The Q&A Archives: Pests In My Plant

Question: Hi, I have a China Doll houseplant that has grown to be about 5' tall. To my horror this morning I discovered that it has BUGS!!! and also it has some sort of yellow mold growing in the soil. Could you please tell me how I can get rid of these two pests? I absolutely love this plant and would hate to lose it. Thanks so much, I'm anxiously waiting for your reply.

Answer: You didn't describe the bugs, so I don't know how to guide you. Houseplants can be plagued by aphids, whiteflies, mealybugs and spider mites, among other pests. Your first line of defense is probably to wash the plant off with tepid water. This should dislodge most of the insects and send them down the drain. Be sure to wash both upper and lower leaf surfaces, and all of the stems, too.

If mold is growing in the soil, scrape it away, then place a layer of decorative rock over the top of the soil. Molds floating around in the air can find pleasant homes on the surface of moist soil. By placing a barrier between the soil and the surrounding air, you'll discourage mold growth.

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