Aphids are tiny bugs on plants the like to cluster on new growth and flowers. Getting rid of aphids indoors can take some time but don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Follow these organic aphid treatment methods to kill aphids on houseplants, and learn how to get rid of aphids on indoor plants FOR GOOD!
The winter of 2009 will forever be remembered as the year of the worst houseplant pest outbreak I’ve ever had. I found aphids on one of my houseplants, and the infestation quickly spread to over half of my houseplant collection.
I spent the entire winter battling them, and I was on the brink of throwing all of my houseplants out into the snow and giving up. (how you like me now aphids?)
But in the end, I won the battle, and my houseplants remain aphid free to this day (knock on wood).
You can win the battle against these destructive plant bugs too!
What Are Aphids?
Aphids are tiny bugs that feed on plants, and are a common pest outside in the garden. But sometimes aphids can get inside the house and infest houseplants too, and they can be a major problem on indoor plants.
Since they don’t have any natural predators indoors, they can quick infest your houseplants, and multiply very quickly.
What Do Aphids Look Like?
Many times they look like tiny green bugs on houseplants, but adult aphids can be just about any color – red, brown, blue…you name it.
Sometimes aphids blend in so well with the color of the leaves, that you won’t even notice them until their population explodes.
Whatever their color, they are small and fat and juicy – and gross. They can also have wings, but winged aphids are less common.
What Do Aphids Do To Plants?
Like most indoor plant pests, aphids feed on a houseplant by sucking the sap from the leaves, buds and flowers.
They like to cluster and feed on the new growth and flower buds of a plant, which can cause stunted growth, deformed leaves/flowers, yellow leaves and leaf/bud drop.
As they feed, aphids release a sticky residue so you may notice that the area around your plant is sticky before you even see the tiny bugs on your plants.
Thankfully, aphid damage isn’t usually catastrophic on a houseplant. Though they will eventually kill a plant, it would take a long time for aphids to kill a large houseplant.
Related Post: How To Get Rid Of Whiteflies On Indoor Plants, For Good!
Aphids Life Cycle
The aphid life cycle is a bit different depending on the species. Some females give birth to live nymphs, while others lay eggs.
Either way, they multiply quickly. The full life cycle can be as short as one week. So that means from the time a nymph is born/hatches, it can mature into an adult that can start laying more eggs in one week.
Yah, as you can see, once they get going, their population can grow exponentially. Yikes!
Aphid eggs are super small, so you’ll probably never see those. But you may notice what looks like a bunch of tiny white flecks on the leaves and around the base of the houseplant several days before seeing the adults.
Those are the exoskeletons that are shed when the nymphs molt, which happens about 4 times before they are officially adults.
These whitish casts might even be the first thing you notice right before you discover an infestation. Every time I’ve seen white flecks on a houseplant like this, sure enough a few days later adult aphids would appear.
Where Do Aphids Come From Indoors?
When you discover aphids on a houseplant, the first thing you’ll probably wonder is where the heck did they come from in the first place?
Aphids can come from anywhere, and you might not ever figure out exactly where they came from. Here are the most common places where aphids come from indoors…
- A plant that spent the summer outside had aphids on it when you brought it back indoors
- Fresh flowers or produce that has been brought inside from the garden
- Bringing home a new houseplant that has aphids on it
- These tiny bugs can easily crawl or fly though window screens during the summer
Aphids And Ants
As with mealybugs, if you have ants, they may be causing the problem! Ants will bring aphids to a houseplant so that they can feed off of the honeydew which is produced when the aphids feed on the plant.
So, if you have ants in your house, then that may be where the aphids are coming from.
How To Get Rid Of Aphids On Houseplants
Once you discover aphids on a plant, it’s super important to act fast because they can spread like wildfire to your surrounding houseplants.
Once the original host plant becomes overcrowded, the aphids will start migrating, and they can easily crawl or fly to other plants.
Aphids can become immune to synthetic chemical pesticides, so skip those nasty chemicals! The best way to kill aphids on indoor plant is to use all natural pest control methods rather than using chemicals for aphids.
Plus, you don’t want to use toxic chemical pesticides in your house, so we’ll stick to talking about safe pest control methods for killing aphids on houseplants (they work better anyway!).
How To Treat Aphids On Houseplants
The first thing you should do is quarantine the infested plant, and then thoroughly clean the area where that plant was sitting. Be sure to inspect all of the surrounding houseplant for signs of aphids too.
