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Do Indoor Plants Attract Bugs? How to Keep Pests Away (2023)

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do plants attract bugs to your homeYou love having houseplants around, but have you ever wondered if they attract bugs? The short answer is yes—indoor plants can draw in pests. But it’s not inevitable. By understanding which plants bugs like and how to discourage them, you can keep your home foliage pest-free.

Certain types of bugs are more attracted to particular houseplants. For example, spider mites love ivy, while mealybugs tend to target orchids. High humidity encourages fungus gnats, and still air invites whiteflies. You can make your plants less appealing by watering properly, increasing air circulation, and inspecting regularly.

Better yet, choose plants like ZZ, calathea, or sansevieria that repel pests naturally.

A few simple precautions will let you enjoy the beauty and benefits of houseplants without the bugs.

Key Takeaways

  • Overwatering and warm, humid conditions with poor ventilation attract pests to plants.
  • Bright light also provides food that pests seek.
  • Inspecting new plants and quarantining them before bringing them indoors can prevent pest infestations.
  • Using pest-repelling plants like ZZ, calathea, and sansevieria, as well as citronella, catnip, chrysanthemums, garlic, mint, and thyme can help deter pests.

Reasons Plants Attract Bugs

Reasons Plants Attract Bugs
You’ve gotta be careful what plants you bring in ’cause certain ones’ll draw pests that could infest your whole place.

Some plants like ferns and peace lilies thrive in humidity and attract more bugs looking for food and water.

Keeping plants too close together decreases air flow, so space them out and use humidity sensors and circulating fans to prevent ideal bug conditions.

Always thoroughly inspect new plants and isolate those infested to avoid spread.

Use beneficial insects or pest traps rather than toxins for natural control.

Keeping windows and doors sealed prevents entry from outside.

Stay vigilant in monitoring plants and take action quickly at the first signs of bugs before they get out of hand.

With preventative care and early intervention, you can enjoy the beauty of plants without letting pests overrun your home.

Types of Bugs Attracted to Indoor Plants

Types of Bugs Attracted to Indoor Plants
Always inspect any new plants thoroughly before bringing them into your home, as they can contain tiny pests that love indoor environments. Common bugs to check for include fungus gnats, whose larvae feast on moist soil and damage roots; thrips that spread disease and chew holes in leaves; aphids that secrete growth-stunting sap as they feed; mealybugs that leave sticky honeydew and promote mold growth; and spider mites that spin fine webs and cause stippling damage on foliage.

Be vigilant about keeping such pests outdoors where they belong to avoid infestations attacking your indoor plants.

Fungus Gnats

Unfortunately, those annoying little flies buzzing around your plants are fungus gnats. Their larvae live in moist soil, feeding on decaying matter and damaging delicate roots. Adults don’t harm plants directly but are a nuisance. Let the soil dry between waterings and use yellow sticky traps to catch and monitor these pests.

Natural predators like nematodes or Bti can help control fungus gnat infestations without chemicals. With vigilance, you can get rid of fungus gnats while keeping your plants healthy.


Thrips’ tiny piercing mouthparts can ruin your precious plants. These winged insects embed in leaves, buds, and flowers to feed. Their rasping and sucking damage and distort growth. Thrips spread nasty plant viruses as they move between plants.

Check for silvery spots and black dots of excrement. Isolate and prune affected parts immediately. Apply insecticidal soap or neem oil thoroughly. Sticky traps catch thrips, too. Avoid overwatering and promote air circulation to deter thrips from attacking your plants.


Aphids’ juicy feasting stunts growth, so you’d better isolate and spray the suckers before they spread their plague. These soft green pests consume sap, secreting honeydew that promotes sooty mold. Tackling infestations through integrated pest management is key: letting soil dry between waterings, improving airflow, using yellow sticky traps, and applying insecticidal soap or neem oil sprays.

Save your grape ivy and Venus flytrap by treating aphids before they reproduce out of control.


Ya know, those cottony critters called mealybugs are just hitchin’ a ride on your new fern to chow down on its juicy sap and secrete sticky honeydew everywhere.

Mealybugs are near impossible to fully get rid of once an infestation starts. Their sugary honeydew secretions attract more pests like ants. These sap-sucking bugs thrive in warm, humid environments. They damage plants by sucking out nutrients from leaves and stems.

