You’ve just purchased the perfect plant for your home—but now you’re wondering, do indoor plants attract bugs?
You feel pretty confident that if you care for it properly, it won’t bring any pests inside. Little do you know, however, that when it comes to bugs and houseplants, there’s no such sure thing.
Keep reading to learn the causes of pests on indoor plants and how you can keep them away. It’s all about prevention—but if insects do show up, don’t worry. We’ve got tips for that too.
Do Indoor Plants Attract Bugs?
Yes, indoor plants can attract bugs. Houseplants provide a hospitable environment for pests like aphids, spider mites, and fungus gnats that feed on the leaves, stems, and roots. However, you can minimize the chances of attracting bugs —such as keeping potted plants well-watered and inspecting them regularly for signs of infestation.
Why Do Houseplants Attract Bugs?
Why are bugs attracted to plants indoors?
Here are seven culprits why your indoor plants attract bugs. And some might also apply to outdoor plants.
1. Poor plant care
Provide your plants with the right potting soil nutrition, water according to their needs, and give them the correct amount of light to keep them healthy and pest-free.
Doing so will help keep unwanted bugs away and ensure a strong growth of your indoor plants.
2. Unsterile growing conditions
Another reason why your indoor plants attract bugs is that you don’t sterilize. Maintain cleanliness to prevent bugs and pests from invading your indoor gardens.
Sterilize pots and soils regularly, as fungus spores, living organisms in the soil, and dirt can provide a feast for them. Good care of the environment ensures enjoyable bug-free potted plants.
3. High humidity level
High humidity can attract pests, so monitor levels to ensure your potted plants stay healthy.
A Humid environment can create ideal conditions for bugs, so watch your plants closely.
4. Standing water
This point is closely tied to the high humidity level. Check the water level in your plant’s pot or saucer regularly and make sure it is drained away.
Stagnant standing water can attract gnats, mosquitoes, and other pests – so keeping it at bay will ensure your plants thrive.
5. Lack of air circulation
Without proper air circulation and proper drainage, the soil surface around your plants can become a bug paradise.
Not to mention all that extra moisture from poor air circulation can lead to mold growth on and around the plants, providing yet another environment for pests to thrive in.
To keep your potted plants healthy and pest-free, ensure you provide gentle air movement and proper drainage.
6. Damp potting soil
Damp soil can cause issues with houseplants, from mild to severe, and attract pests like fungus gnats, mites, and whiteflies.
To ensure your plants stay healthy, keep potting soil dry and loose by periodically inspecting both the topsoil and bottom layer of potting mix.
You might also consider replacing the old potting soil in case of massive infestation.
Places with high humidity levels, such as those receiving lots of rain or near bodies of water, are vulnerable to insect infestations.
To prevent this, prune plants and clear away debris regularly and use insecticides if necessary.
Common Bugs Attracted To Indoor Plants
As avid plant owners ourselves, we were curious to find out exactly what plant pests are always drawn to house plants.
Plus, helpful tips on preventing infiltration by common bugs.
The first houseplant pests are thrips. Thrips are tiny, winged insects no larger than 1/20th of an inch. They feed on plant sap and juice, quickly discoloring or wilting leaves and stems.
Even worse is the plant viruses spread by thrips as they feed on growing plants.
To prevent thrips from attacking plants indoors, maintain a regular watering schedule, prune wilting parts, spray with gentle soaps, and use neem oil or insecticidal sprays.
You can read further about how to get rid of thrips on monstera to protect your houseplant.
Scale Insects are Hemiptera family pests that feed on plant juices. They may appear as small yellow or brown spots with waxy coverings resembling scales.
Unfortunately, these pests love houseplants and can quickly damage them.
To eliminate Scale Insects, use insecticides targeting soft-bodied insects or physically remove them with a solution of water and alcohol. Keep a watchful eye for pests to protect your plants from further harm.
Fungus gnats are small, dark flies that feed on decaying plant matter in moist soil and indoor plants.
Fungus gnats larvae feast on the roots or stems of growing plants indoors.
To control adult fungus gnats, water plants only when needed. Ensure the top layers of potting soil stay dry. Predatory nematodes decreases fungal growth.
Mealy bugs are small, grey-to-brown insects, measuring an average of two millimeters and covered by white or powdery filaments.
They feed off the sap found in the stems and leaves of potted plants, making them prone to infestation and damage.
To avoid this, eliminate old plant material and spray plants with an insecticidal soap solution. Physically dislodge them with an artist brush and treat the plant weekly with neem oil to protect against further infestations.
Whiteflies are small, white bugs that can damage indoor plants by sucking out juices from their leaves.
Regularly check for signs of infestation and dispose of any infested plants immediately.
Natural predators such as ladybugs and praying mantises can help control them, or you can spray with neem oil or another appropriate insecticide to take care of any existing infestations.
