There’s nothing worse than finding out your houseplant is infested with tiny Spider Mites. The best ways we have found to remove them are to keep the humidity high, spray down the leaves with water or a neem oil product, shower the plants or use a simple insecticide spray.
How to identify spider mites on your houseplants
You’ll have to start off by finding out if Spider Mites have infested your houseplant. The best way to identify Spider Mites as the culprits of your houseplants illness is by looking under the leaves for white webbing. Spider Mites, as the name might suggest, are a web spinning arachnid so there’s one telltale sign that they are present on your houseplant.
One other symptom you might notice is yellow or brown spots on the leaves of your houseplant. The mites will eat the chlorophyll from the leaves removing the normal, healthy green colour and leaving behind yellow or brown areas.
How to prevent spider mites
The best way to deal with Spider Mites is to never get them at all, luckily there are some really simple ways to prevent them from infesting your houseplants. The keys points are easy; Water your plants regularly, maintain good humidity (don’t let things get dry) and keep the leaves clean by dusting or showering your plants.
As always good watering habits will help a tonne. Getting into a routine of watering your plants on a regular basis will keep the soil moist, humidity a little higher and will stop leaves from drying out quickly. Spider mites love dry places so keeping all of your plants watered correctly is a great start to prevention.
Raising the humidity will also be a great helper. There’s a couple of really simple ways to do this like placing your plants over a tray of pebbles and adding some water, the water will slowly evaporate and cause an increase in humidity. If you’re looking for a quick and easy solution you can always mist down the leaves with a spray bottle, just remember to do this every few days to maintain the humidity.
Dusting the leaves of your plants often is a great way to make sure that you wipe away any sneaky mites that have made their way in. It also helps in letting your plants leaves breathe properly, which in turn reduces the risk of them drying out quickly. You can always give your houseplants a shower if you haven’t dusted them in a while – check out our post all about how to shower your plants to learn more.
It’s also important to quarantine any new plants that you bring into your home by isolating them for a little while. By giving them a couple of weeks away from any of your other plants you’ll get the chance to see if they have any pests or infections before they get the chance to spread around.
Best ways to remove spider mites
As soon as you’ve identified Spider Mites on your houseplant you should isolate it from any other plants nearby, and start checking for other infested plants. The mites can make their way onto any surrounding plants quickly and multiply extremely quickly to take over a healthy plant.
Once you’ve isolated the infected plants it’s time to raise the humidity and do what you can to get the mites gone fast. If left too long you’ll have to say goodbye to your beloved leafy friends, so it’s key that you get moving quickly. Start off by removing as many of the infected leaves as possible and binning them straight away. After that I’d recommend getting the plants into the shower and washing down all of the leaves with slightly cool water, the lower temperature will stop any of the leaves drying out and will help in washing away any of the mites that are left behind. You can find out a little more about how to give your houseplant a shower in our dedicated post.
You’ll want to be watering the plants as often as possible (without overwatering), watering little and often keeps the surface of the soil moist so as to help with raising the humidity. Misting down the leaves every day is another great way to keep up the humidity.
It might be worth picking up an insecticidal spray and giving your plant a good spray down, this should kill any of the spider mites that are left on the plant. In future, you can create a homemade prevention spray using a teaspoon of neem oil, a teaspoon of normal liquid soap and a litre of water. Spraying your plants down with this after washing the leaves should help in preventing any resurgences in the mite population.
So there are a variety of ways to deal with Spider Mites, but it’s most important to prevent any infestations in the first place and act very quickly if you identify them among your plants. These simple tips should give you the best chance of preventing and removing spider mites from your beloved houseplants.
Written by Joanna Turner