Common pests and diseases on indoor varieties

Common pests and diseases on indoor varieties

Not all indoor and patio/alfresco plants are susceptible to pests and diseases.

Calatheas for example tend to get Alternaria leaf spot and fusarium root rot. To ensure this doesn’t happen it is vital to get your watering right and not to over water your plants or leave large amounts of moisture sitting on the leaf.  Overhead watering can cause diseases such as leaf spot, however, many of the  indoor varieties can get the common insects such as scale, aphids and mealy bugs and mainly because of the conditions they are grown in are more favourable for these insects to thrive in.

The most common pest of all are the dreaded fungus gnats. There are knock down insecticides for this, however, they tend to be attracted to organically enriched potting media.  It is essential to get your watering right through the cooler months and to allow good airflow through the potting media and let it dry out before your next water. Fungus gnats usually thrive in temperatures from 15-25 degrees, so this is the period to concentrate on the most from winter to spring.

Gnats on yellow sticky trap

Photo: Yellow sticky trap

How to reduce fungus gnats

  • Yellow sticky straps
  • Solution of apple cider vinegar, sugar and dish washing liquid
  • Biocontrol agents   - Predatory mites (Hypoaspis spp.)
  • Neem Oil


 Other diseases

Sometimes diseases can be mistaken for cold weather or injury, due to winter time being the main period in which most of these species can struggle.  Tropical plants prefer humid conditions, much like their own natural environment and tend to curl their leaves when they are too cold or too hot. Increasing the temperature in winter or moving your plant into a protected area away from potential frost and artificial heating is worth doing to keep your plants healthier through this difficult time.

There are many different fungicides for photosynthetic diseases such as leaf spot, but the use of copper fungicides usually works best. There are also many insecticides on the market that will eradicate the most common insects but it’s always best to try and improve plant health through other options, such as…

  • Beneficial Bacteria
  • Applying the correct fertiliser at the right time
  • Plant positioning
  • Create a natural environment
Healthy Calathea Bicajoux Pink

Photo: Healthy Calathea Bicajoux Pink

Much like humans you look after us with healthy nutrition and we will also live a better and longer life with less issues down the track