Then begin treating the infested plant immediately using these organic aphids treatment methods…
Killing Aphids With Soapy Water
The first thing I do once I find aphids on indoor plants is wash the plant with soap and water. You can do this task in the sink, or in the shower for larger houseplants.
To start, you can spray the leaves of the infested houseplant with a strong stream of water to rinse off all of the aphids that you see.
Then wash the leaves with a weak solution of mild liquid soap and water. Soapy water kills aphids on contact.
Before using any type of soap solution for aphids on your plants, test it one leaf first to make sure the soap won’t damage the plant. Some plants are sensitive to soapy water, and the leaves can be damaged
Make Your Own Homemade Aphid Spray
Another great home remedy for aphids on plants is use organic insecticidal soap to kill them. You can buy an organic insecticidal soap for killing aphids on houseplants, or whip up a batch of my homemade aphid insecticide spray…
My homemade aphid spray recipe:
- 1 tsp of organic mild liquid soap
- 1 liter tepid water
Mix both ingredients in a spray bottle, and spray it directly on the aphids. This homemade organic aphid killer spray is the best insecticide for aphids, and works great for getting rid of these pesky bugs on contact.
These organic aphid sprays will kill the aphids on contact, but they have no residual effect. Getting rid of aphids with soap sprays alone can take some time, so be sure to treat your plants on a regular basis until all signs of aphids are gone.
Before spraying anything on your plants, be sure to test it on one leaf to make sure it won’t damage the plant.
Use Neem Oil For Aphids
If you’re looking for an even more natural way to get rid of aphids, neem oil is a natural insecticide for aphids that is very effective, and it works great for residual aphid prevention too.
It really works wonders for eliminating an aphid infestation, and I highly recommend it. You can buy concentrated neem oil for pretty cheap, and a big bottle will last a long time.
If you end up getting the concentrate, then you’ll need to mix it with a mild liquid soap to help the oil mix with water (follow the instructions on the label).
Try Rubbing Alcohol
Another more natural remedy for aphids is rubbing alcohol. Use it to kill aphids on houseplants by taking a cotton swab to dab the rubbing alcohol directly onto the bugs, or spray a 50/50 mix of rubbing alcohol and water directly on the pests.
Before you spray the entire plant with a rubbing alcohol solution like this, be sure test this solution on one leaf of the plant first to be sure it won’t damage your plant.
Use Houseplant Sticky Stakes For Flying Aphids
Like I mentioned above, some aphids have wings and can fly around to infest nearby plants. If you take a close look at the aphids on your plant, you can easily see the ones that have wings.
If you find that there are winged aphids on your houseplants, then they could just fly away as soon as you disturb or start to treat the plant, and won’t be killed by the sprays.
So, to capture and kill aphids with wings, I recommend getting some houseplant sticky traps (like these or these), and put a few around nearby houseplants to (hopefully) capture any winged aphids that might be flying around.
Keep in mind that sticky traps will also capture fungus gnats, so don’t panic if you see lots of bugs on the trap – they might just be annoying fungus gnats (and here’s how to get rid of fungus gnats in houseplant soil).
How To Prevent Aphids From EVER Coming Back
Aphids are tough opponents, and it can take some time to eliminate them from all of your houseplants (especially when you have a lot of houseplants like I do!).
You can’t just spray or wash an infested plant once, and expect to get rid of aphids on houseplants forever.
Since the are tiny, and they multiply so quickly, getting rid of aphids on houseplants will take persistence and patience.
Here are some additional pest control tips to help you prevent aphids from ever coming back…
- Check your houseplants on a regular basis for signs of aphids
- Every time you bring home a new houseplant, quarantine it for several days to be sure there are no plant bugs on it before adding it to your plant collection
- Neem oil works as an aphid repellent, so use it on houseplants that have been infested in the past to help prevent future outbreaks
- Be sure to clean and debug houseplants that are outside before brining them back indoors for the winter
There’s no doubt about it, aphid control indoors can be a huge hassle, and it will definitely take some time to get rid of aphids on houseplant – so be patient. Remember, the best way to get rid of aphids on houseplants is to use natural aphid control methods… and don’t give up!
Are you tired of battling bugs on your indoor plants? Then my Houseplant Pest Control eBook is for you! It has lots of awesome home remedies for bugs on plants, and will show you exactly how to get rid of pests on plants, FOR GOOD! Download your copy today!
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More About Houseplant Pests
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- How To Get Rid Of Houseplant Bugs Naturally
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How do you get rid of aphids on houseplants? Share your tips about organic treatment for aphids in the comments below.