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Signs of damage
Usually the first sign of thrip damage is faded or dirty looking leaves. The leaves will start by turning white or grayish in color, then eventually brown as the damaged areas start to die.
Though it’s possible for thrips to kill a houseplant, it’s rare. Mature, healthy houseplants can handle a pretty heavy infestation. The biggest threat is to small or weak houseplants.
However, not only is a thrip infestation gross, they make your indoor plants look terrible, and heavy damage can stunt their growth. Other common symptoms include:
- Brown stripes on the leaves
- Faded, splotchy, pale-colored leaves
- Parts of the leaves are dying
- Flower buds are malformed, dropping, or won’t open
- Leaves start dropping unexpectedly
- New growth is deformed
How to prevent
Thrips can be difficult to get rid of. So, once you finally win the battle, you want to prevent them from ever coming back!
The good news is that there are a few easy ways to prevent thrips from infesting your houseplants…
- Monitor them on a regular basis for the first signs of an infestation
- Debug all of your plants before bringing them back inside for the winter
- Keep anything that you bring in from your garden (cut flowers, veggies…etc) far away from your houseplants
- Inspect all new houseplants before bringing them home, then quarantine them for a few weeks afterward
The first thing you should do as soon as you spot thrips on a houseplant is to quarantine the infested plant immediately. Then check all of the surrounding houseplants for signs of thrips, and isolate any others you may find.Make sure that you begin treating the infestation right away. Also, to help prevent thrips from spreading, always wash your hands after handling an infested houseplant.
RINSE THE LEAVES
If you can, take your houseplant outside, and rinse the leaves with the hose. That will remove many of the bugs, and quickly knock down their population.You could rinse the leaves in the sink or shower instead, and that will work too. Be sure to use tepid water, and take care not to overwater your houseplant in the process.
Soap kills thrips on contact, and will help to give you the upper hand. You can use a pre-mixed organic insecticidal soap, or make your own using 1 tsp mild liquid soap to 1 liter of water.Be sure to spray it directly on the infested leaves to kill the bugs. Insecticidal soap doesn’t have any kind of residual effect, so it’s important to treat them often in order to completely get rid of thrips.
WASH YOUR HOUSEPLANT
You could also try washing the leaves with diluted mild liquid soap, and rinse it off with water. This will kill thrips as well, and help to quickly get the population under control.Make sure you wash the undersides of leaves too, that’s where thrips like to hide. But before washing all of the leaves, it’s best to test the soap on a few first, to make sure it doesn’t damage your houseplant.
It’s a naturally occurring insecticide, and also has a residual effect that will help to deter future infestations.Spray a neem oil solution directly on the leaves and stems. This will kill some of the bugs on contact, and others will die when they feed on the neem oil covered leaves. Either a pre-mixed horticultural oil or a hot pepper wax spray can also be very effective to get rid of thrips on houseplants.
Since adult thrips are able to fly, sticky traps can work very well to capture them. Place either yellow or blue sticky traps near the infested houseplant to attract them.
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