Mealybugs adore feasting on tropical houseplants, but can be deterred by choosing resistant varieties like lemongrass, snake plant, peace lily, Cissus coleus blumei, or Chinese evergreen.

Spider Mites

Looky here, y’all get spider mites making webs and holes in leaves like Casper the friendly ghost. Manage humidity and improve air circulation around plants to control these pests. Minimize plant stress and regularly treat with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil sprays.

Isolate infested plants to prevent spread. Grow resistant plants like cast iron plant to deter spider mites inhabiting your indoor garden.

Growing Conditions That Attract Houseplant Pests

Growing Conditions That Attract Houseplant Pests
Warm, humid conditions with little air circulation provide the perfect environment for common houseplant pests to thrive in your home. A lack of space between plants restricts air movement, allowing humidity to accumulate from daily watering.

Areas without windows or doors also suffer from stagnant, moist air that attracts bugs looking for food and shelter. With just a few adjustments to your indoor growing conditions, you can help deter pests and keep your plants healthy.

High Humidity

You’ll get more pests if you keep your plants in steamy rooms without enough airflow. High humidity from poor ventilation attracts pests looking for food, shelter, and breeding grounds. Open windows, use fans, dehumidifiers to lower moisture, and increase airflow around plants.

Drier conditions make life harder for bugs, while good airflow disrupts pests and limits damage. Control humidity without harming your plants by monitoring conditions and adjusting ventilation options.

Lack of Air Circulation

Beans, those houseplants crammed together in a corner far from windows, invite pesky critters craving cozy digs inside your pad.

Lack of space between plants decreases air circulation, creating a humid microclimate bugs love. Increase ventilation. Change plant placement. Improve plant spacing. Open windows regularly.

Common Bugs on Indoor Plants

Common Bugs on Indoor Plants
Infestations of insects like scale and whitefly can turn your indoor oasis into a buggy nightmare. Though they may seem harmless at first, these sneaky pests reproduce rapidly and can quickly overrun your plants.

Identifying and treating them early is key to protecting your green friends and preventing an invasion of your home.


Scales are armored bugs that latch onto houseplant stems and leaves to siphon sap, stunting growth like a deer munching a garden. These temperamental pests thrive in a suboptimal environment, requiring chemical treatment or lightweight predators like ladybugs for control.

Sticky tape traps can monitor scale populations. Regular inspection and maintenance keep your plants, and home, pest-free.


Suppose those annoying moth-looking whiteflies are giving your plants grief by stunting their growth. Those pesky flies breed fast in warm, humid spots. Isolate infested plants immediately so the bugs don’t spread.

Use yellow sticky cards for trapping and monitoring. Spray infested plants with insecticidal soap or neem oil for treatment. Increase ventilation and let soil dry between waterings to make your home less hospitable to whiteflies.

How to Prevent Bugs From Being Attracted to Your Indoor Plants

How to Prevent Bugs From Being Attracted to Your Indoor Plants
You’ve likely noticed that certain houseplants tend to attract more insects and pests. This is often due to three key factors that provide what bugs need – moisture, light, and food. Overwatering raises humidity levels as water evaporates from the soil, creating ideal moist conditions for fungus gnats, aphids, and other pests.

Bright light near windows and doors provides warmth and light that pests seek out. Plus, juicy, soft plant leaves and stems are an irresistible food source for sap-sucking insects like mealybugs and aphids.

Managing these three elements can help deter bugs from infesting your indoor plants.


Let’s avoid excessive moisture, friend. Overwatering increases humidity and attracts bugs. Keep an eye on soil moisture levels with humidity monitors. Improve drainage systems and use moisture measurement tools to identify overwatering conditions before pests invade.


You’re just asking for pests by keeping your plants too close to windows. Pests constantly seek out optimal lighting and ample nutrients to thrive. If you overexpose plants to sunlight, they’ll produce excess sugars that attract sap-sucking insects.

Provide just enough light to maintain plant health without triggering a pest feeding frenzy. Let nature’s predators like ladybugs or beneficial nematodes keep pests under control through integrated pest management.


Your ferns’ thirst attracts gnats like moths to a flame. Providing information about pest lifecycles deprives them of the food they crave. Instead, establish native habitats with organic sprays, biological controls, and natural predators.

