Pest control for indoor plants | The Great Indoors | Gardening Australia

Pests and diseases are a part of nature, so it’s likely you’ll come across some on your indoor plants, but there are plenty of options for controlling them before they become a serious problem.

Mealybugs are tiny, white parasitic insects about 1-2mm long. They gather together in clumps that look like balls of fluff, particularly in the leaf axils (where leaf meets stem) and on the underside of leaves. They suck the sap out of the plant, eventually causing stunted growth or even death.

If you only have a few, dab methylated spirits directly onto the bugs with a cotton bud. If you have an infestation, thoroughly spray the plant all over with neem oil, and repeat in 7 days.

Scale have a smooth oval shape shell that can be white, black, or brown. They also suck the sap from plants and multiply quickly. Spray thoroughly with white oil, to suffocate and kill the scale. The hard outer shells can also remain stuck to plant after the bugs die off so you can lightly wiping down the leaves can also help.

Spider mites are tiny but have couple of tell-tale signs – webbing on the underside of leaves or discolouration along the leaf edges. An entire leaf may die off if the mites take hold. They dislike moisture, so wash down the leaves of your plants and soak the soil to remove both adults and eggs, disrupting their breeding cycle.

Don’t leave the soil damp for too long though, or you’ll leave it vulnerable to fungus gnats!

Fungus gnats are a small, black flying insect that hover around the surface of pots. They are not harmful to the plant, but letting the soil dry out between watering will help reduce their numbers. Alternatively, mix up 1 part peroxide to 4 parts water in a watering can and drench the soil until it’s running out the bottom.

Fungal infections such as rust are common on plants with big leathery leaves like monsteras and philodendrons, identifiable by rusty brown marks on the underside of leaves. Other culprits are those that leave sunken or wet brown patches on the edges of leaves. These can all be treated with organic fungicides to prevent further infections.

The best way to minimise these issues is to stop them coming in the front door in the first place! Choose plants carefully, checking the undersides of leaves and in the crown of the plants where bugs and their tracks are likely to be found. There’s no failsafe way to prevent pests and diseases though, so keep an eye on your plant babies and be ready to defend them!

Filmed on Boon Wurrung & Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Country

See the latest content from Gardening Australia as it goes live by hitting subscribe:
Watch Gardening Australia on ABC iview:

About Gardening Australia:
Gardening Australia is an ABC TV program providing gardening know-how and inspiration. Presented by Australia’s leading horticultural experts, Gardening Australia is a valuable resource to all gardeners through the television program, the magazine, books, DVDs and extensive online content.

Connect with other Gardening Australia fans:
Like Gardening Australia on Facebook:
Follow Gardening Australia on Instagram:
Visit the Gardening Australia website:

This is an official Australian Broadcasting Corporation YouTube channel.
Contributions may be removed if they violate ABC’s Online Conditions of Use (Section 3).


  1. How to get rid of thrips ? I got rid most of them but they are still showing up from time to time. To me they are the worse pests

  2. Hi Craig
    I love your ideas and how you display your babies. Could you please tell me how you make the plant poles..
    Thanks jill

  3. That mix to kill the fungus gnats has never worked for me. I would love to find a better solution.

  4. Hi- it was a light bulb moment when you mentioned the peroxide cure for fungus gnats but what is the peroxide concentration to use- 3%,6% or greater ?

  5. Hey.. First of all i have watched enough guys who have indoor plant and for sure you rank above and beyond… But i haven't seen any athurium plant…or do you? Do tell

  6. I'm wondering if fungus gnats are 'bad'. If their larvae eat fungus how can that be unwelcome? Is not this only a recycling of the bark etc?

  7. Thank you. Enjoy listening to you about your plants and the management. Sending love to you and your babies😘😁🇦🇺

  8. This is probably the best insect remedy information that I have come across. Thank you much!

  9. Is there any homemade recipe for organic fungicides? Else which one do I get from bunnings please? Thank you.

  10. Hello from Bendigo!
    If someone knows the video how to take care the Epipremnum Aureum – Devil's Ivy please text me back. It is wonderful if can find out the video of him . I tried to find out him in Instagram. Could not see him .

  11. I have worms I noticed on top the soil for my monstera. Wondering if this means I probably need to ditch the soil and repot it fresh? Great video and thank you!

  12. From my experience with spider mites the easiest way to get rid of them is to use a single or a couple of releases of predatory mites , they eat the eggs and the spider mites as well as out breeding them , once the mites are gone they leave as well no mess no fuss , it’s not a over night thing but it does work , as for the other really annoying pest fungus gnats there’s a product call (BTI granular biological control agent) you just sprinkling it onto the top soil and mix it in, then when the baby gnats eat it , they die it breaks there breeding cycle and you get the problem under control pretty quickly , also a anti gnat barrier on the top layer can stop them getting in and laying eggs, hope this helps

  13. Spider mites 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬 very frustrating little critters but definitely still worth it to have beautiful indoor plants

  14. Hi all !
    I would like to buy the book of him . If someone know his website please text me back . Thanks in advance.

  15. I felt like a true indoor plant hoarder when I discovered spider mites on my Syngonium. Managed to save the plant after spraying well with a neem oil solution

  16. Very good information I'm a parent plant beginner. This going to help me to take care of my 40 plants. Thanks a lot 👍👌💚

  17. Thanks very much . Looking for this man again and again . Great video all the time .

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.