Pests Fix: How To Get Rid of Insects And Bugs On Your Pilea
Updated: Jun 29, 2020
If you see your Pilea suddenly drooping, unfurling its leaves and getting yellow, a closer look might reveal you have guests: tiny insects have chosen your plant as their new home. In this case, you should take care of your plant as soon as possible; if left untreated, pests could kill your green friend. Let's see how!
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Where Do Pests Come From?
First thing first: don't get desperate if your Pilea got pests!
These insects are really common and can get into your home in many different ways.
Lots of them fly, so it's possible that they have found their way in through open windows.
They can also be carried by people, pets, newly purchased plants from a nursery, plants that have been outside on your patio for the summer, and flowers from your garden.
They can even sneak into open bags of soil and then infest your plant when you use that soil to repot.
How Can I Treat Pests?
The best way is by using a two-step approach.
First, manually remove as many gnats as possible and then, treat Pilea with an insecticide.
Don't think the problem will go away on its own: it won't.
These insects reproduce rapidly; they gather underneath the leaves and in the soil, and suck fluids from your plant, causing the yellowing and drooping. Make sure to act quickly to stop the infestation before it gets out of hand!
1. Remove The Insects Manually
Use a q-tip or your fingers and remove as many insects as possible. For insects that are hard to remove, it may be helpful to dip the q-tip in some rubbing alcohol.
Also, cut away all the leaves and stems that are heavily infested.
2. Treat Your Pilea With An Insecticide
The most gentle and easy-to-find product you can use to treat pests is Castile soap.
You may need to apply the soap several times. We suggest doing it every day for at least 7-10 days, or until you won't see all insects have died. While treating with soap, make sure to keep Pilea out of direct sun, or it could easily get sunburned.
Some other organic products you can use are Diatomaceous earth – a type of powder, and Neem oil. They are both natural and effective.
Simply spray the oil or sprinkle the powder on your Pilea so that there is a light layer on the leaves and the soil. Keep treating the plant every day, for at least 7-10 days. The bugs will walk through it and die shortly after contact.
Once the bugs have been eradicated, your new leaves should grow out healthy. Unfortunately, there is no way to save the leaves that have already been damaged.
My Pilea won't recover. Should I give up?
If your plant doesn't seem to get any better after two weeks of treatment, it's probably time to dispose of it. If more than half of a Pilea plant looks damaged, it's unlikely that it will recover.
Also, you don't want to risk pests to spread also to your other plants. Your entire indoor jungle can get infested before you know it!
But hey, wait a minute before saying the last goodbye to your Pilea!
Look for a healthy baby, leaf or stem, and take cuttings to propagate them. You will keep the family alive, and you will start the fun all over again. That's why this plant is so magical!
How Can I Prevent Pests?
Whether your Pilea survived or not the infestation (we hope it did!), it's good to know how to prevent pests from invading your plant again. Here's what you should keep in mind.
1. Give Your Pilea The Right Care
Giving proper care to your plant is the best way to keep it healthy.
The wrong growing conditions could weaken the plant and make it more susceptible to pests. The right amount of light and water are key!
Be mindful of overwatering, – Pilea doesn't like to stay moist – insufficient light, lack of humidity, overfertilizing, and extreme temperature changes.
2. Maintain The Soil Fresh And The Pot Clean
When you find yourself repotting your Pilea, always use a clean pot and some sterilized potting mix. Make sure the soil you are using is in excellent condition: it could have been invaded by pest if the bag was left open outdoor.
3. Inspect Your Plant Regularly And Act Rapidly
Always keep an eye on your plant, and make an effort to notice sudden changes on foliage.
Pests are usually tiny and very difficult to see with the naked eye, and it’s easy to miss a pest problem until it’s too late. You might consider getting a magnifying glass or lighted hand lens and take a regular inspection at the junctions of stems and leaves, underneath the leaves, and on any new growth – the pests' favorite meal. Also, check the roots of your Pilea every time you water it.
It's good to always have a gentle insecticidal soap at home, that will help you act promptly in case of a new invasion.
4. Isolate New Plants And Sick Plants
It's a good idea to place any new plants far from the rest of your indoor garden, for up to a month. In this way, you will make sure they won't infest the other plants in case they are carrying pests. If you don’t have enough space, consider a gentle insecticidal treatment just to be safe.
If one of your plants is sick, immediately move it as far as possible from your indoor jungle area.
5. Do A Summer Clean-up
If you have moved your Pilea outdoors for the summer, you should carefully inspect and wash it before bringing it back inside.
You can also consider spraying the leaves or soaking the pot with a diluted insecticidal soap solution.