Pest Problems Related to Indoor Plants

Mealy bugs by mpshadow2003

TheGardenLady received this question from Ben about pests problems with indoor planting.

I know you have answered a few questions on dormitory planting before, and I have settled on starting with an Aspidistra and branching out once I’m comfortable with what seems to be a relatively easygoing plant. I’m simply looking to spruce up my room aside from the obvious posters and lights, so a plant and a small fish tank are on my to-do list this summer.

However, no one seems to address any kinds of pest problems related to indoor planting. Are there any major bug issues I should watch out for when dealing with dorm room plants? I have a room to myself as a Resident Advisor next year, so a south-facing window sill will be available year-round in Midwest temperate weather.

I like to keep the window open during the day so stagnant air should not be a problem, but I worry that circulation will increase the risk of infection either to or from the plant(s).

If I have missed anything or made some kind of gross assumption, your input would be much appreciated. Thanks!

You want to be prepared. Though you are correct to be concerned about raising plants indoors, most people have plants indoors and get away without serious problems. Raising plants indoors would not be such a popular hobby if there were that much to worry about.

Since all living organisms can have problems, I hope you are aware that fish can have health problems in their tank.  I remember how sad we were when our fish developed a disease known by its abbreviated name, ich.  We knew something was wrong in our first aquarium when we saw all those white spots on the fish. But raising fish is still popular and fun. You just have to be vigilant to see that everything in the tank is healthy.

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Whiteflies are Annoying Plant Pests

whitey the whitefly =) by ProDigi
whitey the whitefly =) by ProDigi

In the last post, TheGardenLady explained one reason why this time of year makes her sad.  Here’s another reason, the fear of bringing in plant pests.

Whitefly is of special concern.  See here.  Whitefly can get on your plants when they are outdoors. But it is a major problem of greenhouses or homes. One of the plants that I bring in for the winter is my Brugmansia or angel trumpet. This is a plant that  is prone to whitefly. Friends have thrown out their Brugmansia plants because of the infestation of whitefly on them. Sometimes one has to get rid of plants when the infestation is extremely large but there is no room to properly care for the plant. My house is not very large and some of these plants have become enormous trees which I can’t really spray indoors should they have an infestation. Or you might have to get rid of a pest ridden plant if you fear the infestation will spread to other plants. This is also a fear I have with two dozen other plants in my relatively small place. I have been lucky. In all the years that I have had plants indoors and in the three years I have been bringing my Brugmansia indoors, my plants have never had any pests.

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