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Houseplant Pest Inspection Time

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Do you inspect your houseplants for pests?

Houseplants that vacation outdoors for summer require inspection for houseplant pests when you bring them inside. That’s because you don’t want a bunch of pest and disease to grow on your plants all winter. And when your plants are outside in summer, they’re very susceptible to various pests and disease.

houseplants in solarium

Healthy houseplants in a bright sunny window for winter.

But, don’t let that stop you from giving your houseplants a summer vacation outside.

Houseplant pests shouldn’t stop you from putting your plants outdoors when it is warm. That’s because the plants love getting to be outdoors in nature. Plus, houseplants do a great job decorating deck and patio seating areas seasonally.

Not all houseplant pests or diseases will be immediately apparent.

When you first bring your houseplants back inside, you may not notice any pest of disease issues. In fact, many issues don’t come to life for a few days or even a few weeks after your plants are in the house. But, there are some houseplant pests and diseases to look for carefully. And, there are some signs that may tell you they’re going to emerge soon.

Next, let’s consider the yuck scale.

Scale: This houseplant pest really gives us the willies. And, it always seems to show up on our citrus trees within a week or two after the plants have been inside for fall. So, to know if your houseplant has scale, look for raised lumps along the stem. That’s because scale starts out soft and easy to squish. Then, they harden up with a tough shell that’s hard to penetrate. Squishing can remedy it when young. But, trimming out infected branches also works. Or, you could also visit a local nursery for some of the other management options on the market.

houseplant pest - scale on lime tree

This is scale. Scale is nasty. Scale likes to live on all sorts of plants, but it really seems to love our lime tree. YUCK!

And, of course houseplant pests include these suckers.

Aphids: Yep these suckers often hitch a ride inside. Inspect the undersides of leaves before you bring in your plants and keep an eye out for fresh hatches soon after the plants come inside.

Rolling with the pill bugs isn’t good.

Woodlice: Also known as pill bugs or rolly-pollies, these eaters of decomposition love to hide on the bottom of planters or just inside the drain holes. Knock them loose outside before you bring in your plants.

Frogs aren’t houseplant pests, but…

Frogs: Okay, these aren’t pests, but they really don’t want to live indoors with you. Our native Pacific tree frogs tried to make many of our houseplants high on a deck their homes. Carefully, help them find their way outside where they know how to survive just fine all winter.

cleaning pests from houseplant

Clean out detritus & be sure any live frogs stay outside when you bring in your houseplants for winter

And, more icky stuff to watch for…

Mold, Mildew & Fungi: You may find little mushrooms popping up in your houseplant, which shouldn’t give too much worry. But do clean up and dispose of leaf and other detritus in the tops of your planters to dissuade the growth of mildew and mold, which can readily spread to your beloved plants as well.
Weeds: Garden weeds love to set up shop in your container gardens. Be sure to winnow them out before you bring your plants in for winter.

Slugs: Slugs also hide in the wet, dark recesses of planting containers. Dig them free before you bring in your plants.Snails: You may find young snails hatching and climbing through your plants soon after they come indoors. Smash’m!

There are any number of other houseplant pest issues that can pop up when plants move inside for winter.

So, picking over the plants, soil and containers carefully before you bring them inside is a good basic rule. Too, spraying any questionable foliage with a good jet of water may also knock back some of the more common problems like aphids.

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