Preventing Pesky Plant Pests

Have you recovered from all of the horrifying pest pictures I shared in my last blog? (I hope so!)

Many of you may be wondering how you can avoid these gross critters altogether.

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Keep in mind that many times, all it takes to begin an outbreak is one tiny insect, sneaking in unaware on a new plant to cause massive damage to your entire houseplant family.

Always do a visual inspection of a plant before you buy it.Take your time when plant shopping to look carefully at the plant. Examine the stem, flip over the leaves, even poke the soil a little. If you do find some sort of pest, be sure to take the plant to the shop owner/greenhouse owner and let them know about the presence of pests. And definitely do NOT buy the plant.

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Use fresh soil and a clean pot.In one of my recent blog posts <link> I discussed how different types of plants prefer different types of soil. This is definitely true, and you will want to consider this when you are repotting a new plant. However, one of the main things to keep in mind – regardless of the type of soil you’re using – is to use fresh, sterile soil. You don’t want to use soil that unknowingly has pests in it, only to infect a perfect fine plant.  The same goes with pots – be sure to wash any old soil from a pot before reusing it with a new plant.

Check out the root ball when repotting plants.Sometimes, pests will lurk within the soil of a plant and may not be immediately evident. However, when you repot your plant into new soil, be sure to check out the root ball. If you see anything that even remotely resembles a pest (specifically look out for eggs and/or larvae), be sure to wash all of the old soil off of the roots before repotting the plant in a new pot. You will also want to monitor the plant closely for a while to be sure that you didn’t miss any eggs/larvae that could have matured into adults.

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Isolate new plants.By keeping a new plant separate from all the rest of your plant babies for a few weeks, you can ensure that if some pest DID sneak in, it is not going to hurt the rest of your plant family. During the isolation period, check on your plant frequently. Examine the stem, flip over the leaves, and poke at the soil again. If everything looks good after a couple of weeks, you can introduce your plant to the rest of your plant family (i.e. move it to it’s intended spot in your home).

Ideally, your plants should not touch each other. (This is something that I honestly don’t do in my own home.) However, pests that crawl can use leaves that touch as a mechanism for moving from plant to plant.

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A good way to help in preventing outbreaks of infestations is to wipe down your plants leaves every few weeks, or once a month. This also gives you the opportunity to notice anything unusual.

And here’s the thing: sometimes, pests happen. You can think that everything is good, you’ve followed all of your precautions, and suddenly – there’s a pest problem! Keeping a careful eye on your plants and periodically examining them for pests is an important part of continuing to keep plants pest-free! That way, if you discover a pest infestation, you can deal with it ASAP!

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I hope you have found this series helpful! Here’s wishing you all a fantastic, pest-free summer!

– the {house}plant momma

 

Products I {Heart}: Water Propagation Stations

If you’ve been following along with my plant journey, you know that I find the propagation process to be absolutely magical – especially water propagation. (You can read my thoughts about it here.) However, I also find the process beautiful. I love sticking little snippets of greenery into different water-filled vessels, and watching the roots emerge.

Another reason I think that water propagation is so lovely is because I enjoy adding propagation vessels to my home. There are so many options out there – bottles, jars, vases, test tubes – and each one adds something special to your space. The options are virtually limitless. As long as the stem and roots of your plant are able to get light, then you should be able to use almost any container for water propagation.

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My favorite water propagation station in my house…

If you are new to the propagation process and want some inspiration for a water propagation station, then look no further! Here are some of my favorites found ‘round the internet.

Test Tube Water Propagation Station

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Image via Etsy

Round Bud Vases 

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Image via Amazon

Glass Orb Vase Himmeli Water Propagation Station 

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Image via Etsy

Milk Bottles – Vintage milk bottles make great water propagation stations! My momma gifted me with these from her childhood, and I love the nostalgia they add to my house house, coupled with the beauty of my plants. You can find similar ones here.

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Vintage milk bottles from my momma

Wooden Water Propagation Station Cylinders 

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Image via Etsy

Square Bud Vases 

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Image via Amazon

Hanging Succulent Water Propagation Station 

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Image via Etsy

Hanging Cylinder Vase – I have several of these hanging cylinder vases hanging around the house that I use for propagation. I love how they showcase my clippings, but using them also makes it easy to change up little portions of my décor when I switch out the clippings.