Spider mites are small arachnids that feed on plant juices, causing damage to your potted plants.
To control spider mites infestation, manually remove them and discard them, or use a strong spray of water. Introducing beneficial insects such as predatory mites or ladybugs into your home can also help keep spider mite levels down.
Take preventative measures against red spider mites early on if you notice increased white specks in your plant’s leaves.
You can identify Aphids easily to prevent them from damaging your indoor plants.
Characterized by their pear-shaped, soft bodies of green or brown and sometimes winged designs, these pests feed on plant sap, causing weakened growth.
Remove sick leaves and existing pests around the pot and spray with an insecticidal solution or a water/soap mixture. Regularly inspect plants for new infestations and take action immediately.
How to Prevent Bugs From Infesting Your Indoor Plants
Remove infested leaves and discard them immediately
The first step to preventing bugs from infesting your indoor plants is to remove any existing infested leaves. If you spot any strange-looking spots, yellowing, or wilting of the leaves, it’s important to act quickly and discard them in a plastic bag away from your other plants. This will help prevent the pests from spreading.
Inspect your potted plants regularly
Regularly inspect your potted plant for bugs and pests. Keep an eye out for signs of infestation such as distorted or discolored leaves, yellowing foliage, sticky residue on the leaves or stems, and webbing around the plant.
Isolate new plants from existing plants
Before introducing a new plant into your indoor garden, isolate it temporarily in a space away from other existing plants. This will help prevent any existing bugs from transferring to the new plant.
You also need to inspect new plants carefully for signs of infestation before bringing them inside.
Quarantine any suspected infested plants
If you suspect that one of your potted plants has been infested with bugs, move it to another area and quarantine it away from healthy plants until you are able to treat it.
Treat your plant with natural predators
When dealing with many houseplant bugs, use natural predators to help control the population. Insects such as ladybugs, lacewings, and predatory mites can be added to your plant’s indoor environment to keep bug numbers at bay.
Use physical barriers
Create physical barriers between your plants and any potential sources of bug infestations by using insect-proof netting or traps. This will help stop bugs from entering the area and reaching your plants.
Use insecticidal products or water/soap solutions
Spray plants with organic pesticides such as neem oil or horticultural oils for major bug problems.
For smaller infestations, use chemical insecticides labeled for indoor plants and follow directions carefully.
Alternatively, make a mild solution of water and dish soap to suffocate insects without harming your plant.
Keep the environment cool and dry
Certain houseplant bugs need to keep their bodies moist and warm. So, to keep them at bay, make sure your indoor plants are not placed near windows or other sources of heat and humidity.
If they need extra moisture, consider adding a humidifier to the room to keep the air cool and dry.
Keep your potted plants clean
You should regularly inspect your plants for signs of pests or disease. If you notice any issues, act quickly.
Regularly wiping down leaves with a damp cloth can help remove a few bugs attractants and prevent further damage. Pruning dead leaves or stems is another great way to get rid of possible hiding spots for pests.
Maintain proper nutrition for your plants
Good nutrition is the key to a bug-free indoor plant. By making sure your plants are well-fed and healthy, you’ll be doing them (and yourself!) an enormous favor. Not only will you have stronger, better-looking plants, but they’ll also be much more capable of fending off any potential insect intruders. Fertilize and water your indoors regularly.
How to Get Rid of Bugs Without Harming the Plants
Do you want to make sure your plants are safe from pesky bugs? Jeff Gillman suggests that commercial insecticidal soaps are the way to go.
But if you’re a DIY-er at heart, what about whipping up a mild homemade version of your very own?
Let’s take a closer look and see if we can get rid of those bugs without harming the plants.
1. Gather Your Materials:
- Mild Dish Soap or Castile Soap
- 1 and a half teaspoons of soap per 1 quart of water
- Spray Bottle
- Soft Cloth (optional)
2. Mix the Solution
In a spray bottle, mix together one and a half teaspoons of your chosen soap with one quart of warm water. For best results, use distilled or filtered water to prevent mineral buildup on leaves. Shake well to be sure the mixture is completely blended.
3. Test Before Use
To make sure the solution won’t harm your plants, perform a test by spraying it on an inconspicuous part of the plant such as the underside of a leaf. If the solution causes no damage after 24 hours, it should be safe to use on the rest of the plant.
4. Apply in the Morning or evening
Before applying the soap solution to your plants, wait until morning and spray it on sunny days when temperatures are mild. This will prevent any irritation from the sun’s heat.
5. Spray the Solution
Using a sprayer, cover all areas of the affected plant with the soap solution making sure to reach underneath leaves, between stems, and around flowers.
6. Wipe-Off Excess Solution
To get rid of excess soap solution and help it penetrate better, use a soft cloth dabbed in warm water and wipe off any standing drops or pools of liquid on the surface of leaves.
