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Do Spider Plants Attract Bugs?

Do Spider Plants Attract Bugs? Let’s Find Out

Do spider plants attract bugs and how can you eliminate these bugs to ensure they don’t destroy your plants? Typically, when we refer to a “spider plant” we will assume you mean Chlorophytum comosum. There is a reason that we use scientific names for plants and that is actually because common names are really confusing.

One person’s spider plant can be the next person’s hen and chickens – and we find that after ten minutes we are talking about the same plant but a different name. Another useful tip, if you are evaluating information quality on the internet is if you find a writer who does not italicize a species name – don’t even bother to read the article. If they do not know this simple convention, the chances are they know nothing else either.

Read more to find out about “spider plants” and bugs.

Some Facts About Spider Plants – Do Spider Plants Attract Bugs?
Do Indoor Plants Attract Bugs?
Do Indoor Plants Attract Bugs?

  • The spider plant is a tropical flowering plant, that is native to central and southern Africa growing in the bush and scrub forests. I have seen it in gallery forests in the Congo too.
  • This plant is adapted to be able to tolerate low light conditions and periods of low precipitation. It consequently makes an excellent house plant.
  • It is known to be an excellent houseplant, that can tolerate low light conditions, high humidity, and high temperatures.
  • They can grow in water, but will usually do better with a soil-based potting medium.
  • The spider plant is also very easy to care for and can be kept in a variety of different types of containers, including hanging baskets.
  • Spider plants are ideal for beginners who want to grow their own houseplants.
  • Spider plants are easy to grow and are known for tolerating low light conditions, high humidity, and high temperatures.
  • They can be kept in a variety of different types of containers.

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What Can Cause Plants to Become Attractive to Bug Pests?

The concept of a “bug” is a bit of a problem. You get a lot of things that people call “bugs”. I am going to assume that by “bug” you were worried about some pest. You could also find that “bugs” could refer to insects of spiders that are just living in your spider plant because it provides a nice place to hide – these insects could actually be beneficial in that they eat “bugs” that harm the plant.

In terms of insect pests on plants, it is important to understand that an unhealthy plant becomes a pest magnet. This is because the plant is weak. Plants convert energy from light into sugar – this sugar allows them to absorb salts from the soil, and build chemicals that allow them to grow and defend themselves.

If a plant has insufficient light, it therefore will produce insufficient sugar, and absorb insufficient salts from the soil. If you take a sample of leaf juice and extract it, you can measure the amount of sugar and salts in the juice with a nominal unit of Brix. A healthy plant would have a Brix of say 12. A very healthy plant maybe 16. An unhealthy plant could be as low as 6. 

Pests such as whitefly, aphids, thrips, mealie bugs, etc all love a plant that has a low Brix. They actually tend to die if they try to drink sap from a plant with a Brix over 12. In many of the businesses that I consult in, I help growers get their sap Brix above 12 to ensure they have fewer pest problems.

Do Spider Plants Attract Bugs?

Spider plants are one of the most popular indoor houseplants and for good reason. They grow very quickly, and they have a variety of interesting and attractive foliage. Their leaves tend to be bright green with variegated yellow veins. These plants survive in nature in relatively harsh conditions, and hence for us as humans, we can neglect them a bit and they thrive.

But just because spider plants are easy to care for doesn’t mean that they don’t have any problems. Often, if a plant is exposed to shorter day lengths and colder soil, it can struggle to maintain its leaf Brix levels in winter. The most common problem with stressed spider plants is that they’re prone to mealybugs and whiteflies. Mealybugs are soft, furry insects that look like a ball of white fluff with squishy stuff inside. Whiteflies are just that – small white insects that fly.

How To Eliminate Bugs On Spider Plants

Both mealybugs and whiteflies can cause a lot of damage to spider plants. But fortunately, both of these pests are easy to control.

Spider plant mealybugs

Mealybugs tend to often be accompanied by ants. Ants will sometimes farm them. If you find you have mealy bugs you tend to need to get rid of the ants that are farming them too.

Mealybugs are very soft, and they tend to be very sticky. This means that they’re difficult to get off of your houseplant without scratching it up. If you have the time you can go along with your fingers and just squish them, but it takes a while. 

To control mealybugs, you need to spray your houseplant with some sort of insecticide. You can use any type of insecticide, but I prefer to use one that’s specifically labeled for spider plants. Imidacloprid is a systemic neonicotinoid pesticide that can be used for treating indoor plants. A formulation such as this one is designed for such treatments. I personally would prefer to gnaw my arm off at the elbow than to have this stuff in my house.

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Do Spider Plants Attract Bugs? Let's Find Out

Spider Plant Whiteflies – Do Spider Plants Attract Bugs?

Whiteflies are small insects that are very common in the United States. They’re often associated with tomato plants, but they’ll also feed on a variety of other plants. If you see whiteflies in your spider plant, you should take action right away.

You can use insecticides to control the whiteflies. The most common insecticide for spider plants is imidacloprid. This insecticide works by interfering with the nervous system of the whitefly, making it unable to move and eat.

Organic Ways Of Eliminating Spider Plant Bugs

There are several organic ways to eliminate whiteflies and mealybugs.  They include:

  • Spray a mixture of neem oil and water onto the spider plant leaves.
  • Collect old cigarette stubs and boil them to make a stinky tea. Use an old quart pot, add a teaspoon of detergent and boil for an hour. Allow it to steep overnight. Boil again for an hour. Strain. Place this in a sprayer bottle. Nicotine is a great pesticide. Keep this liquid away from kids – it will kill them if they drink it.
  •  Spider plant bugs can also be controlled with sprays made from other essential oils such as thyme oil. My advice – stick with neem oil.

Increasing Lead Brix to Keep Pests Away Once You Have Treated Your Plants

Light

Ensure your plants have at least 10 hours of some sort of light – if needed add a bit of supplemental light.

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Nutrients

Remember that Brix in leaves is a function of light for photosynthesis (making sugar) and salts absorbed from the soil. If your soil is dead, lights will not help. These little fertilizer sticks can help.

Summary – Do Spider Plants Attract Bugs?

So do spider plants attract bugs?  Unhealthy spider plants can become infested with pests. Eliminate the pests and improve the conditions for the plant and it will be disease-free. The spider plant is a darling to every plant lover as it grows easily and has lovely foliage. It’s a wonderful addition to any garden. Spider plants are easy to grow and require minimal care.

FAQ’s

What insects are attracted to spider plants?

I have found that if my spider plants get a bit run down in winter they can sometimes get whitefly and mealy bug infestations. These are easy to treat, and if you give the plants treatment, light and nutrients they will be fine.

How do I get rid of little bugs on my spider plant?

You can go the artifical route and use an Imidacloprid class insecticide, or you can go the "natural" route and use something like a formulated neem oil spray. If you improve light supply and nutrients to your plant it should be resistant to pest outbreaks

What do spider plants repel?

I have no idea what they repel. As a kid I used to play amongst these plants in the wild, and can assure you that they are normally full of interesting bugs and spiders. I think if anybody tells you spider plants repel bugs and spiders they may have smoked something.

Can you spray a spider plant?

Yes. I often take my pot plants that have spider plants growing under them, and put them outside and just hose them down. This serves two purposes - it makes the leaves pretty and it washes pests away. If you do end up with an overgrowth of some insect pest, you can spray the plant with a formulated neem oil spray, or some chemical pesticide should you wish to poison your environment.

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