Bug Control For Houseplants – Debugging Plants Before Bringing Inside

Tiny Insects On Plant Leaf
hp pests
(Image credit: Mike Richter)

Houseplants often thrive when they spend time outdoors in warm weather. The warmer temperatures, rain, humidity, and air circulation work wonders for plants. When the time comes to bring houseplants back indoors, however, we need to perform some bug control for houseplants. 

Outdoor Bug Control for Houseplants

It is so important to take care of bugs on outdoor houseplants before bringing them back indoors for many reasons. The most important reason is to protect the spread of pests to any plants that have remained indoors. Prevention and early control are key in successful pest eradication.

Debugging houseplants does not have to be complicated, but it is an important part of houseplant care.

How to Debug Outdoor Plants

A good rule of thumb is to bring plants back indoors before nighttime temperatures dip below 50 degrees F. (10 C.). Before you bring them back indoors, it is important to employ some bug control for houseplants. There are many common pests, such as mealybugs, aphids, and scale that need to be eradicated in order to prevent spreading to your collection indoors.

One way to force out any bugs that have taken residence in the soil is to fill a tub or bucket with warmer water and submerge the pot so the surface of the pot is about an inch (2.5 cm.) below the rim. Let it sit for a good 15 minutes or so. This will help to force out any pests in the soil. When you take the pot out, let it drain well.

Be sure to inspect your plants for any webs, eggs, or bugs including the underside of the foliage and stems. Manually remove any visible pests by wiping them off or even using a sharp spray of water. If you see any spider mites or aphids, use a commercially available insecticidal soap to spray all surfaces of the plant, including the underside of the leaves. Neem oil is also effective. Both insecticidal soaps and neem oil are gentle and safe, yet effective.

You can also apply a systemic houseplant insecticide into the soil of the plant and water it in. This will get absorbed into the plant when you water, and will provide continued pest protection even after you bring your plants back indoors. Always be sure to use the product per the manufacturer’s instructions on the label for safe usage. 

Bugs on outdoor houseplants are inevitable and debugging plants before bringing inside is critical since no one wants pests to spread to other plants indoors.