When you grow plants from seeds, they may be attacked by a fungus known as “damping off.” You can cut down the chances of this by using sterilized starting mix, but if they are attacked, you’ll need to throw away the plants that have been attacked. Otherwise, it may spread to the healthy plants.
Leaf mold is another common ailment of houseplants. If your plants get it, remove the leaves that have been affected. If this doesn’t work, you’ll have to throw out the whole plant, or other plants will get it. In fact, this guideline should be followed no matter what disease or pest infestation your plant gets. If it is badly infected, the wisest choice is to throw away the whole plant. They are very difficult to cure, and you risk infecting your other plants.
With some plants, you’ll understandably have a hard time following this rule. Especially if you’ve had the plant for a long time, it can be a difficult choice. However, it is the best thing to do if you want to keep the rest of your plants healthy.
If one of your favorite plants gets a mild case of blight or infestation, it may be possible to save it, but it will take a lot of work on your part. You’ll need to remove it from its usual location, and keep it in a spot far away from your other plants during the time it is healing.
There are five major types of insects that attack houseplants. Aphids are small green or brown insects that can be found on the underside of the leaves. They can sometimes be hard to see because they blend in with the leaves. First, try a good hard spray of water to get rid of them. If this doesn’t work, you’ll have to resort to an insecticide if you really want to save the plant. You’ll need to spray your plant several times with the insecticide, because it only works if the spray comes into direct contact with the insect. Once you’re done, spray the plant with water to remove the insecticide.
Mealybugs are another common houseplant pest. A small white insect, they are usually found either underneath the leaves, or on the stems. Spraying with water usually does not get rid of them, so instead use an insecticide. Then, pick off the remaining few by hand. Use a Q-tip dipped in alcohol to pry off the remaining mealybugs. Double check to make sure that they are all gone before you return the plant to its usual spot.
Scale insects vary in shape, and are usually dark brown or black. They usually do not move once affixing themselves to the plant. Most often, they are found on ferns, palms, citrus fruits, rubber plants, and ivy. The only effective way to get rid of them is to pick them off individually. Again, use a Q-tip dipped in alcohol to remove the pests.
Red spiders are very tiny, and often the first sign is a web woven in the joint of a stem and leaf. They can be washed off with a strong spray of water, but you should also treat the plant with an insecticide to be sure they won’t come back.
White flies are tiny and moth-like, usually found on Geraniums and similar plants Because they will fly off if you try to spray the plant, they are hard to get rid of. Try spraying the plant with an insecticide several times per week.