Aphids are incredibly common, and they usually come into your home through small spaces such as windows and door cracks. Seeing aphids on your plant babies is devastating to every plan owner. These unpleasant guests will not only be found in your gardens and laws outside but in beautiful indoor plants as well.
Luckily, aphids infestation on indoor plants can be treated and at times, completely prevented.
Are you struggling with an aphid infestation on your houseplants and looking for the best ways to get rid of them? In this article, we will discuss the best ways to get rid of aphids, both naturally and through the use of chemicals.
What are aphids?
Aphids are small bugs that feed on plants. These bugs are part of the Aphididae species and once they reach adulthood they develop a pear shape and will have a length of about 1/8 inches. There are different types of aphids, some are white, some are grey and some are black, but the most common ones are green in color.
Their small size and color can make it hard for you to notice them on your plants at first. The best way to detect them is to check your plants regularly when watering them, that’s the only time you can notice the infestation.
I remember I used to have beautiful flowers in my living room which my ten-year-old daughter would water. Being so young, she never really thought of checking the flowers properly for any infestation. As time went by, I realized the leaves were getting yellow, and upon closer inspection, I realized that it was an aphid infestation.
Most plants can withstand aphids feeding on them and sometimes this won’t cause any adverse effects but badly infested plants tend to turn yellow and don’t grow properly.
Aphids reproduce rapidly and can produce live young without mating. Should they infect your plants in large numbers, they can cause serious damage. Getting rid of these bugs on your houseplants can be frustrating and will definitely take your time and effort, but still, there are effective methods that can do the trick.
It’s up to you if you prefer using natural ways or chemicals instead. As for me, I prefer to get rid of them the natural way, as chemicals can sometimes be harmful to pets and small children.
What do Aphids look like?
Aphids can be hard to detect on houseplants because they blend so well with the color of the leaves, and this gives them an opportunity to reproduce in large numbers. Adult aphids have different colors, they can sometimes be blue, red, brown, black, green, etc. while the most common ones that affect houseplants are usually green, black, red, or white.
For example, the black bean aphid usually affects houseplants but is also commonly found in gardens and tends to show up in the living room regularly. Other types of aphids include the black cherry aphid, and white aphids prefer to feed on sensitive new plant parts and fresh vegetation.
How to identify aphids?
Seeing the aphid infestation with the naked eye is hard since they tend to look like plants and they are tiny, but if you look closely, you’ll notice that there’s a bigger infestation than what you initially noticed.
It was easy for me to notice the infestation because I know that these tiny insects prefer sucking on the stalks of your plants and the flower buds as well, so I inspected these particular regions first. I advise you to do the same and take a closer look at these regions each time you water your flowers or plants.
Here’s how to see if your indoor plants have an aphid infestation:
- Look attentively at the shoot tips on your plants and you will notice the tiny green bugs with the pear shape.
- The aphids are usually 1mm to 6mm and can also be black, white, reddish, or yellowish in color.
- The growth of the plants is restricted when the aphid infestation is too much
- You will notice some deformities in the foliage and maybe some drooping on the stems
- You will notice an ooey, gooey substance all over the plants
You’ll know that aphids have been sucking on your plants when the leaves are deformed and if you notice impaired shoot growth. The plants turn yellow and have deformed leaves because the aphids dehydrate them by sucking water from the leaves’ tips, causing the leaves to droop.
Because aphids suck the sap from the plants thus taking out all the water and sugar, the more serious the infestation becomes the more likely the leaves are to turn yellowish and some will even die out.
At first, I thought my plants were turning yellow and dying out because of a lack of hydration but then after taking a closer look and doing research, I realized the aphids were responsible for the damage.
How to get rid of aphids on houseplants?
There are several methods you can use to get rid of aphids on your houseplants. Some are natural methods while others require the use of chemicals. Personally, I prefer using natural methods because I have small kids and pets so I fear that the chemicals might harm them.
However, the chemicals are very effective too but will require you to be careful when using them. Here’s a closer look at both ways of getting rid of aphids so that you can choose which one works best for you.
How to naturally get rid of aphids?
