What really works to control houseplant pests?

Debunking Houseplant Pest Control Myths

That is the question I’ve been mulling as I suffer through pest after pest on my indoor plants. I believe I have spider mites. I know I have aphids, white flies and fungus gnats. Actually, at this point it’s more of a question of what I DO NOT have on my plants. This is so discouraging as my jasmine plant has finally bloomed, and I believe that to be what attracted the aphids. They are fully encompassing my jasmine flowers.

This just won’t do, so I started treating. I happened to have a 3-in-one organic pest spray on hand from previous years. So naturally I used that first. It knocked some of the bugs off but it didn’t kill a single one.

Organic Spray

Organic Spray is seen here, dripping off my plant. The jasmine flowers are completely covered in bugs

Next I went out to the chicken run and grabbed some Diatomaceous Earth (DE). If you’ve heard of DE before than you know that people proclaim DE to cure absolutely any pest infestation. This dirt has received so many amazing accolades in the organic/homesteading/permaculture community that I had visions of the bugs flopping over dead on contact. So what actually happened? Well I covered my plants in dust is all. It didn’t have any impact on the pests. Well, I shouldn’t say that exactly. The impact it had on pests is that they’ve moved from on top of the leaf, where the dust is, to under the leaf, where it is not.

DE covered plants

Next up is the old rubbing alcohol, soap, water wash. This I figured had to work as you are physically removing the bugs. It does work, you do remove them. However it is incredibly time consuming and you have to continue doing it.

Cleaning off the DE

I’m brushing the DE off my plants here.


Wiping the bugs off.

Neem oil is supposed to repel the creepy crawlies so I set about locating and acquiring that next. It has been applied to my jasmine plant and I will let you know if there is any real impact on the pests in my home as this was done very recently and I have nothing to report yet.

Neem oil

Ok. I admit. This was for photo purposes only. I put the Neem oil in water and sprayed in on the plants.

Sevin dust is a last ditch effort for me. I’m not even sure it will work as I used it on my peppercorn plant last winter and it almost killed the plant. If Neem oil and Sevin dust fail me I’ll simply have to throw my plants out to get rid of the nasty bugs. I’d really rather not kill my plants.

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