Houseplants can be beautiful additions to any home, but they come with a hidden drawback: they attract insects and pests. If you have houseplants, you are probably aware that they can harbor spider mites. But do you know how to keep your houseplants from getting spider mites? Keep reading to find out more about this common houseplant pest.
What Are Spider Mites?
Spider mites are small, eight-legged creatures that can be very pesky. They are usually found on ornamental plants such as houseplants, fruit trees, and flowers, but they can be found on many types of plants, trees, and shrubs as well.
Spider mites are very tiny, roughly the size of an apple seed or smaller. You may not see them at all, but they can cause your plant leaves to yellow and become stunted. They can also cause your plants to develop red and white spots, which can make them look scorched.
They are primarily a problem during the spring and summer when the weather is hot and humid. While they can survive a few frosty nights, they do best in a warm, humid climate. When the weather cools down in the fall and winter, most spider mites die off.
How to Identify Spider Mites on Houseplants
Spider mites can be challenging to identify because they are very small and commonly blend in with their surroundings. While they are often found on houseplants, they can also be found on trees, shrubs, and even grass. You may notice a small, yellowish cast to your plant leaves, which can make them look a little scorched.
The most common signs that your houseplants have been infested with spider mites include:
- Dark green leaves that appear scorched and may even fall off
- Small yellow or white spots on the leaves
- Sporadic yellowing of the leaves that occurs during the summer months
- Plants that appear to be dehydrated, with cracked and dry leaves
Another way to look for spider mites is to tap a branch or leaves over a sheet of white paper. The mites will fall off the plant and onto the paper, making them easy to see.
How to Keep Houseplants from Getting Spider Mites
A good way to discourage spider mites is by wiping dirty leaves periodically and making sure your watering schedule is right for your plant. Using a leaf shine periodically is also a great idea. You can make your own leaf shine spray with water, vinegar, dish soap, and coconut oil. Since spider mites like it dry, keeping the air humid around your plants is a great way to deter them from settling on your plant.
Massive infestations of spider mites on houseplants can cause the stems to turn red and die. If this occurs, simply remove the plant from the room and wash the soil well to remove any spider mites that may be hiding there.
To keep spider mites out of your home in the first place, make sure you clean your shoes and boots before coming inside. This will also help to prevent other insects from making their way inside your home.
Spider mites are a common problem for houseplants, but there are a few things you can do to prevent them from taking over your plants. Keep your houseplants clean and monitor for infestations.
If you notice your plant leaves are getting spots on them, inspect them thoroughly and quarantine the plant away from other houseplants to prevent spread.