If you have been watering the plants as instructed and doing everything you can to make them thrive, yet they still look half dead, perhaps it is time to check for signs of parasites that might be living off of them. Most parasites that live on plants are easy to spot, but others not so.
Here are the parasites that you need to watch out for.
- Aphids. They appear in different colors and cause growth distortion in plants. As sson as you see signs, wash the plant with insecticidal soap, neem oil, pyrethrins, or permethrin.
- Thrips. You can only see them as threads on the infected plant. They feed on the flowers and leaves which cause splotches and streaks on the leaves and distorted flowers. You can wash them off from the affected plants using permethrin, pyrethrins, or disulfoton.
- Mealybugs. They look like cotton and feed on the stems and leaves of the plants. You can remove them by washing the plant with pyrethrins, permethrin or disulfoton.
- Springtails. These grayish insects feed on the roots of plants especially when the soil is damp. To avoid these, make sure to let the plant soil dry thoroughly before the next watering.
- Scale Insects. An infestation will turn the leaves yellow and result in stunted growth plant. If you look closely at the underside of the leaves, you will notice gray or brown bumps that might move. You can remove scale insects by spraying with permethrin, bifenthrin, plant oil extract, or insecticidal soap. Some gardeners add a drop of liquid detergent soap to remove the waxy covers of the insects.
- Fungus Gnats. They do not cause a lot of damage but if you see gnats that look like fruit flies, make sure to water your plants properly and let them dry before the next watering.
- Whiteflies. These are common in greenhouses and are found on the underside of the leaves of plants. They cause the leaves to turn yellow, but not enough to kill the plant. You can get rid of them by washing the infected plant with neem oil, pyrethrin, or permethrin.
- Cyclamen Mites. These can be very hard to detect because they are small. They cause the leaves, flowers, and buds to turn black and deformed. At first, the injured plant will have brittle and stunted leaves, so remove the infected plants as soon as possible.
- Spider Mites. If left untreated, an infected plant can die from spider mites. They can cause the most damage out of all the parasites on this list but they are very difficult to see. If you notice mottled and discolored underside of the leaves, wash the plant with plant oil extracts, bifenthrin or insecticidal soap right away.
- Leafminers. These are worms of the small flies that can cause plants to look as if they are soaked through with water. The effects might not be noticeable, but over time the leaves will appear speckled. The best way to get rid of them is to remove the leaves that show signs of any damage.
When washing and applying pesticides, make sure to read the label and follow the instructions to the letter to avoid killing the plants.