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5 Common Houseplant Pests and How to Handle Them

Pests can be a massive hassle for plant enthusiasts. If you’re a beginner, you might need a little help solving this problem. Keep in mind that dealing with a pest infestation takes time and effort. Whether you have a small or extensive plant collection, we have helpful tips for handling the most common houseplant pests.

Scale insects

Scale insects feed on a plant’s juices. You’ll mostly find these pests on the underside of the leaves, close to the central vein. They have soft brownish bodies covered with a waxy film for camouflage, so you might not notice them at first glance. 

The first signs of a scale infestation are dead leaves and a sticky residue on the plant. To get rid of this insect, you should spray the plant with insecticide soap


Mealybugs are another common houseplant pest, similar to scales insects. You’ll probably notice dying leaves and a sticky residue, which makes the plant prone to black mold. Unlike scales, mealybugs move around, so keeping them under control is more difficult. 

To remove these insects, use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. For smaller plants, you can rinse them off with soap and water. But you can also use insecticidal soap to get rid of these insects before they damage any sensitive plants. 

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Spider mites

You’ll likely meet these pesky insects if you love growing hibiscus or dracaenas. Spider mites suck juices from plants, killing the leaves and leaving black specks. 

The presence of thin webs will clearly indicate that your plant is infested with spider mites. An insecticidal soap will wash off the insects, but keep in mind that they’re challenging to deal with. If one plant is heavily infested, it’s usually best to get rid of it before the mites spread to the rest of your house plants.


The eggs of these insects damage the plants by feeding from the underside of the leaf. Whiteflies have little wings and will fly off if disturbed. 

Isolate the infested plant and use insecticidal soap to remove the whiteflies. Repeat this weekly until the eggs and adult flies are gone. Whiteflies are attracted to the color yellow, so setting yellow tape on your plant before washingit is a smart move!


Aphids are yet another insect that attack houseplants. They like to feed on newly grown leaves, leaving them wilted and yellowish. The good news is that you can quickly get rid of aphids using water spray. Use a shower or a hose to get rid of these insects once and for all. 

Photo Credit: Unsplash
Photo Credit: Unsplash
Photo Credit: Unsplash
Photo Credit: Unsplash
Photo Credit: Unsplash
Photo Credit: Unsplash
Photo Credit: Unsplash
Photo Credit: Unsplash
Photo Credit: Unsplash

Kristina Shestakova

Kristina is a home decor enthusiast that loves to share practical tips. With more than 5 years in the interior design content writing niche, she has lots to share. She is obsessed with Pinterest, looking for the most creative ideas for your inspiration. Hopefully, this will motivate you to create the home you always wanted.

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