The Leading Outsider Cause of Indoor Plant Death:  Spider Mites

These tiny little arachnids are hard to spot until they have already done their damage.  When you think of an indoor garden, you normally expect minimal bug problems.  In most cases, you can, but beware of the HUGE “tiny” problem that can kill your indoor plants fairly quickly.

How do spider mites infect indoor plants?

Spider mites thrive in warm and dry places like near a window in your house.  The tiny bugs suck out the fluid in the plant leaves and lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves.  They are so small, you probably won’t notice the infestation until your leaves start to look dusty or you might think plant edema.  You’ll start to assess how you water the plant and before you know it, your plant fails to survive.

Spider mites come in a few different colors such as tan, white, and black.  The usual culprit for bringing these tiny creatures in are indoor plants from warehouse stores.  You might be compelled to buy the clearance plant that has been sitting on the shelf for months for a great deal.  Warehouse stores have many places for spiders to hide and the doors opening and closing are very inviting for tiny creatures to find a home.

You won’t notice the tiny webs that are spun around the stems or leaves until their population grows when you bring them home.  They can easily float with their webs or crawl to the other plants in the area and infect them as well.

This is a very sad story for indoor gardeners, but there is hope.  There are ways to prevent and treat this HUGE “tiny” problem.

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How to prevent spider mites.

There are two things you need to do that help prevent spider mites the most.  Do not buy plants on the clearance shelf of the warehouse stores and do mist your plants with water every day or two.  For added protection, get yourself some neem oil and spray the diluted solution with water on the leaves periodically as well.  That is it.  That is all you need to do.

Spider mites love the dry environment so kick up the humidity and mist your plants with water.  Neem oil works even better as a natural pesticide and it makes your leaves shinier.  Every organic gardener will recommend neem oil as an essential product in your gardening supplies.

Note:  Don’t have Neem oil, try this instead.  

How to get rid of spider mites and save your indoor plants.

There are a few options you can do here but one option may be to remove the infected plant and start over.  It depends on how bad the mites have attacked your indoor garden.

Some natural recommendations are to:

  • Spray a mixture of 1 part rubbing alcohol and 1 part water
  • Spray a mixture of liquid dish soap and water
  • Spray a mixture of rosemary oil and water
  • Dust the leaves with diatomaceous earth

If you have treated the plant with the natural remedies before the spider mites took over completely, continue to practice the preventive measures discussed above.

Here are the recommended products for treating and preventing the spider mite indoor plant infestation:

Organic Neem Bliss 100% Pure
Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap
Safer Brand 51703 Diatomaceous Earth