Spider Mites, Bites!
Sometimes even with the best care, our favorite plants become the victim of spider mites or other pests. There are a few ways to prevent spider mites, and I’ll show you how to get rid of them if they are already a problem in your houseplants.
In order to prevent spider mites you should keep your houseplants watered properly, don’t let them become bone dry between watering’s. Some tropical houseplants also require misting. Misting should be done on a daily basis if you have tropical plants.
Also keep houseplants away from heater vents as the forced air dries out leaves fast. Once those leaves are dry, they become breeding ground for pests. Tropical plants need humidity like their natural environment.
Dust your plants weekly. You can do that with a duster, or take a damp paper towel and gently wash off each leaf to take the dust off. The damp paper towel method will also provide extra moisture.
You might also want to consider predatory mites. This sounds icky, but it’s extremely effective. Predatory mites are tiny beneficial insects that specifically target mites such as spider mites. You can find a good brand here: Click Here
If you’re like me, and ended up with spider mites, you’re probably looking for a way to get rid of them, NOW!
Assess how bad the situation is. Is the entire plant covered? Or is it just a leaf or two?
If it’s just a leaf or two, your best bet is to get a damp paper towel and wipe the top and underside of the leaves, being careful to not damage the already bitten up leaf. Spider mites suck plant juices and your leaves are already tender.
Do your best to clean it up and check that plant daily for spider mites. One of the best ways to see spider mites is to get a mister and spray the entire plant down. Don’t forget the undersides of the leaves. Spider webs will become very visible that way. Either wipe those leaves down again, or go for the big guns… pesticides.
My tropical plants are actually edible fruit trees so I can’t use harmful pesticides on them, but neem oil and insecticidal soap are considered safe for any plant. Try those first and see if they can help you control your pest problem. If not there are a large range of pesticides available, just remember those pesticides will be in your home.
If you have a large infestation of spider mites, and nothing else is working, try taking your plant to the shower. Gently give your plant a shower, being careful to also spray the underside of each leaf, and the stems. Spider mites will fall into the shower and down the drain. Your plant will probably appreciate the good rain too. After the shower spray insecticidal soap on the plant, including the soil under the plant. You don’t want anything that survived that shower to spring back up.
Following the shower, for the next couple of weeks keep a good eye on that plant for any more mites. Wipe those down with the damp paper towel method again.
Just a little tip if you have room to grow things under your house plants; some plants that spider mites can’t stand are, Cilantro, Dill, and Garlic. If you have room to grow them under your susceptible plants you might want to consider them. Being that they’re also edible you’ll have a nice addition to dinner when they reach maturity.