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It can be discouraging if you notice bugs eating away on your beloved pothos plant. Luckily, this problem can easily be fixed if you know why the bugs target your Pothos, what the symptoms and damages could be, and how to prevent it.
Does Pothos attract bugs? While a healthy pothos plant is highly unlikely to attract any harmful pests or bugs, unhealthy, weak, or sick Pothos can be susceptible to bugs. Other factors that can contribute to attracting bugs to your Pothos include high humidity and wet conditions, as well as poor aeration.
Why Does My Pothos Have Bugs?
There are several reasons why your pothos plant may have bugs. Factors such as high humidity, wet conditions, over-fertilization, and poor ventilation can be the reasons why your Pothos has bugs.
Below are all the reasons your Pothos plant may have bugs:
A too wet and humid environment are two of the biggest attractions of common pothos bugs and bests. Most of these bugs have soft and small bodies, which means that these bugs need a lot of moisture around them.
If they do not have enough moisture, they will dry out and die. Too high humidity conditions will take place in areas prone to moisture and humid areas, such as bathrooms.
Overwatering your Pothos and keeping it in standing water can also create too high moisture and humidity. Insufficient and poor aeration and crowded plants may also cause the situation to worsen.
Most of the pests seem to have some sort of 6th sense for navigating towards wet conditions. As we mentioned, these pests crave moisture to keep themselves from drying out and dying.
This is why they will always try to seek out any wet foliage where they can live. Wet conditions will also cause your Pothos’s leaves and roots to rot, along with other diseases that can weaken, harm, and even kill your plant.
Usually, if your Pothos is unhealthy or sick, it will be especially susceptible and vulnerable to pest infestations. Too much moisture will always be bad news for your Pothos, especially if it is still during the early stages of growth.
Wet or waterlogged soil is like a magnet to fungus gnats that feed on growing rootlets. This will ultimately result in stunted growth, which allows other bugs to attack your Pothos.
Your best possible option would be to avoid overhead watering. Never allow your Pothos to stand in water or expose it to excess humid conditions. Also, don’t forget that most bugs go through moist soil at some stages of their lifecycle.
Overfertilization Of Your Pothos
You may think that providing your pothos plant with large amounts of frequent fertilizer is a way to encourage them to grow more rapidly.
However, this is not a good idea at all! Large doses of nitrogen, which is often a component in fertilizer, will cause your Pothos to develop much weaker and thinner foliage that will be more susceptible to bugs and pests.
Ideally, you would want to fertilize your Pothos only once in two to three months during its active growth period, which takes place in early spring to late summer.
Be sure that you use well-balanced water or liquid-soluble fertilizer that is suitable for any type of houseplant. Dilute up to half of the recommended concentration before you apply it to your Pothos.
Areas With Poor Ventilation
Sufficient air circulation is one of the most crucial things you have to provide for your Pothos to encourage robust growth and the overall health of your Pothos.
Good aeration will also help to keep the humidity levels low enough and thus to prevent any pests or bugs from thriving in your plant.
When focusing on the ventilation, you need to keep in mind that aeration will increase the drying of your leaves and soil, which keeps any fungal growth at bay.
Poor ventilation will usually happen if you keep your Pothos closer to each other, which makes it very easy for pests to hop from one plant to the other.
Common Bugs That Attack Pothos
There are a few common bugs that will target your Pothos and do severe damage if it is not prevented.
Below is a list of the bugs, how they can attack and damage your Pothos, along with what you can do to prevent them:
Aphids On Pothos Plants
In simple terms, Aphids are every plant lover’s worst nightmare! Aphids are small, soft-bodied, pear-shaped bugs that can either be wingless or winged. They can either be yellow, white, red, or black in color.
Green aphids can be the most difficult to spot, as they can easily camouflage themselves on the bright leaves of your Pothos. Aphids will suck the sap out of your Pothos’ new tender foliage.
This will result in any new leaves being distorted, shriveled, crinkled, and can even stunt the growth.
Your Pothos’s leaves can even become wilted and yellow in color. These tiny bugs could be very difficult to spot when they’re on their own, but they can be easily identified when they are grouped in a cluster.
