Gladys and I take most of our houseplants outside for the summer and it is time to start bringing them in for the winter. Gladys has so many, she started to bring some in about September 15, 2015. My wife and I don’t have that many so we watch the weather forecast to see when to bring in what. Some of Gladys’ tropicals such as the Bromeliad and the Tradeskantia will be injured if the temperature drops below 40 degrees F. Others will not tolerate temps below 45 degrees F.

     For all our plants, when we bring them in we make sure we don’t also bring in a bunch of critters. Many bugs can be knocked off with just a hard spray of water and this also washes the dirt and dust off the plant. For most of the plants I also use an insecticide to kill the remaining bugs. Products you can use that are labeled for use on houseplants both before you bring them in and after they are in the house includes:

·        Insecticidal Soap-this is labeled for use for organic gardeners and can be used indoors without an odor. This is the one Gladys and I use the most inside and outside.

·        Neem Oil-this product comes from the “Neem Tree” and is an insecticide, a fungicide and a miticide. As a miticide it is labeled to kill spider mites and is acceptable for use by organic gardeners inside and outside. One brand of “insecticidal soap” is made from Neem Oil so you get the benefits of both. This is the one I use. Look for it at your favorite garden center.

·        Pyrethrin-this is sold under many brand names including “Houseplant and Garden Insect Spray” by Schultz. This is organic and made from the Chrysanthemum plant.

  • Permethrin-this is sold under the brand name of “Eight” and is available at many garden centers, hardware stores, and discount centers.
  • Resemethrin-this is sold under the name “Houseplant Helper” and is similar to Permethrin.
  • Earth Rx Houseplant Insect Spray-this is an organic houseplant spray containing Pyrethrin and Canola oil.

          It is recommended that you rotate which insecticide you use as some critters may become or are already resistant to the one you normally use. This recommendation holds for insecticides used indoors or outdoors.

          All the above are contact sprays and must come in contact with the insect so spray both the top and the bottom of the leaves. After spraying the plants I immediately use a systemic granule. Sprinkle the granules on the soil and then water in thoroughly. This insecticide takes about two weeks after the first application to become effective so I apply immediately after using the contact spray. This insecticide goes into the soil and is taken up into the plant so when an insect begins to chew or suck on a leaf or stem it is killed.

          This systemic insecticide is important as usually there are eggs in the soil or on the underside of the leaf which hatch out after the plant is brought into the warm house. Read the label before use and then follow label directions as the amount you use depends upon the size of the container. There are two different formulations on the market. One contains 2% Di-syston granules which is sold under the brand name “2% Systemic Granules”. It must be repeated every 30-45 days for season long control. The other contains imadicloprid (Merit) and must be repeated every 60-90 days. Do not use a systemic insecticide on plants with edible fruit.

Copyright 2015