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The Darker Side of Houseplants

January 10, 2023

Houseplants are a great way to bring some life into the home. They freshen up the air around them, brighten up the room with their vibrant natural colors, and most agree that being around plants can bring a sense of ease. While we all know that they need regular care to stay vibrant and healthy, many people are unaware of a very common threat to their beloved household garden; pests. Just like their outdoor cousins, houseplants are vulnerable to attack by hungry insects, and you may not even realize your plant is in trouble unless you know what to search for. In honor of National Houseplant Appreciation Day, we here at Black Diamond have put together a list of common pests and how to spot them. If you suspect any of these pests are hurting your plants, give us a call today at 877-DEAD-BUG!

One of the most common pests of household plants is the clover mite; a tiny arachnid that’s commonly known for its bright red color. Clover mites can reproduce very quickly, and in large numbers they can ruin more than your plants as they leave behind red stains wherever they are squished.

Up next on the list is fungus gnats, an incredibly tiny flying insect that reproduces in damp soil and whose larva can be devastating to younger or more delicate plants. In adult form these gnats may be small and weak fliers, but they make themselves an enormous nuisance whenever they take to the air, buzzing about in your face and clumsily bouncing off walls and windows.  

Many people are familiar with aphids as a common outdoor garden pest, but unfortunately, they will just as gladly feed on indoor plants if they have the opportunity. These tiny sap sucking pests can come in a number of different colors, but their goal is always to feed on the sugary sap produced by plants, and they will help themselves until their meal is withered to nothing.

Mealybugs are a strange looking pest, as they more resemble tiny fuzzy specks than normal bugs, but like aphids they are interested in drinking their host dry. They resemble tiny puffs of cotton and often wedge themselves in the joints of the plant, which will yellow and wither as it grows weaker from losing so much sap.

A pest that is harder to identify is the scale insect, a group of bugs that resemble hard scales clustering on the plant. They rarely move and don’t look like much more than a simple hard scale, but they still damage plants by drinking their sap, resulting in withered and dying leaves that will only worsen as their numbers grow.

These and other pests can do real damage to your beloved houseplants, and you may not even know they’re chowing down unless you catch them in the act. Many of these nasty bugs hitch a ride indoors when you bring your plants in to save them from the cold, meaning it’s always a good idea to check over your pots before you do so. If you suspect something is munching down on your plants, give us a call today!