Indoor plants are a beautiful and beneficial addition to any home decor, but do indoor plants attract bugs?
Indoor plants can attract bugs and even act as pest magnets in certain environments or around certain kinds of plants that require humidity.
That’s because both bugs and plants need water, food, and light, which can draw insect attention to your plants.
The good news is that there are a couple of ways to deter unwanted bugs such as aphids, fungus gnats, spider mites, and whiteflies from your household greenery.
Check out the top 3 reasons why indoor plants attract bugs and what to do about it.
Do Indoor Plants Attract Bugs? 3 Major Reasons And Solutions
If you live in a coastal climate or near large bodies of water in places like the Pacific Northwest, the South, or other places that receive lots of precipitation, these conditions will infuse your home’s atmosphere with higher levels of humidity than if you lived in a more arid climate.
When an atmosphere is too humid, this creates the perfect environment for bugs to breed in your house plants.
No matter where you live, overwatering is also a major culprit that lures bugs to your plants.
Some kinds of plants require a lot of water. Too much water makes plants more attractive to bugs because it raises humidity levels as the water evaporates from the surface of the soil.
Standing water in pots or waterlogged potting soil is the perfect breeding ground for everything from whiteflies and worms to aphids, and mosquitoes.
What to do about it:
Since insects thrive in warm, humid conditions, one of the best ways to keep them away from your indoor plants is to avoid overwatering and to lower the humidity in your house.
Try watering a little less frequently, while still giving a plant the water that it needs, and make sure to add an appropriate amount each time.
Aim to saturate the plant without leaving water standing in the plant. If you’re unsure if you’ve added too much water, check the tray or saucer sitting under the plant pot.
If it’s full of water, then you know to add less next time.
You can try running a dehumidifier in your house, place a few pots full of calcium chloride in each room, or invest in a solar air heater to reduce atmospheric humidity.
2. Lack of Ventilation
Plants need circulating air to stay healthy and avoid excessive levels of dampness that can bring bugs scrambling to your home Bugs enjoy still, humid conditions to infest your plants.
If you have a windowsill crowded with plants, this creates warm, humid conditions where bugs and funguses thrive.
The most common reason for a lack of air circulation is grouping too many plants close together since this will reduce ventilation among the plants.
The second common reason for a lack of ventilation is when a house is shut up all the time with little or no air movement.
What to do about it
If your plants are too close together, try moving your plants further apart so that they aren’t touching each other.
If your house is closed up and doesn’t get a lot of air movement, open a window or a door, move your plant to a place where it can get more air, or switch on a fan to create a gentle breeze.
Creating ventilation is both beneficial to your plants and will discourage insect activity.
3. Your Plants Don’t Repel Bugs
A final common link between houseplants and bug infestations centers around the kind of plants that you have in your house.
Some plants just have better natural protection against bugs and some even repel bugs better than other kinds of plants.
Plants that are insect-resistant typically have a scent or waxy cuticle on their leaves that makes it harder for aphids, mites, mealyworms, or flies to penetrate and infest.
What to do about it:
If you want to switch to bug-resistant plants, consider adding some of these options to your indoor space:
- Snake Plant (Toxic if ingested by children or pets)
- Jade Plant (Some plants in the Crassula family are toxic for children and pets)
- Air plants (Non-toxic)
- Bromeliads (Non-toxic)
- Coleus (Leaves are toxic for humans and pets)
- Chinese Evergreen (Toxic if ingested by children or pets)
- Citronella/Mosquito plant (Toxic for pets and may be unsafe for babies under 6 months)
- Cast Iron Palm Plant (Non-toxic)
- Madagascar Dragon Tree (Leaves are toxic for children and pets)
- Grape Ivy (Non-toxic, but the sap can cause a slight rash in some people)
- Venus Flytrap (Non-toxic)
- Catnip (Non-toxic)
- Herbs such as chives, basil, chamomile, mint, and lavender (Non-toxic/edible)
so do indoor plants attract bugs?
Most plants don’t attract bugs if the soil, water, and environmental conditions are kept under proper control.
It’s best to avoid overwatering or leaving standing water, letting the environment get humid, crowding too many plants together, or buying plants that tend to need more humid conditions or have delicate leaves or root systems that are susceptible to insect infestation.
By tweaking environmental conditions, it’s possible to keep your houseplants healthy and free from unwanted creepy crawlies.
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Peride is an avid planter, Tour Manager and freelance writer. She is a plant collector who mainly focuses on succulents. She loves studying cultures, traveling and learning new languages.