Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

What should I do with a buggy indoor plant?

Sooner or later most indoor gardeners develop a pest problem on one or more of their indoor plants. Common sources of these pests are new plants purchased at the store, plants brought indoors after summering outside, or by insects coming in through an open window. Identification of the pest involved may be difficult but it is important to recognize the pest and take prompt measures for control. Indoor conditions are ideal for the rapid increase of insects.

To limit problems, examine plants regularly and isolate new plants for at least two weeks before placing them with other plants. Heavily infested plants are often best disposed of before the insects have a chance to spread. Another good control is to wash plants once every 6 months with lukewarm water. This will allow you to closely inspect each plant and reduce insect populations before they become unmanageable. It is also a good idea to have an insecticidal soap on hand. Insecticidal soaps are very safe for use indoors and will control most indoor plant pests. Ready to use pesticides containing pyrethrum are also very safe and will control many indoor plant pests. All of these products are readily available at nursery and garden centers. Be sure to read and follow all label directions.

Several of the new ultra-refined or superior oil products can be used on indoor plants and provide excellent, low-toxicity alternatives to other sprays.