil Natural Aphid Killer
- Several cloves of garlic
- 4 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 pint of water
- 1 tsp dish detergent
- Spray bottle
Mince the cloves and place them in a spray bottle with warm water, vegetable oil, and dish detergent. Shake until all the items mix well. Spray the entire plant with the formula, including the undersides of the leaves.
Since the ingredients are all-natural and have no effect on the plant itself, the process is much safer than using store-bought pesticides like pyrethrins.
Introduce Natural Predators
Another way to control aphids is by introducing some of their natural predators. Of course, doing this doesn’t necessarily mean bringing in a whole swarm of ladybugs to take over your home. Lady beetles generally eat about 50 aphids a day, which is quite a bit, even if you have an infestation on your hands.
Other predators like lacewings are equally beneficial insects that eat around 200 aphids per week. They are also perfect when it comes to controlling spider mites and other pests, too.
Most lawn and garden stores, including Home Depot, carry lacewing eggs and ladybugs for purchase. Growing shrubs like catnip that attract these types of predators is another great way to get your aphid problem under control.
Add Essential Oils to the Mix
Essential oils are a great way to make a lousy situation smell divine. Not only do essential oils kill aphids, but they deter most pests, which is perfect for indoor plants and gardens.
There are four basic essential oils to choose from when it comes to creating your natural repellent: peppermint, rosemary, thyme, and clove. Develop a blend of all four, or select your favorite one with the recipe below.
Essential Oil Aphid Eliminator
- 1 tsp essential oil
- 8 oz of water
- 1 tsp Castile soap
The best way to apply the liquid is by using a sprayer or spray bottle. Ensure you coat the entire surface of the plant, then leave it to dry on its own. This mixture kills adult aphids as well as eggs.
Sprinkle Some Diatomaceous Earth
Using diatomaceous earth is another effective way to rid your houseplants of harmful insects. Similar to other forms of pest control, the insecticide dries out the bugs while leaving your plant unscathed. Make sure to use food-grade diatomaceous earth when treating your shrubs and flowers.
Wet the plant with water before adding the powder to give it something to grip onto during the process. Dust the entire plant, making sure you get under the leaves, as well. If you leave your indoor plant outside, whether it’s on a balcony or as a quarantine from other potted greens until the aphids are under control, do not apply the diatomaceous earth to the flower petals.
Coating the flowers potentially harms beneficial pollinators like bees and butterflies. After treating the leaves and stem, don’t forget to sprinkle some around the base of the plant.
Home Remedy for Aphids on Houseplants
Another exceptional home remedy for aphids involves using baking soda and canola oil. The oil covers the insects and breaks down their exoskeletons, leaving them exposed and more susceptible to toxins. The abrasive nature of baking soda also wears down the bug’s outer shell and makes it easier to remove from plants.
Natural Aphid Control with Baking Soda
- 1 gallon of water
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- Spray bottle
To make this recipe, blend the ingredients in a large spray bottle and coat the surface of the plant. This strategy works especially well on indoor plants with limited exposure to other insects.
To avoid harming helpful bugs in the garden, only apply this to your indoor shrubs or during the dormant season for pests outdoors.
Remove Parts or Whole Plant
Sometimes the only thing to do is to prune the parts of the plant with the aphids. These damaged leaves often need removal after prolonged exposure to aphids anyway, so trimming away the bad parts improves the quality of your plant on multiple levels.
Of course, you still should follow up with a treatment plan and spray. In addition to removing parts of the plant, moving the entire plant may also prove necessary.
With a significant infestation, especially if you house multiple indoor plants, separating them from each other to prevent the spread of insects is critical. Place infected plants in an isolated area, such as a balcony or a room away from other plants.
Check for Other Household Pests
One odd thing about aphids is that they release a sweet, sticky substance known as honeydew. This watery substance looks a little like sooty mold on the leaves and is a huge draw for other insects, particularly ants. Ants love this honeydew so much in fact that they sometimes keep the aphids in one place like livestock to harvest it.
As a result, an increase in aphids might also indicate an increase in pests like ants trying to protect their food source. Many of the same pesticide treatments applied to aphids also work on ants, though preventing them from getting to the aphids in the first place is ideal.
One way to avoid this from happening is to keep the plants far out of reach of other insects. By hanging plants indoors, you limit not only the ants’ access to your flowers and shrubs but also other harmful insects that rely on the plants being on the ground level.
Kick Up the Heat with Cayenne
One last home remedy for aphids on houseplants uses a little extra spice to eliminate the problem. This practice works best on small insect problems or as a preventative measure after removing all the bugs.
Cayenne naturally deters aphids and other pests from the plant without introducing harsh chemicals, making it an excellent addition to your bug-fighting arsenal.
Discover how to get rid of aphids on houseplants using natural ingredients like vinegar and Castile soap to oust those pesky pests for good.