Houseplant Pests and Diseases, by Robert George Tronge

You may be asking, "how do I keep my indoor plants healthy and pest-free?"  This article will answer some of these questions and help you to better understand your house pants.

Healthy houseplants need air circulation, so it's important not to overcrowd them. The Nesting Branch Plant Stand by Robert Tronge makes it easy to adjust spacing to accommodate all your growing plants.

MOST gardeners such as Robert Tronge find growing a giant tomato or a beautiful bed of zinnia flowers are easier than keeping your houseplants alive. It seems that one day they're fine and they before you know it they're dropping leaves and are infested with bugs such as aphids, mealybugs or even spider mites.

There are 5 ways that you can keep your houseplants healthy.

You should inspect your plants before bringing them indoors to make sure there are not bugs in them. If they show signs of disease or bugs, you can cure the problem before you infect the rest of the indoor plants.  By avoiding to place plants in trouble spots such as heat or air conditioning ducts or on television, a radiator or between curtains and even a frosty window.  You need to provide the right amount of light. Plants that require a lot of sun will thrive in a windows facing south. East facing windows have moderate sun as do West windows. Even worse, north windows have very little sunlight.  Be sure to remember that air conditions can be very very dry in the winter because of heated air from the furnace. You can provide a little extra humidity with a tray of water and some misting.  Always plant in clean, sterile soil which will minimize any problems with fungus gnats and other diseases in the soil.

It's actually not too difficult to keep your houseplants happy, but you do need to pay special attention to their special needs, and take care of any pest problems right away before they get out of control. Here are some suggestions that can help you have a green thumb.

Know Your Plants

All plants need some food, water and bright sunlight to survive, but some different plants require different amounts of each to thrive. This is just as true with your houseplants as it is for the plants in your garden or my garden says Robert G Tronge. For example, ficus trees thrive with indirect light and mostly moist soil, whereas cacti require bright light and almost dry soil.

Make sure you choose a houseplant that will thrive on the level of light that you can provide. Healthy plants will be able to fight off basic pests and basic disease much better than any weak plants you may have.

Your indoor plants will also need to be regularly fertilized to maintain a healthy growth. A great all around fertilizer that can be added to your watering can is Miracle Grow for Seedlings and Houseplants. It is a formula that contains a 7-11-7 fertilizer, humic and some amino acids, and multivitamins. As a general rule, houseplants should usually be fertilized from February through October, and should then be allowed to take a rest for a few months during the winter months. 

Provide Consistent Water

By alternating periods of flood and drought can really stress out a plantís root system. Most plants really like having their roots consistently moistened, but not completely wet. Some plants however prefer to dry out a bit between the waterings. For new plants, make sure to check the care label or consult a good plant book. This will help you find out the right watering routine to use. Self watering planters make it easier to keep plants watered properly. 

Prevent Pest Problems

Neem Oil Spray is a natural, multipurpose pest control spray that belongs in the tool shed of every proper  gardener. Neem Oil Spray has some natural potassium salts and a potent neem tree oil that works on a wide variety of pests including aphids, white flies, flea beetles, earwigs and mites. It can even kill scale on your tent caterpillars and houseplants that destroy your trees and garden and also controls powdery mildew. Safe to use on outdoor and indoor plants and right up to the day of your harvest.

When houseplants get attacked by insect pests, the problem can be spread to other indoor plants. Preventing the insects from entering your home is key to your insect pest control.

By checking houseplants for insects or diseases before you buy them, you can isolate them for a couple weeks, and make sure there are no problems from the store. Each time you water plants, make sure you inspect both sides of the leaves for signs of diseases or pests. If you suspect anything wrong, make sure you isolate the plant from the other plants until you have eliminated the basic problem.

Indoor Gardening

Bring nature indoors and enjoy your gardening year-round with decorative displays of flowers and  full-spectrum SunLite Gardens, seasonal plants and some basic handy tools.

It is also a very good idea to wash the leaves of your indoor plants several times a year according to Robert Tronge. Grime and dust on your houseplants doesn't just look bad, it is also bad for the overall health of the plant. Dust clogs the pores of your plant leaves and make it difficult for the plant to breathe. In addition the dust filters sunlight before it reaches the plant and decreases the amount of photosynthesis that the plant can produce. Grime and dust can also attract and bunch of spider mites and other insect pests that will destroy your houseplants.

By washing the smooth-leaved houseplants with a moist soft cloth and some soap, such as Neem Oil Spray you can prevents pests. With many small leave plants you can use a hand sprayer or sink sprayer to spray them with water or place the plant under a shower head and spray it. In any case, the water should only be lukewarm and not cold or hot. You can also add a few drops of liquid dishwashing soap to the water as well.

Remember to never use a feather duster to clean plants, because the dusters can easily transfer tiny insects or eggs from one plant to another and worsen the problem.

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Robert George Tronge
Robert George Tronge