You will notice they’re clustering when the infestation escalates. Remember, one or two aphids feasting on the stem or leaves of your Pothos will not do much damage. However, the most significant problem with aphids is their ability to reproduce so quickly.
A few aphid bugs can very rapidly turn into a whole colony that will overwhelm and harm your Pothos if you leave it untreated.
Aphids will commonly form a white colony that is formed on the underside of your Pothos’ leaves.
They can quickly fly or crawl from one houseplant to another, which can mean chaos if you have a few plants in your household.
How To Prevent Aphids From Attacking Your Pothos Plants
If you want to prevent aphids on your Pothos, it is crucial that you regularly inspect your Pothos and any other plant that you have.
By regularly inspecting your Pothos, you will be able to catch any infestations in the beginning and control them more effectively and easily.
It is also advised that you isolate any newly acquired plants for roughly two to three weeks to limit introducing any pests to any other plants you may have.
Be sure not to bring any plants indoors during the fall, as it is another way of introducing aphids to your Pothos and other indoor plants.
Scale Insects On Pothos Plants
Scale insects are tiny, flat bugs that love to suck the sap out of the stems and foliage of your Pothos. They are usually oval or circular shaped, and there are actually several different types of scales that can affect your pothos plant.
They all start out as crawlers, and they will usually target the underside and joints of your Pothos’ leaves. Once they have found the ideal feeding spot, they will no longer move, and they will form hard, oval brown shells that often look like bark.
Scale insects will severely damage your pothos plant if you leave the situation untreated and can cause the leaves of your Pothos to turn yellow and stunted because the scales suck out vital plant sap.
Leaves and stems can also die, and you may notice some ants and mold since scales secrete honeydew. The foliage of your Pothos can become pale, and your whole plant can quickly become droopy, sickly, and even withered.
How To Prevent Scale Insects From Attacking Your Pothos Plants
Scales love high humidity and moisture conditions, so you can prevent them from infesting your Pothos by moving your Pothos to warmer areas during the colder months.
Spider Mites On Pothos Plants
Spider mites are so small and can be labeled as microscopic pests. You are unable to see them with the naked eye. Spider mites are very distant relatives to spiders, so they will spin small, delicate webs under the foliage or corners of your pothos’ leaves or stems.
Spider mites may look like tiny dots moving around to your naked eye. However, spider mites are actually brown or red in color. During the early stages of spider mite infestation, they will start as tiny yellow or brown spots.
If left untreated, you will notice the leaves turning completely yellow due to the heavy spider mite infestation. Your leaves can even shrivel and ultimately fall off, with slowed, stunted, or distorted growth.
How To Prevent Spider Mites From Attacking Your Pothos Plants
Luckily, you can easily prevent a spider mite infestation by sterilizing frequently. Keep the area clean before every new growing cycle of your Pothos. Be sure to use a plant-friendly room cleaner and disinfectant.
It will also be beneficial if you take your own cuttings whenever you can. Never take cuttings from other people, as they could carry spider mites.
If you do decide to use somebody else’s cuttings, isolate and treat each cutting individually before putting it into your grow room or near your other indoor plants.
It would also help to use insect traps for the early identification of pests. Using insect traps will also reduce the chances of any pests coming into contact with your Pothos.
Additionally, always check yourself! Spider mites are very fond of catching rides on you, your hair, or even your clothes.
If you tend to often go to places where there are lots of plants, such as parks and plant nurseries, be sure to take a shower and change into clean clothes before entering your grow room or area where you keep your Pothos.
Gnats On Pothos Plants
When it comes to fungus gnats, you should be overly cautious and vigilant. Fungus gnats are known as opportunistic pests that will invade your Pothos if it has become weakened or heavily diseased.
You will be able to see them quite easily with the naked eye, and usually, after sap-sucking, insects such as mealybugs leave honeydew on your plant’s leaves. Gnats will thrive in the top of your soil, usually in the top two to three inches.
They eat fungi, decaying materials, and the roots of your Pothos. Adult fungus gnats are very tiny, and their looks can be compared to mosquito-like insects. Gnats look like grayish or blackish mosquito-like flies, to be exact.
