Home Remedies for Houseplants

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From prickly cactuses to flowering blooms, there are plenty of plants that thrive inside the household. While the great outdoors would normally provide sunlight, water and fertilizing soil, it’s up to you to make sure your indoor foliage is well cared for. Home remedies for houseplants can make sure you provide the best environment for your indoor greenery.

Common Problems with Houseplants

In order to increase the life of your houseplants and ensure their proper care, it’s important to first become familiar with some of the common issues facing houseplants. The main concerns for a plant lover include:

• Lack of humidity
• Insects and pests
• Poor lighting
• Imbalance of nutrients
• Root rot
• Over watering
• Salt buildup

Houseplant Home Remedies

You don’t have to go far to uncover home remedies for houseplants that provide immediate assistance in tackling the typical dilemmas associated with indoor foliage. A few suggestions include:

a) Pantyhose:

You can prevent soil erosion in houseplants by placing a piece of pantyhose at the bottom of a new pot. Acting as a liner, excess water will flow out without draining precious soil in the process.

b) Turkey Baster:

When trying to water hard-to-reach houseplants, use a turkey baster to give you a bit of length with your range.

c) Rubbing Alcohol:

Coat the stems and foliage of plants with rubbing alcohol so that you can dry out bugs. Apply the alcohol to cotton balls, and then gently clean the leaves and stems. Avoid new growth in the process. You may also dip Q-tips in rubbing alcohol to remove mealybugs. Don’t forget to treat under the leaves where bugs like to hide.

d) Soap:

To get rid of insects on indoor plants, apply soapy dishwashing water to leaves. The bubbles and soapy consistency work towards suffocating the pests.

e) 7-Up Soda:

To keep fresh flowers in your home, add 7-Up to the water. Other home remedies to preserve your blooms longer include adding a bit of Clorox or two Bayer aspirins to the water.

f) Garlic:

The scent of pungent herbs, such as garlic, scallions, chives and onions, can keep household plant pests (like aphids) away from leaves. For example, you can crush garlic clove to make an effective spray for plants.

g) Ammonia:

Mix a couple of drops of ammonia to your houseplant’s water (for once-a-week waterings) to enhance their growth and prosperity.

h) Hot Peppers:

Mixing hot peppers with vegetable soap oil creates a decent repellent for houseplant pests. You can puree a hot pepper in the blender along with a garlic clove, 1-½ cups of water, and one tablespoon of liquid vegetable oil soap. Transfer the remedy into a spray bottle and spritz on the leaves of indoor plants. Avoid spraying on flowering indoor plants, as this can destroy delicate blooms.

i) Cardboard and Petroleum Jelly:

Flying gnats can threaten your houseplants. Trap the insects by covering yellow paper or cardboard with petroleum jelly. The gnats are attracted to this display and become stuck to the jelly when they get closer.

j) Banana Peel:

Skip misting your plants with water to brighten their appearance. You can use the inside of a banana peel to remove unwanted grime and replace it with shine [1].

k) Hair Conditioner:

A small amount of hair conditioner on a soft cloth will create a shine on the leaves of your houseplants.

l) Plastic Lids:

Catch water under small pots for houseplants by using the plastic lids from old containers. This home remedy will protect your furniture from watermarks.

m) Mayonnaise:

Place a small amount of mayonnaise on a paper towel and wipe down the leaves of your plants to make them shiny.

n) Vinegar:

Add vinegar to a jar and cover with a piece of aluminum foil. Punch holes in the foil and place it by the plants. The scent of the vinegar attracts the insects, who then fly into the jar and are unable to escape.

o) Marbles:

A lot of houseplants die because they are watered too much. It is not wise to let a pot sit in water positioned on top of a saucer. Instead, put marbles in the saucer to raise the pot, which keeps soil away from the water. You may also use pebbles from outside as a substitute for marbles.

p) Vacuum Cleaner:

For larger houseplants, use an appropriate attachment for your vacuum cleaner to remove visible pests, such as whiteflies, mealybugs, and scale insects.

q) Fan:

A fan set on low placed close to houseplants will provide the air movement needed to repel and discourage current insects.

r) Window Check:

Reducing the number of insects that come in contact with your houseplants requires a window and door check for broken screens and cracks that let in intruders.

s) Baking Soda:

Create a spray using baking soda and water to prevent fungal spores from germinating.


[1] Reader’s Digest Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things; pg. 77