Do Indoor Plants Attract Bugs? (Reasons + How to Avoid)
Question – Do indoor plants attract bugs?
Answer – YES – indoor plants can attract bugs.
A ‘Better’ Question – Do indoor plants always attract bugs?
A ‘Better’ Answer – NO – indoor plants don’t always have to attract bugs if you follow the advice in the guide below.
Today on the Garden Bench Top, we are going to answer a question that crosses many indoor plant owners minds at some stage of their journey – do indoor plants attract bugs?
Whether you have a small plague of insects buzzing around your home, or you are curious because you have heard nightmare stories from fellow indoor plant fanatics about their experiences with bugs living in their plants. This guide is for you.
Inside, you will find your answers, and more importantly, the solutions to avoiding a bug infestation in your plants. So if you are ready, grab your fly swatter, because we’re about to dive in.
Do Indoor Plants Attract Bugs?
Indoor plants bring so much joy to peoples’ homes. They create ambient environments, and even improve the quality of air that we breathe. But, indoor plants can also attract unwanted guests – or maybe a better word for them is houseplant pests.
However, as we established earlier this doesn’t always have to be the case.
If you are one of the unlucky plant parents experiencing a bug invasion, the first step to a bug-free life is to gain an understanding of why your plants are so attractive to bugs. This is exactly what we are exploring in the next section.
Why are my Indoor Plants Attracting Bugs?
The only reason you have bugs and insects in your home is because the space supports their living requirements.
They need an environment that feeds them, hides and protects them, and allows them to reproduce. And unfortunately for you, your pot plants tick all the right boxes. Let’s look at what those requirements are.
The moist soil in your indoor plant containers is the perfect breeding ground for bugs and pests like fungus gnats. And if you ask us, it is the number one reason why many indoor plant enthusiasts experience bug infestations when they begin their plant collection.
Novice plant parents often overwater their plants, which leads to soggy wet soil. All it takes is one adult fungus gnat to find the moist environment, before it is game over.
According to the University of Florida, a single fungus gnat can lay 100-150 eggs in wet soil during its one-week lifespan. And from the day the egg is laid, it only takes a short 2 – 3 weeks of larval development, before new adult gnats take to the air looking for more places to lay more eggs.
Chances are, if one houseplant is overwatered, the rest of them are. Which means plenty of space for more gnat eggs.
You can begin to appreciate how quickly this can escalate!
Many indoor plants that originate from tropical regions require a minimum humidity level in order to survive and function properly.
The bad news is, insects love a humid environment too.
Humid environments generally mean there is a food and water source nearby – which is priority number one for most living creatures. It also keeps the bugs hydrated and prevents them from dying from dehydration.
Lack of Air Flow
The lack of air movement in your home is the perfect environment for insects and outdoor creatures.
Think about it – a tiny insect flying outside is at the mercy of any gust of wind (and it doesn’t even have to be strong)! This, compared to the stagnant indoor air with your houseplants, is not a hard choice to make.
Our comfortable living quarters offer insects protection from the outdoor elements, and a comfortable life to eat, drink and be merry.
The only problem is that it bugs us (pun intended)! So what can we do to deter insects from setting up shop in our pot plants?
How to Avoid Attracting Bugs to your Indoor Plants
You know why bugs and insects want to create homes in your houseplants, but how can you discourage them from finding them in the first place?
Use the Soil Moisture Test
Because moist potting mix is the number one culprit for attracting bugs to your potted plant, fixing the cause of the wet soil will resolve a majority of your bug problems.
We like to use a method that has not let us down – called the soil moisture finger test. It is a simple and effective technique that indicates when to water your plants.
Simply dig your finger about an inch deep into the top layer of soil around your plant and test the moisture levels. If potting soil sticks to your finger as you pull it out, there is still moisture present. If your finger comes out relatively clean, then it is time for water.
Try Bottom Watering your Plants
Instead of using the traditional method of watering your plants from the top down with a watering can, try using the bottom watering technique.
Bottom watering allows you to supply the necessary water to your plants via the drainage holes in the bottom of the containers. This way, the topsoil stays relatively dry, which prevents the insects from laying eggs, while also encouraging stronger root growth for your plants.
Watering from the bottom will also reduce the available water for the bugs to access, making it less attractive for them to live in your indoor plants. As well as helping to reduce the amount of surface water evaporation, which will help to lower the humidity levels around your plants.
Choose Natural Deterrents
As soon as you see bugs and insects, it’s instinctual to reach for the insecticides and chase them around the house. However, we would recommend a few moments of restraint to reconsider.
Insecticides generally contain extremely toxic chemicals that are not only bad for our health, but also don’t always achieve the end result of getting rid of those pesky insects.
Common Indoor Plants Bugs and Pests
Let’s take a quick look at the common indoor plant pests you can commonly find on your indoor plants.
Do Indoor Plants Attract Fungus Gnats?
When someone is talking about bugs and insects flying hovering around their indoor plants, in most cases they will be fungus gnats. There are posts plastered all over indoor plant forums, with many people screaming for help.
As discussed above, adult fungus gnats require moist soil to lay their eggs, and are therefore drawn to your plants like a magnet. If you have a gnat infestation, check out our triple – pronged method for eliminating them forever.
Do Indoor Plants Attract Spiders
Yes – indoor plants will attract spiders, especially if there are insects already buzzing around the plant.
Indoor plants are great places for a spider to camouflage itself. Not only is it a great place to hide, it has a ready source of moisture and food begging to be caught and eaten.
Do Indoor Plants Attract Cockroaches
In general, cockroaches are not searching for indoor plants specifically. Cockroaches are more interested in dark, moist spots where they can easily hide and potentially lay their eggs. Indoor plants do provide opportunities, which is why you may find some roaches amongst your houseplants.
Do Indoor Plants Attract Mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes don’t require plants to survive, so just because you have indoor plants in your home doesn’t mean mosquitoes will come.
Where houseplants will become attractive to mosquitoes, is if there are stagnant pools of water available for female mosquitoes to lay their eggs. Places like a pebble tray or water sitting on top of your soil are perfect places for mosquito larvae to hatch and grow.
Do Houseplants Attract Fruit Flies?
The good news is houseplants do not attract fruit flies. As their name suggests, fruit flies are after rotting food or sugary drinks. So, if you see fruit flies sitting on your plants, it is likely they have just had their fill of food and have retreated to the plants for safety and protection.
Do Succulents Attract Bugs?
Succulent plants don’t actively attract bugs. It is the environment and soil that will attract the bugs. If your growing medium is too wet and moist, insects like fungus gnats will lay eggs in the soil. Once you have a few generations of fungus gnats in your succulent soil, you will have an infestation which is hard to control.
Final Thoughts on Do Indoor Plants Attract Bugs
Yes, indoor plants can attract bugs to your home. But, there are a few techniques you can learn to control your pest outbreak and prevent them from attacking your plants in the future.
Check out these pest control guides to make your bug problem disappear: