How to Get Rid of Bugs in Houseplants Soil?

how to get rid of bugs in plant soilI hope you will agree with me when I say:

 “Bugs in houseplant soils are annoying and requires effort to get rid of.” 

In this urbanized world, houseplants are the only way for most of us to keep up our gardening passion. But those damn bugs on houseplants are my top enemies.

Don’t get me wrong, I love gardening, but the small bugs on plants creep the hell out of me. So, whenever I get a new one, I always go through a series of methods to get rid of them to avoid any weird mishaps.

Keeping that in mind, I wrote this guide to inform you about how to get rid of bugs in houseplants soil, or any plant soil in general. So, if you hate these bugs in the soil as much as I do, then you my friend, landed at the right place.

So, let’s get straight to the point!

How to Get Rid of Bugs in Plant Soil?

Before you learn how to get rid of bugs on your indoor plants, you first need to perform a thorough analysis to get accurate houseplant bugs identification data. On the surface, it might seem like that there are no bugs in your plants.

But here is the issue, you can have tiny bugs in your houseplant soil that cannot be seen by the naked eye easily. So, for your convenience, here is an overview of different type of soil/above soil bugs.

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Info About Some Common House Plant Bugs for Identification

This section is all about house plant bugs identification. Here are some of tiny bugs in houseplant soil you might find:

  • Gnats

Found in over-watered soil, these little flying bugs reside on indoor/outdoor plants & look similar to actual flies. They can replicate fast, with a pace of laying 300 eggs that can hatch in 2-3 days. They are fungi based bugs and can prove to be dangerous for your plants.

But if you’re confused about how to get rid of these gnats in your plants, Worry not! my provided methods will definitely help you get rid of these suckers!

  • Spider Mites

As the name suggests, these bugs have similar characteristics to spiders. But they are not soil bugs, and they usually roam around the edges of your plant.

These tiny sucking pests will wreak havoc on both indoor and outdoor gardens in a matter of days. Here’s how to get rid of spider mites naturally and organically in a hurry!

If you start seeing spider webs in your plants, it’s the first indication of spider mites infestation.

  • Scale

These are the creepiest round bugs that I have witnessed so far in my gardening journey. These small bugs look like brown shells on your plants and are usually found attached stiffly to the leaves of your plant.

However, these bugs do take a lot of time to hatch, but getting rid of them is a very difficult task. So, my recommendation is to address them as early as possible.

  • MealyBug

These small bugs in your houseplant soil look more like small cotton swabs, although they are not as dangerous as gnats or spider mites but can still end up killing your plant in the long run. When I first saw these bugs, I thought that my younger son was again playing with the cotton swabs.

But then I figured that these were small white bugs on my plants. Having bugs in my indoor plants was not something new, but these were truly hard to identify from afar.

  • Whiteflies

Another variant of fly look-a-like bugs that are white in color. These tiny white bugs can lay eggs in the soil of your houseplants, and can also harm your plant with their sticky honeydew.

This is some basic information about a few of the most common house bugs that I have witnessed so far, but there are more, and if you still cannot identify them. I recommend using this detailed resource for reference.

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Preferred Methods to Get Rid of Bugs in House Plants

OK, enough with the chitchat, let’s get to the main point and provide you information on how to get rid of bugs on plants. After identifying the type of bug infestation in my plants, I isolate that plant from my other ones and use the following methods to clean out that specific plant.

How to get rid of gnats in plants? Here are some of proven methods to help you:

Natural ways (Neem Oil + Water)

I was also worried about small white bugs on my plants. But Neem oil was an excellent solution.

Usually, I prefer natural methods over harmful ones just because I don’t like third-party insecticides. Naturally methods are always a safer option against bugs in indoor plant soil. First, about Fungi Gnats, my top tip is to avoid overwatering, If you get rid of their food source. You will be able to get rid of them easily.

I know that you might be wondering isn’t under watering dangerous for your plant as well? The answer is that it can be, but you can get reduce the amount of water to get rid of bugs like Gnats easily without harming your plants.

For other bugs, I mostly use organic insecticides, my recommendation is to get one with Neem oil because it’s the safest natural ingredient that bugs hate.  While searching for answers about how to get rid of small bugs in house plants, I found that Neem oil is the preferred method for most of them.

The best thing about Neem oil is that you can use it to make a bug killing solution yourself. Just mix a  small amount of 1-2 Tbs with a gallon of water and Wallah! you have your perfect homemade spray for indoor plants.

Long story short, If you have questions like “How to Get rid of flies in house plants naturally?” then Neem oil solution is your answer.

Use Insecticidal Soaps or Create one!

Another way to get rid of indoor plant soil bugs is by ordering insecticidal soaps. I recommend ordering organic ones such as Espoma organic earth that can be effective against bugs in indoor plants. But first, make sure what infestation are you going through and order the correct one.

The other method is to create a Castile soap solution, and I know that people might have advised you to use dishwashing soaps. But trust me, It’s a bad idea! Because normal dish washes might kill some insects, but it can also hurt the outer protective layer of your plant’s leaves. Which can de-hydrate and kill off your precious plant.

So, take a tiny amount of Castile soap, maybe a tablespoon, and mix it with a quart of water. Mix it well, and use a spray bottle to spray all your plants. My tip is to do one leaf at a time just to be on the safe side. And apply lighter coats, unless it’s necessary.

Dry Them Out (Physically Remove them)

Drying the soil for some time can also prove to be an excellent technique to get rid of bugs. All you need to do is stop watering the plant for 2-3 days and let the soil dry up. Once 1,5 inches of the top layer of soil is dried up, it will instantly kill the bugs.

If your plants need a regular supply of water for survival, you can water the plant from the bottom through the drainage hole. You can place the plant pot in the container of water to help the soil absorb the required water through the drainage hole. The topsoil keeps on drying up while the plant gets sufficient water through the roots.

Tip: You can expose gnats, larvae eggs, and other small white bugs in houseplant soil by digging few centimeters from the surface. This helps to dry out the soil quickly

Use Diluted Hydrogen Peroxide

If drying out the soil has little to no effect, you need to make a solution of hydrogen peroxide. This can serve as a great homemade bug spray for indoor plants. A 3% hydrogen peroxide in the ratio of 1 is to 4 with respect to water can provide excellent results.

You need to regularly water your plants with it. Hydrogen peroxide kills any eggs or gnats larvae in the soil. Not only this, but it also helps to kill any harmful bacteria or fungi being developed on the plant.

Remove Gnats Infected Soil and Use Soil Cover

Removing the soil that has been affected by bugs especially gnats is a good practice to reduce the effect of bugs and get an upper hand to control the situation.

All you need to do is dispose of the soil that has been affected and replace it with sterile soil.

A great practice is to remove the topsoil and replace it with either layer of sand, gravel, or moss soil covers. This stops gnats from laying eggs and ultimately helps control gnats’ growth in the soil.

how to get rid of gnats in plants

Tip: Special gnat barrier top dressing soil covers are available in the market. They are non-toxic soil cover that is specially made to prevent and eradicate gnats and fungus.

Cinnamon & Chamomile Tea

Another great practice to get rid of little flying bugs on indoor plants is to use cinnamon powder. All you need to do is sprinkle cinnamon powder over the top layer of houseplant soil to make a thin layer of it.

The cinnamon powder kills the fungus larvae and other small bugs on plants feed on, eventually starving bugs in soil to die.

Chamomile tea can help make the treatment stronger when paired with cinnamon. You need to use 4 table spoon of chamomile tea to make 32 ounce of tea, cool it down and then add approximately a gallon of water. Use this mixture of water and tea regularly on the plants and bugs in indoor plant soil will die within 2-3 days.

Insecticidal soap

Wash plant leaves and stems with organic insecticidal soap. Alternatively, you might make your own bug-killing solution for houseplant leaves at home. This is what you should do:

  1. Add 1 table spoon of mild organic liquid soap in warm water and mix it well. The water should be in 33 fl.oz to make a effective solution.
  2. Shake the mixture well to mix all the contents .
  3. Spray the mixture regularly on the leave of the plant and monitor the growth of gnats and bugs.
  4. Wipe the plant’s leave to remove the dead bugs.homemade bug spray for indoor plants

Rubbing Alcohol

Here is another natural answer to your query of how to get rid of bugs on indoor plants. Rubbing alcohol can effectively kill tiny white bugs in soil of houseplants.

All you need to do is soak a cotton bud or a piece of cloth with alcohol and directly apply it on bugs in soil or bugs on houseplants. The alcohol will kill the bugs on contact and then you can remove those bugs to get a clean houseplant.

Final Thoughts!

Until now, I have used these two methods to get rid of most of the bug infestation in my indoor garden, but still, my first go-to weapon is always the good-old water hose spray down. This weapon tends to get rid of most bugs on the outside layer of the plants.

But my main focus was to inform you about how to get rid of bugs in houseplants soil. So, using these methods will definitely help you get rid of those nasty bugs in plants’ soil.

Before you go, keep these things in mind while using any kind of bug ridding method, always avoid direct sunlight because it can harm you or your plants.

That being said, I hope that you found this guide helpful because this is the end of my thought process for today. Do let me know If these methods don’t work out for you, I have a treasure chest of methods waiting to be unleashed.

Source: A Smart Interactive System for Houseplants Caring, Potting soil for houseplant

Hey, I’ve been experimenting with tech, pets & fashion products for more than 10 years now and I must say. It’s a pretty wild ride. Through my experiments, I have managed to become an expert in the art of reviewing different products and rating them & now, I want to share with the world what I have learnt. Possibly saving you a lot of time too!