They will scatter and fly all around your Pothos if you disturb them. They will cause your Pothos to grow poorly and slowly, and they may cause the leaves to wilt and turn yellow in color.
How To Prevent Gnats From Attacking Your Pothos Plants
You can prevent fungus gnats by avoiding giving your Pothos too much water, as neither fungus gnats nor their eggs are able to survive in dry soil.
Therefore, it would be best to let the soil around your Pothos dry out completely between waterings as often as you possibly can.
Another way to avoid gnats on your Pothos is to water them from the bottom. Watering your Pothos from the bottom will help the topsoil to stay dry while still keeping your plants happy and hydrated!
Remember, the topsoil is where the gnats lay their eggs, so keeping the topsoil dry will kill the eggs!
Lastly, you can store any excess potting soil in an airtight container. If you keep your extra potting soil in the bag it originally comes in, fungus gnats see it as a clear invitation to go in and lay their eggs.
However, their eggs need oxygen to survive, so placing soil in an airtight container such as a bucket with a tight-fitting lid will keep any gnat larvae at bay.
How Do I Get Rid Of Bugs On My Pothos?
Lucky for you and your dear Pothos, there are some easy steps you can take to get rid of bugs in your Pothos.
Let’s take a closer look together at all the different pests in Pothos and what you can do to get rid of them:
To get rid of aphids, you can make a homemade aphid spray by mixing a few tablespoons of pure liquid soap in a tiny bucket of water. Try to avoid using products or detergents with moisturizers and degreasers.
You can apply your mix with a spray bottle directly on the aphids as well as the affected parts of your Pothos, making sure that you soak the undersides of the leaves as well. This is where the aphids lay their eggs and larvae.
The soap will completely dissolve the protective outer layer of the aphids as well as other soft-bodies pests, ultimately killing them.
Your spray will not harm any hard bodies beneficial insects, such as bees. It is also harmless to other animals. You can also purchase ready-made insecticidal soaps online or at your local nursery.
The safest and most effective way to control scale insects would be by using a horticultural oil spray. These types of insecticides contain oils in a form that will mix well with water.
When you mix the solution correctly and spray it onto a scale-infested plant, the oil will coat the scale insects and clog their breathing pores. Then, the insects are suffocated rather than being killed by toxic materials and components.
For the solution to be most effective, you can apply the oil spray over every inch of the surface of your Pothos.
If the scale insects are underneath the leaves and the oils are only being applied on the surface, unfortunately, it will have no effect on them.
Because scale insects are so challenging to kill, one or two follow-up sprays should be made after the first application. Always remember to carefully follow the instructions on the label carefully.
You can get rid of spider mites by using rubbing alcohol. Any rubbing alcohol you have lying around the house will work to kill spider mites.
You can simply soak some cotton balls in your rubbing alcohol and wipe it across the foliage of your infested Pothos.
You can let the rubbing alcohol sit on your Pothos for a few hours and then rinse it off thoroughly with water.
To get rid of gnats, you can fill a shallow saucer with up to 3 drops of liquid dish soap along with a cup of white vinegar. You can then place the bowl close to your Pothos, and the gnats will be attracted to the solution.
The gnats will then fall into the trap and die. You can keep repeating this process until all the gnats are gone!
You can also choose to make use of yellow sticky traps to catch the adult gnats. These cards can be bought in most gardening shops and are known to be a fast and very successful way to get rid of gnats.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Does An Unhealthy Pothos Look Like?
An unhealthy pothos will have mushy, black-colored roots with yellowing leaves. If you’re looking for the first signs of an unhealthy Pothos, look out for a blend of brown and yellow on the leaves, pest infestations, pale leaves, as well as the leaves falling off.
How Do I Know If My Pothos Has Bugs?
You will know that your Pothos has a bug problem when you notice dark, irregular, and necrotic spots on its leaves. Leaves may also mat together, and your plant may turn brown and eventually die if left untreated.
How Do I Get Rid Of Bugs In My Pothos?
You can use horticultural oil for usual pest infestations and spray it on your Pothos. It will also get rid of almost any other plant bugs. Horticultural oil will block their breathing holes and suffocate them.