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Hanging cylinder vase, located in the entryway of my home

Quad Cradle Water Propagation Station 

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Image via Things by HC

Beaker Water Propagation Station

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Image via Etsy

If you would like to learn more about propagation in general, please check out these two fantastic articles.

Do you feel inspired yet??

I would love to see what YOU are using for your own water propagation stations! Please tag me – @thehouseplantmomma – on Instagram to show me your propagation stations. I will be featuring some of my favorites on an upcoming version of my #FeaturedFriday Instagram Stories!

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I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

– the {house}plant momma

Plant Killer vs. Plant Lover

“Hi. My name is Allison, and I’m a plant killer.”

If you’ve read any of my other blogs, you know by now that I’ve not always been the {house}plant momma; for most of my life, I’ve actually been a plant killer. It has taken time, a lot of research, and some straight-up good luck to turn me from a plant killer into a {successful} plant lover.

Plant Killer
Pin available at Hemleva.
Plant Lover
Pin available at Hemleva.

My first major causality was a fiddleleaf fig. However, I’ve also killed lilies, a watermelon peperomia, and many succulents along the way (and that’s just the short list!). Luckily, not every plant is difficult to care for! Some of my favorite plants are actually pretty easy to take care of, and tend to be fairly forgiving even when you forget to take care of them.

Below you can see some of my favorite hard-to-kill houseplants. These are not just houseplants that I found on a random list somewhere on the Internet, but are ones that I actually have in my own collection.

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Pothos

As I wrote in a previous blog, pothos are air-purifying plants. They are also very flexible when it comes to their light and temperature requirements. I have four different varieties of pothos, and each one has done really well in my home – no matter the lighting situation in the room.

Another thing that I love about pothos is that they propagate very easily. I recently moved and lost quite a few long vines off of one of my pothos plants. I took the vines, stuck them in water, and have been thrilled to watch the roots emerge. Once the roots are well-established in water, I will plant them in soil.

(To learn more about why pothos plants are awesome, check out my friend Joi’s blog here.)

Aloe

I remember one time as a child, I was visiting a friend who was cooking my family lunch. However, as she cooked, she got busy talking, stopped paying attention, and burned her hand. Instead of reaching for ice, she broke off a piece of her aloe plant and held it on the burn. I vividly remember being fascinated that a plant could have medicinal properties. Aloe is also known for being great on sunburn.

Aloe is a succulent, so it does well with lots of sun and doesn’t need to be watered too frequently. It’s a great plant if you are bad at remembering to water!

Snake Plant

Snake plants have to be one of my favorites of all houseplants! They are so resilient and are really easy to care for. They do well in a variety of lighting conditions, which makes them fit for many different rooms in the house. They also do well in warmer conditions, and prefer their soil moist.

When I bought my first snake plant, the girl working at the shop told me, “Do you know what these plants are nicknamed? They’re called ‘mother-in-law’s tongue’ because they’re impossible to kill.” I don’t have a “bad” mother-in-law, but every time I think of that story, it makes me smile.

Peace Lily

Peace lilies are another plant that is known for the air-cleansing properties (see more here). They are also very easy to grow; they enjoy low-light, and do well in warmer temperatures.

Peace lilies are great at letting you know when they need watered, too. When they need water, their leaves go limp and they look rather listless. Shortly after being watered, though, they perk right back up again!

Spider Plant

I hate spiders…but I love spider plants! Spider plants look great in hanging baskets. There are also many different beautiful varieties. Spider plants prefer moist soil, and enjoy medium to bright light.

One of the things that I love about spider plants is that they put out “babies,” which allows you to easily expand your collection of plants! Simply snip off one of the pups, put it in water, and once roots develop, you can plant it on soil.

Areca Palm

I got my areca palm as an impulse buy from my local grocery store. It was huge and cheap, so I figured if I killed it, I wouldn’t be too sad. However, mine took off as soon as I got it home, and has been putting out new shoots consistently since then!

Areca palms do well in low light (which is perfect for the room I put it in), and need to be watered as infrequently as every other week. They can grow quite large, but will stay smaller if kept in a smaller pot.

(To learn more about hard-to-kill plants, check out this article.)

I still kill plants sometimes, but I have been getting much better about understanding what each one of my plant babies needs. But even though I’ve been more successful lately, I still feel sad when one of them doesn’t survive. Each day I’m learning more about what my plants need, and I’m having a great time along the way!

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So, which are you – a plant killer or a plant lover? (Or perhaps a plant lover who happens to be a plant killer??) Let me know in the comments below!

– the {house}plant momma