Category: Pests & Diseases

Root Aphids on Cactus

While repotting cactus if you observe that some roots have a white, ash-like material on them, with patches of it in the compost then it could be the root aphid, a sap-sucking insect like greenfly but living in the soil…

Houseplant Pests – Red Spider Mite

These tiny mites, which are only just visible to the naked eye, flourish in the warm, dry atmosphere of the modem home. They feed on the undersides of the leaves, causing a yellow speckling of the upper surface. Later the…

Houseplant Pests – Whitefly

Whitefly look like tiny white moths. They feed on the undersides of the leaves but flutter around the plant when they are disturbed. Both the adults and the larvae suck the sap of the host plants and disfigure the foliage…

Houseplant Pests – Vine Weevil

It is the larvae rather than the adult beetles which are so damaging to houseplants. Eggs laid in the compost hatch to give plump, whitish curved grubs with brown heads. These feed on the plant roots and also tunnel into…

Houseplant Pests – Thrips

Thrips are minute, slender, winged insects which feed on the undersides of the leaves, on young stems and on flowers by scraping the surface tissues and sucking up the sap. Attacked leaves show a characteristic fine yellow or silvery mottling.…

Houseplant Pests – Mealy Bugs

These soft, fiat, wingless insects are covered with mealy white wax. Their bodies are also fringed with white waxy projections. Consequently they are easily recognisable when they are feeding on exposed parts of the plant. Unfortunately they have the habit…

Houseplant Pests – Eelworm

Eelworms are microscopic soil-borne pests which fortunately are not commonly found associated with houseplants. If, however, a plant suddenly collapses for no apparent reason it is worthwhile examining the roots for the presence of irregular-shaped corky swellings. These are the…

Houseplant Pests – Cyclamen mite

This close relative of the red spider mite is difficult to spot since it starts feeding in the folds of young leaves and in unopened buds. The damage it causes, however, shows up when the leaves expand. Infested leaves are…