7. Repeat as Necessary
Depending on how severe your bug infestation is, repeat every 4-7 days until the problem is resolved.
Best Indoor Plants that Don’t Attract Bugs
Aglaonema, or Chinese Evergreen, is a hardy, bug-free plant that comes in many colors. It’s easy to care for.
Philodendrons are low maintenance, require little water and sunlight, and can thrive in any home. Perfect for those wanting a large plant without the bugs.
ZZ Plant – the ZZ plant is a great choice for any room because fewer bugs won’t be interested in it! Plus, it’s so resilient that it will even survive low light levels and regular neglect.
Snake Plant – This tall and striking plant is perfect for anyone who lacks a green thumb because it requires minimal care but still looks amazing in any space. Plus, since bugs don’t like its sap-filled leaves, you won’t have to worry about them causing any issues.
Bromeliads – Bromeliads are perfect for anyone looking for an exotic plant that won’t attract bugs. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors and require very little maintenance.
Airplants – If you want to add a modern touch to your home without having any bug problems then airplants are the way to go. Airplants absorb their moisture from the atmosphere and don’t need soil or water, so they pretty much take care of themselves.
Cast Iron Plant – Cast Iron Plants can survive practically anything, including low light levels and a lack of watering – but they also repel most types of bugs which makes them ideal for indoor spaces where pesky insects like to live.
Grape Ivy – Grape Ivy is a great choice for anyone who wants to add some greenery to their home without having to worry about bugs. It’s easy to care for, and its leaves come in a variety of shapes and sizes which make it a beautiful addition to any décor.
Dracaena – Dracaena plants can grow quite large and still won’t attract bugs. Plus, they only need water once or twice a month so they’re perfect for busy people.
Mosquito Plant – Mosquito plants are the perfect choice for anyone looking to keep bugs away. They have a unique scent that repels most types of insects, and they require very little maintenance.
Catnip – Catnip is another great indoor plant that won’t attract bugs. Not only will it keep your home bug-free, but cats absolutely love it too!
Jade plant-Jade Plants With its thick leaves, Jade Plants make excellent houseplants and also happen to be one of the best plants for keeping bugs away. Plus, jade plants can last for decades with proper care! To ensure your jade plant thrives, it’s best to choose a pot specifically designed for them; some of the best pots for jade plants are shallow, wide containers that provide proper drainage.
Venus Flytrap – Venus flytraps may look intimidating, but they’re actually quite low maintenance and don’t attract bugs. They only need water once a week, so they’re perfect for busy people who don’t have time to maintain a complicated watering schedule.
Herbs – Herbs are not only good for cooking and adding flavor to your dishes but are also great at keeping bugs away. Plus, you can easily grow them indoors or outdoors, depending on your needs. Just be sure to keep them well-watered and provide adequate sunlight!
Worst Indoor Plants For Bugs
The worst plants for bugs are Calatheas, ferns, and Peace Lilies due to their preference for high-humidity climates. If you’re looking for indoor plants that won’t invite bugs into your home, consider replacing these plant varieties.
Do indoor plants attract mosquitoes?
Yes, indoor plants can attract mosquitoes. Mosquitoes lay their eggs near water or damp areas, and houseplants with moist soil provide a suitable environment for the larvae to thrive in. Indoors, they are attracted to any standing water in plant pot trays, as well as flowerpots that have collected moisture from outdoor humidity.
Can I spray vinegar on my houseplants?
No, it is not recommended to spray vinegar on your houseplants. Vinegar contains 5 percent acetic acid, which is too strong for the delicate leaves of potted plants and will cause them harm. The acid in the vinegar can burn and discolor the foliage and also damage roots if allowed to accumulate in the soil.
Do spider plants attract bugs?
Despite their hardiness, spider plants can still be susceptible to pest infestations such as aphids and whiteflies. While the plant itself isn’t particularly attractive to most insects and pests, it is not entirely immune to problems.
Do fake plants attract bugs?
No, fake plants do not attract bugs. This is because fake plants lack the nutrients and environment needed for pests to survive. Additionally, many manufactured plastic and fabric-based products used in fake plants have been chemically treated to repel insects.
Do air plants attract bugs?
Yes, air plants aren’t immune to attracting bugs. While you won’t find the same diversity of pests that attack other types of greenery, like flowering houseplants or outdoor gardens, air plants can still become infested with insects from time to time.
Do Indoor Plants Attract Bugs Summary?
Indoor plants can provide a peaceful, calming environment with their beauty and scented leaves. However, pests may be attracted to them occasionally.
Proper care and attention are required to prevent this, but with the right steps taken, indoor plants can create a soothing atmosphere for your home.
Enjoy the respite from everyday life that comes with houseplants without fear of uninvited guests.