Frankie, help! There are bugs on my hibiscus!
Looking to get rid of whiteflies naturally? These small flying insects love to munch on your plants. They feed on the underside of leaves, sucking out the delicious sap, causing them to turn yellow and fall off prematurely.
Whiteflies spread quickly once in your house and can cause a lot of damage. You want to identify and destroy these pests quickly!
The flies often hitch a ride into your home on other plants. Sometimes, when tropical plants are brought in for the winter or on new plants from the garden centre. (Most growers do an excellent job controlling pests to keep their stock healthy, but it happens).
Once on a plant, they lay eggs in the soil, and the cycle continues. They will keep coming if you don’t take steps to get rid of them!
Signs You Have Whiteflies
3 Ways to Get Rid of Whiteflies Naturally
Unfortunately, these little guys can be stubborn! If you are resilient and keep at it, you can come out ahead! Your best line of defence is to treat the leaves and the soil to ensure you are getting both eggs and adults flies.
Discarding old soil gets rid of any whitefly eggs living in the pot. To repot, carefully remove the plant from its container and gently shake off loose dirt around the roots. Wash the container or use a clean one and fill it with fresh soil for a healthy new home.
If you don’t want to change the soil, you can also soak your plant. Fill up a container with lukewarm, soapy water and cover the entire pot and soil. Soak for about 15-20 minutes to drown any insect hitchhikers.
Use a natural soap such as Ivory or regular Sunlight, avoiding anything with antibacterial ingredients or other additives.
You can make a soapy water spray (add 2.5 TBSP of natural liquid dish soap and 2.5 TBSP vegetable oil to 1 gallon of water). Every few days, spray the underside of the foliage and the top of the soil. If you prefer to purchase an insecticidal soap from your garden centre, I like Ortho Bug B Gon Eco.
ORTHO BUG B GON ECO INSECTICIDE CONCENTRATE
We haven’t tried this at Frankie Flowers but have heard whiteflies don’t like worm poop! (Can you blame them?)
Worm castings contain an enzyme called chitinase (KITE-ten-ace) that dissolves chitin. Because whiteflies and other pests are made up of chitin, when the enzyme is sucked up into the plant and the bugs ingest the sap, it kills them.
You can purchase worm castings at your local garden centre and add them to the top half-inch of the soil. If you try it, let us know how it works.
If you notice these little pests, one or more of these tricks should help you get rid of whiteflies naturally, without harsh chemical sprays.
If you have any tips for fighting off garden pests, feel free to share them with us! We love to learn from our gardening community.
Good luck with your whitefly battle!