Natural Pest Control for Houseplants:

Don’t use chemical pesticides (also known as insecticides) to try to kill houseplant pests. Not only are they dangerous to you, your family, and your pets; pesticides are expensive and they don’t always work to kill houseplant pests. Some common houseplant pests are resistant, or can quickly build up resistance to pesticides. Try these safer, more effective methods instead.

Soapy water – Soap kills houseplant pests on contact. Treat infested plants using water mixed with a mild liquid soap. The recipe that works the best for me is one teaspoon mild liquid soap  to one liter of water. Use in a spray bottle, or to wash the leaves of heavily infested plants (test it on a leaf first to make sure the plant isn’t sensitive to the mixture).

 
Rubbing alcohol – Use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove insect pests from the plant. This can be a bit tedious, but it works great to remove large clusters of pests like aphids, scale, or mealybugs from a plant.
 
Neem oil - This is a natural, organic product that can be very effective for controlling and eliminating common houseplant pests. Neem oil works by messing with the brains of the pest insects so they stop eating and mating, and then eventually die off.  It also has a residual effect, so you don’t have to treat the plant every day like you would with other methods.
 
Soil toppings – Top the soil of an infested houseplant with a product like Gnatnix or sand to control soil gnats. Topping the soil with diatomaceous earth could also help control soil gnats and other pests that live and breed in houseplant soil.
 
Yellow sticky traps – These are inexpensive and work great to capture adult flying houseplant pests like soil gnats and white flies.

It will take several treatments to eliminate any houseplant pest infestation, persistence is key. Once you start treating a houseplant for a pest infestation, continue to treat it at least once a day until the infestation is under control. Don’t despair, you can win the battle and keep your houseplants pest free!

 
Getting Rid of Aphids:

Minor infestations:

There are many methods of dealing with aphids. If there are only a few and you have seen them before too much damage is done simply remove them and isolate them.

Spray them with water from a hand sprayer or hold the affected part of the plant under a gentle flow of water from a shower and rinse them away. If you add a small amount of liquid soap to the water in the hand sprayer the treatment will be doubly effective. You should repeat the treatment after a week to catch any aphids that might have hatched.

You can also wipe them off with a damp sponge or a moistened cotton swab.

Natural controls:

Aphids have many natural enemies which keep their population in check, when they occur outdoors. Ladybirds and lacewings in particular will help to control an infestation.

Serious infestations:

Strong measures are needed to combat a severe attack. The safest way is to cut out the aphid-infested parts. However, this may not be successful, as aphids may return to parts so far not affected.

In this case use insecticides which are derived from organic products. Pyrethrum is a mild insecticide available as a dust or powder which is applied in solution with water.

It is a natural product with no known harmful side effects. It is especially useful as a spray on edible plants as it is non-toxic.

It works more effectively if a second application is made a week after the first.

Other insecticides. There are many products available which are effective in combating aphids. Some are contact sprays which kill the insect on contact. Others are systemic — they poison the insect as it draws up the sap.
 
Getting Rid of Fungus Gnats:

Soil gnats (also referred to as fungus gnats) are probably the most common (and annoying) houseplant pests. The worst part about soil gnats is that they can infest any plant that is potted in dirt. You will notice them crawling or flying out of the potting soil around your plant when you water or otherwise disturb the soil.

Identifying Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats look similar to fruit flies.  I have seen many people mistake a fungus gnat problem with fruit flies. Soil gnats lay their eggs in moist soil where the larvae will hatch and feed on small roots, fungus and other organic matter in the soil. They have no interest in fruit. If you see gnats flying around your plants; they are fungus gnats. The ones flying around the fruit or the garbage disposal are fruit flies.

Fungus gnats are mainly just a nuisance and are rarely destructive to the plant. Sometimes they can cause root damage if the infestation is heavy, but normally soil gnats only eat rotting roots. They lay their eggs in moist soil where the larvae will hatch and feed on small roots, fungus and other organic matter in the soil.

Where Do Fungus Gnats Come From?

A fungus gnat infestation can come from many sources. They can be in the soil of a newly purchased plant or a bag of potting soil. They can come in with a plant that was outside during the summer, and they can even come through the screen of an open window.

How to Control Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats are difficult to eliminate if you have a large number of plants. The adults can easily fly or jump from one plant to the next, laying eggs wherever they find moist soil. Like fruit flies, the adult gnats only live for a few days. So, once all the larvae are dead, your soil gnat problem will go away.

 
Fungus gnat larvae thrive in moist soil, and they can’t survive in dry soil. So, the easiest and most effective way to control and ultimately eliminate soil gnats is to make sure you do not regularly over-water your plants. Be careful though, you don’t want to allow the entire root ball to dry out on most houseplants. Use a soil moisture gauge to help maintain the right level of moisture for your houseplants.
Water the plant from the bottom. Fungus gnat larvae live in the top inch of the soil. Watering from the bottom will make it easier to maintain dryer top soil without risking the overall health of the plant.

 
Tips for Control

Allow the soil to dry out between waterings
Spray the top of the soil with soapy water to kill the larvae
Store unused potting soil in a sealed container
Use a yellow sticky trap to control capture the adult soil gnats

 
Types of Houseplant Pests:

Mealybugs are soft bodied scale insects. A mealybug infestation looks like cotton or white powder on the stems, leaf joints or along the veins of leaves.
 
Spider mites are tiny and difficult to see. The telltale sign of a spider mite infestation is spider webs on the underside of leaves, or between newly formed leaves. Look closely and you can see the tiny mites moving around on the fine webbing.
 
Fungus gnats, also known as fungus gnats, look similar to fruit flies and are just as annoying. Fungus gnats lay their eggs in moist soil, where the larvae will hatch and feed on small roots, fungus, and other organic matter in the soil.
 
Whiteflies are easy to identify, the adults will fly around when the leaves of an infested plant are disturbed. Whiteflies lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves.
Scale can be very difficult to notice on a plant. Even if you do notice them, they don’t look like bugs. They look like small brown or greyish colored dots or bumps along the leaf veins, stems, and leaf joints of the plant.

 
Aphids are usually green, but can be just about any color. They are small, fat, and juicy. Many times aphids will blend in with the foliage of the houseplant, making them hard to spot until the plant is infested.