Aphids on a leaf

How to get rid of aphids on houseplants

Do it:

All year round

Takes just:

15 minutes

Pests, especially aphids, breed rapidly in our warm homes, so check your houseplants regularly to prevent a major infestation. 

Aphids use their probing mouthparts to tap into the stems, leaves and flowers of plants, extracting the sugary sap. This weakens infested plants, and can spread viral diseases between them. 

Aphids enter the home through open windows and doors, on cut flowers or on newly purchased house plants. A single female can produce thousands of young, so it’s important to act quickly if you spot even just one. There are many easy ways to control aphids, so keep your eyes open and be ready to act.

Discover how to get rid of aphids on houseplants, below.

You will need

You will need

Spray bottle full of water

Insecticides (chemical or organic)

Secateurs

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Inspect plants for aphids, paying particular attention to the undersides of leaves and the stem tips. Also look for tiny, white shed skins and for stickiness on the leaves or surrounding surfaces, caused by aphids expelling excess sap.

If you find any aphids, quickly isolate the affected plant from its neighbours. Use a spray bottle filled with water to blast away any visible aphids, or rub them off using your fingers.

Keep a close watch for further outbreaks. If aphids reappear, consider spraying with an insecticide for indoor plants, following the pack instructions. Always take houseplants outside when applying chemicals.

If you find any aphids, quickly isolate the affected plant from its neighbours.

If you prefer not to use chemicals or if the infestation is severe, take cuttings and dispose of the original plant. Choose stems or leaves that are unaffected, snip them off with clean secateurs and wash off any aphids.

Look for signs of viral infection on any plants with aphids. Symptoms vary, but often include leaf discoloration, yellowing and distortion. There is no cure, so dispose of affected plants – don’t take cuttings or compost the plants.

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Hang yellow sticky traps around your houseplants and check them regularly. They're a good early warning system, as you'll see aphids in the traps if there's an infestation. The traps will also capture other common flying pests, including whitefly and fungus gnats. If you don’t like the look of these traps, try growing sticky carnivorous sundews (Drosera) to catch the flies instead.

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