Plants are living things. Anything that lives, will inevitably have other living things that want to live and feed on it. It’s not fun to think about but call it the food chain or circle of life, if you will.
This is my Philodendron Hope. She was having problems with her bottom leaves turning a puke green/ pale yellow/ light brown.
I researched and tried to fix all possible problems. This included giving her less water, more light, less light, proper drainage, etc. I assessed and corrected all of the things (or so I thought), but she was still having the same issue. Baffled, I finally decided to bring her into my local plant nursery to get some help. I spoke with the plant guru there. She is so knowledgeable about plants! She immediately checked the underside of one of the leaves and brought the plant outside.
“Spider mites,” she said. “What?! Ew!” I responded. She showed me the underside of the leaves and pointed to black specs that looked like microscopic dots of left behind dirt or dust. But, then, I could see them moving!
Spider mites are actually a common problem on houseplants and outdoor plants. They are plant-eating mites that feed on the plants, and drain the chlorophyll causing the discoloration of the leaves. If left unnoticed, they will eventually kill the plant.
Tip: One way to tell if your plant has these critters is to place a white piece of paper under one of your plant’s leaves and shake the leaf. Small black specs that look like black pepper will fall onto the paper. The good news is, if you catch them early enough, you can take the following steps to get rid if them.
You’ll want to take your plant outside for these steps. Find somewhere with shade for your plant so she can hangout outside for a while during this. Also, make sure it’s not the dead of winter, because this could shock and potentially kill your plant.
I took my plant outside on our covered front porch. I hosed her down really well which normally will be enough to remove the mites from the leaves. I let her leaves dry. Then, I used a spoon to sprinkle the Systemic Houseplant Pest Control to her soil. I mixed it in about an inch into the soil. After, I sprayed Ferti-lome Triple Action Plus all over the leaves (front and back, everywhere). Both of these products are effective for 8 weeks on the plants in protecting from mites and certain plant eating insects. I bought both of these items at my local plant store.
I let my plant stay outside overnight on our front porch. I think she quite enjoyed the fresh air.
After doing a full inspection of her leaves, I brought her back inside the next day. She looked good! I didn’t see any spider mites on her.
One thing to be aware of, is if you ever have a problem with insects on your plants, check the plants that sit nearby the affected plant. Mites can travel to other nearby plants. Although, they have to be pretty close or touching, it’s worth checking the others too.
I am so glad I brought my plant in to get help once I thought I had tried all the things to fix her. When in doubt, ask for help!