For most home gardeners, insects and other pests, as well as plant diseases, are not a very important issue. In most cases, the death of your house plant can be traced not to insects or mold but to neglect and improper care, as well as selecting the wrong plant for the environment.
However, insects and disease can sometimes claim house plants, so understanding these issues can help you avoid the death of your favorite plant. Understanding how to provide proper care and take the necessary precautions to avoid bugs and disease can help you avoid such issues, and even prevent them from making it into the house. You should be especially cautious when bringing home a new plant, and when bringing your plants back into your home after letting them spend the summer in the garden.
No matter where a new plant has come from, either from a florist or nursery or as a gift from a friend, you must check it over carefully for insects who may hitch a ride into your home. Washing it down before bringing it inside can also be an effective precautionary measure. Both of these steps are also necessary for your own plants which have spent time outside, where they may have picked up insects. These simple steps can save you a lot of time later when all of your plants have been affected by a new pest.
Another useful preventive measure you can take is to spray down your plants every week. Ideally, this should take place in a bathtub or on your deck or patio, where you can really spray them well without making a big mess. While you should not spray African Violets and other plants wit hairy leaves, your other plants will love being sprayed so that both sides of their leaves are completely drenched. The leaves will get the moisture they need in order to thrive indoors, and the water will also wash off any insects which may have found their way to your plants.
House plant pests and bugs as well as the disease called “damping off” come usually come during growth stage of your plant. To avoid it, use sterilized starting mixture, which can be purchased at any nursery. Because the fungus that causes “damping off” grows in the dirt, using sterilized soil will decrease the chances of this fungus affecting the seedlings you grow in it. However, if you are unfortunate enough for it to affect some of your seedlings, there is only one remedy. You must throw away those that have it in order to avoid its spread to your healthy plants.