Naturally getting rid of aphids on your houseplants is one of the most effective methods of saying goodbye to these critters for good. If you’re like me and are afraid of using harsh chemicals to keep aphids away from your plants, using the natural methods I have listed below might just be perfect for you.
These natural methods do not need anything special; you can use normal household products instead. However, if you really want to completely eradicate a more severe infestation then you’ll have to use these methods more consistently. Below are the five best natural methods you can use to get rid of an aphid infestation:
Using water is the first natural method you can use to get rid of aphids on your houseplants. The are several ways you can use it to get rid of the infestation and have your plants growing healthy again.
If the infestation is not too extreme simply soak a cotton swab in water and then once it’s damp, use it to swipe the areas of the plants that are infected. If the infestation is severe, then you may need to blast it with some cold water to keep the pests away from your plants.
For this to be effective, fill a spray bottle with super cold water, and take the plant outside to spray and remove the aphids. However, if your plants have fragile leaves, spraying may not work, in which case you might want to dip the plant in water instead. Make sure that this water is clean and at room temperature.
Repeat a few times until you’re sure that the plant is completely free of infestation.
The Use of Neem Oil
Neem oil is a natural pest elimination method that you can use to get rid of aphids and the best part is that it’s completely harmless to plants. Neem oil has a chemical effect on many insects including beetles, leafminers, and other tiny bugs that infect plants. When these insects eat the neem oil, it kills them almost instantly.
Interestingly, neem oil is not inherently poisonous. It just messes with the bugs’ brain receptors and hormones so they stop eating, mating, and end up dying. Neem oil has also been shown to suffocate aphids, thus eliminating them that way. Neem oil will not only kill the aphids but will prevent them from coming back for some time.
Using neem oil to keep aphids off my plants was a game-changer for me. Indoor gardening is something I love and bugs were ruining the entire thing for me. At first, I wanted to use chemicals but a friend of mine suggested using neem oil and after some trial and error, I realized that it was truly effective.
It worked for me and it might just work for you as well.
Make Your Own Pesticide Removing Soap Spray
Soap spray is another effective method for getting rid of aphids. The best soap you can use for this task is pure castile soap. That’s because most brands of soaps tend to contain fragrances and antibacterial agents that could harm your houseplants. that’s why it’s important to always use pure soaps without any detergents.
Follow these instructions for it to be effective:
- Mix 1 tablespoon of dish soap water with 1 quart of water and put it in a spray bottle.
- Spray the mixture straight onto the infected area, making sure to spray in the early morning or evening hours when it’s cooler so that the plants do not dry out faster. The longer the aphids stay soaked, the more effective the solution will be.
Use Garlic Spray
Garlic is another effective way to get rid of aphids on your houseplants. Garlic spray makes your plants sticky, making it difficult for the aphids and other bugs to lay their eggs and they will likely move away on their own after this.
Making the solution is straightforward. For starters, crush the entire garlic clove before you soak it in hot water. The mixture should be left overnight so that the solution becomes strong. The next day, remove the garlic leaving only the water which you can pour into a spray bottle.
Then you can spray the plants. For even better coverage, soak the infected spot to ensure that the solution is infused.
The Use of Essential Oils
Essential oils are a natural method that many gardeners use to get rid of different types of bugs from plants and the good news is that they are also very effective in getting rid of aphids too. There are several types of essential oils, so you will have to choose the ones that will not negatively affect your plants.
The ones that will not damage your plants include peppermint oil, clove oil, juniper oil, oregano oil, fennel oil, lavender oil, and coriander oil.
When using these essential oils, make sure to dilute them with water or soap before spraying them on your plants, because they tend to be very strong. To make an effective solution, mix several drops of essential oils with water, I recommend you use about 5 drops of each of the essential oils I’ve mentioned above, then put the mixture in a spray bottle.
After that, you can safely use the mixture directly on your plants. This will not damage your plants in any way but will only kill the aphids. Remember to dilute the essential oils first, as applying the essential oils directly may cause damage to the plants.
Best Chemicals to Get rid of Aphids on Houseplants
There are many chemicals used to get rid of aphids on houseplants and they come in different brands with varying levels of effectiveness. The most common chemicals used to get rid of aphids on houseplants include efekto, delfin, Ludwigs, calro, etc.