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Pest Invasion: Spider Mite Edition

Do you have plants that have suddenly taken a turn for the worse and you don’t know why?

Do the leaves have a speckled appearance or seem covered in fine dust?


If this sounds familiar you may be battling spider mites!


Photo Credit: Garden Tech



Spider mites are pests in the arachnid family that wreak havoc on both indoor and outdoor plants all year long.








To determine if this may be a problem for you, check the underside of the leaves for the typical webbing often found where the leaf meets the stem. You will also see the characteristic speckled leaves caused by them sucking material from the plant cells.





Prevention and diligence are key to tackling this common problem (especially if you buy your plant from the big box hardware store that shall not be named). ;-)


Prevention


Spider mites hate humid conditions and thrive in dry, arid conditions. Ideally, by optimizing the humidity indoors, you should be able to prevent the onset of an infestation. Maintaining a humidifier indoors, particularly over the winter months, should help prevent an infestation.


But the big question is what do you do when they’ve already taken a hold of your houseplants, perhaps spreading to several plants?


Treatment


Treating after the onset of a spider mite infestation takes diligence and patience. Once you have identified them, quarantine all affected plants. A steady strong blast of water under the leaves and at the nodes will eliminate most of the culprits. Repeating this once a week for 3-4 weeks should eliminate the problem.


If your plant is stationary or otherwise unable to benefit from a blast of water, you can manually attack these critters with soap and water. Simply soak a towel in a mild soap and water mixture and wipe each leaf making sure to get those hard to reach areas under the leaves. Repeat this process weekly for 1-2 months.


I did say it would take diligence didn’t I?


Plant pests are a common problem but not insurmountable. With patience and dedication we can tackle the issue and our plants will be happier for it.


Good news is spring is almost here! Which means time to assess, repot, and think about new additions to your urban oasis. Lilith Plant Shop is here to help! We are now taking appointments for free virtual plant care assessments. Email us today to schedule your consultation!

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