Best Indoor Plants That Resist Pests

Best Indoor Plants That Resist Pests
Choose sturdy, slick-leaved plants like sansevieria or Chinese evergreen to deter pests from invading your home’s greenery. Opt for sansevieria, also called snake plants, which thrive in bright indirect light and have tough, succulent leaves that repel most insects.

Grow citronella geraniums, whose strong scent deters whiteflies, aphids, and fungus gnats. Improve airflow by placing oscillating fans in stagnant areas to prevent pests from settling in.

When bringing outdoor plants inside, meticulously inspect leaves, stems, and soil for signs of bugs before introducing them. Seal cracks around doors and windows with caulk to barricade entry points spiders and other crawlers use to access your indoor jungle.

Worst Indoor Plants for Attracting Bugs

Worst Indoor Plants for Attracting Bugs
Avoid ferns and peace lily if ya don’t want bugs crawlin’ all over. These plants are notorious for attractin’ pests indoors.

  1. Require high humidity. Wet soil and air attracts fungus gnats, aphids.
  2. Delicate foliage. Makes them easy targets for mites, thrips, whiteflies.
  3. Lack natural defenses. Don’t produce oils or scents to repel insects.
  4. Grow densely. Poor air circulation lets populations explode.

Regularly check ’em over for signs of bugs. And keep conditions dry – don’t overwater. Consider replacing with low-maintenance plants like snake plant or pothos. They resist pests way better. Just take care where ya place any new plants. Inspect thoroughly and quarantine if needed.

Tips on Prevention & Minimizing Damage From Houseplant Bugs

Tips on Prevention & Minimizing Damage From Houseplant Bugs
Hustle to inspect new plants thoroughly before bringing ’em home to nip bugs in the bud.

Peep these 5 ways to intercept pests before they infest your happy home:

  1. Quarantine new plants for a couple weeks and monitor closely for signs of bugs.
  2. Check under leaves with a magnifier and shake plants over paper to spot creepy crawlies.
  3. Spray down plants with a strong stream of water and wipe leaves to flush out hitchhikers.
  4. Repot plants in fresh, sterile soil to prevent transferring soil bugs indoors.
  5. Treat plants preventatively with insecticidal soap baths before introducing to your home herd.

Sealing entry points like windows and doors deters pests seeking food and shelter.

Strategically place plants like citronella and lavender to naturally repel invaders.

Vigilance and plant hygiene safeguard your green thumb kingdom from bug baddies.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What natural pest deterrents can I use for my indoor plants besides synthetic pesticides?

Comfort-loving fungus gnats will flee for the hills when you aggressively let the soil dry between waterings. Savage mite swarms surrender when blasted by mighty jets of water. Aphid armies retreat from aromatic citronella and pungent garlic sprays.

Diligent pest monitoring with handy sticky traps lets you ambush invaders early. With vigilance and these non-toxic weapons, you can win the battle against pests without risky pesticides.

Should I get rid of my indoor plants if I can’t get rid of the bugs?

Getting rid of plants should be a last resort. Try less invasive measures first, such as using natural sprays, showering plants, and isolating infested ones. With diligence and preventative care, most infestations can be managed without sacrificing your garden.

How often should I check my plants for pests?

You’ve got pest problems – how often do you check? Ideally, inspect plants thoroughly once a week or more. Examine leaves, stems, and undersides for bugs, webs, or damage. Look closely with a magnifying glass.

Consistent checks allow early detection and rapid response before pests spread and destroy your plants.

What’s the best way to quarantine a new plant before bringing it inside with my other plants?

Keep new plants isolated outdoors or in a separate room for a few weeks. Inspect them thoroughly for bugs during this quarantine before introducing them to your indoor collection.

Are there any plants that actually repel or deter pests instead of just being resistant to them?

Yes, there are a few plants that can help repel pests. Grow citronella, catnip, chrysanthemums, garlic, mint, or thyme. Their strong scents deter bugs looking for an easy plant host. However, also be vigilant about monitoring all plants for signs of infestation.


You have the power to keep pests away from your indoor plants. Be vigilant about moisture, light, and food sources that attract bugs. Choose resistant plants, limit humidity, and increase air circulation. Inspect new plants and discard any that become infested.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to minimizing damage from houseplant bugs.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.