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Keeping indoor plants healthy and pest-free

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 11:40 AM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Have you ever bought a house plant... tried your hardest to keep it thriving only for it to pass on to greener pastures after a couple months? You’re not alone. Like any living organism, house plants are prone to pests and disease – both of which can seriously impact the health of the plant.

“Some of the most common pests that you’ll find with house plants are spider mites, mealy bugs and fungus gnats. Spider mites, I think, are the worst,” said Emily Hinners, Owner of Cast & Grey Botanical.

Mites are some of the hardest pests to detect and get rid of. The treatment is a true process. Place the plant by itself and hose it down. Then, rub on a diluted castile soap solution. Wipe the dilution off and hose the plant down again.

Mealy bugs can be fixed by soaking the end of a Q-tip in isopropyl alcohol and rubbing the Q-tip on the affected portion of the plant. There is an even easier treatment for fungus gnats – change your soil out. The gnats are probably there because the plant’s soil is too wet – you may be overwatering.

As COVID taught us, distance is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of pests and disease spreading to begin with. If you’re bringing a new plant into your home, there is a general rule to follow.

“You need to isolate it first. You need to inspect it thoroughly and keep it in isolation for a week or two. Don’t just immediately put it with your other plants because some pests are hard to detect at first. There is a lot of joy that can come from nurturing something other than yourself. A house plant wants to live and it will work with you if you figure out how to have a symbiotic relationship with your plant,” Hinners explains.

Hinners also reminds us to not give up. If you lose a plant or two, learn from it and keep going. You’ll get the hang of it.

Happy gardening!

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