Houseplants: How to prevent ‘common’ pests – ‘more susceptible’ in winter

Gardeners' World: How to care for houseplants

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Houseplants can attract various different pests which can be a nuisance to get rid of. During winter months when indoor plants experience a change in indoor temperature, it is important to look out for common pests.

Experts at Baby Bio® said: “Bugs are a common problem for houseplants, just as they are for outdoor plants. Particularly during winter, your houseplants can become more susceptible to pest infestations due to the change in environment and because plants go into dormancy during winter months. 

“However, there are some steps you can take to prevent pesky pests from taking over your beloved houseplants.”

This includes inspecting the houseplants as well as keeping an eye on how much they are being watered.

The experts explained that gnats are a common pest that can cause problems.

They said: “For gnats, the best way to do this is to water plants from the bottom so that the top of the compost remains dry – this stops the eggs being laid. 

“Ensure you allow the soil to dry out as much as the plant variety can tolerate before watering again – overwatering and keeping soil moist will only encourage gnats to relay eggs in top two inches of soil.  

“As well as a moist top layer of soil, pests are also attracted to decaying plant material so make sure you remove any dead leaves regularly. 

“You could also top your pots with a decorative aggregate like gravel.  

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“It looks great and stops the gnats from laying eggs.”

For those with a serious infestation, it is recommended that the houseplant is repotted.

The experts said this can deter gnats from relaying.

They said: “Make sure you shake off as much excess soil as possible before placing it into fresh soil.”

Other common pests include blackfly and greenfly.

The Baby Bio® experts said: “Of course, gnats aren’t the only pest your houseplants may be faced with. 

“If you have a pest problem from other bugs like greenfly or blackfly, invest in a bug killer like Baby Bio® Houseplant Bug Killer and spray generously to the affected plant, avoiding delicate blooms, for fast acting results. 

“Repeat this every 10 to 14 days to ensure any hatched eggs are treated, too.”

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As well as looking out for pests, houseplants need extra care during the winter months.

This includes watering them less and moving them away from direct heat sources.

Pol Bishop, gardening expert working for Fantastic Gardeners explained: “It’s extremely important to allow your plants some rest over the winter months.

“If you keep the plants fed and watered as much as you do in summer, their growth will be encouraged, which will lead to weak growth.

“As we all know, winter months have shorter days and less sunshine, that’s why it’s very important to maximise the amount of light reaching your houseplants.

“Move them into a sunny conservatory or porch, so they get sunlight from multiple directions.

“If those aren’t an option, move them onto a south or west-facing windowsill. I also recommend cleaning the windows inside and out to maximise the light exposure for your plants.”

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