Dealing with the issues of taking care of plants can be tough, especially when you’re dealing with annoying bugs. One such troublemaker is the spider mite, which can really bug the colorful Calathea. This article gives tips and advice to spot, control, and stop Spider Mites on Calathea, making sure your leafy plants stay healthy and strong. Dive into our complete guide and keep your Calathea colorful, blooming, and mite-free.
About Spider Mites On Calathea
Spider mites are tiny, red or brown insects that are often difficult to see with the naked eye. They are members of the Tetranychus family, which are a big pain for indoor and outdoor plants, like fruit trees, vines, berries, vegetables, and pretty plants. They can be identified by the presence of webbing on the undersides of leaves, as well as by the stippling or discoloration of leaves. Common ones include the Pacific, twospotted, and strawberry spider mites. Despite being tiny, their damage is big and bad.
These mites, who love warm, dry conditions, mess up plants by sucking the sap from the leaves, causing them to change color, wilt, or in bad cases, cause the plant to die. Spider mites also spin a silk webbing, which often covers infested leaves, making it harder for the plant to do photosynthesis and messing up the plant’s good looks.
Spider mites have a four-stage life cycle: egg, larva, nymph, and adult. The entire life cycle can take as little as seven days to complete in ideal conditions. They reproduce really fast, especially in hot, dusty places. They also like plants that don’t get enough water. This quick baby-making means that a generation can be born and grow up in less than a week when things are just right.
During the cold months, some spider mites sleep through the winter as females who have mated in rough bark and ground litter, waking up and laying eggs when it gets warmer. However, if there are a lot of mites, their numbers might drop quickly when there are more predators, the plant gets sick, or the weather gets colder or rainy.
The big damage caused by spider mites shows why it’s so important to keep a close eye on your plants and manage pests to prevent serious harm to a bunch of different plants.
Signs of trouble
Spider mites, while tiny, show they’re there through clear signs of trouble. These tiny pests, looking like tiny moving dots, live in groups mainly on the bottom of leaves. If you look closely, maybe with a 10X magnifying glass, you might see adult females, who are the biggest, with two red eyes, a dark spot on each side, and bristles all over their oval bodies.
A clear sign of trouble is the silk webbing spider mites make on infested leaves and stems. Other signs include leaves changing color or yellowing and stippling on the top of leaves, which shows the plant isn’t doing so well. In bad cases, you can see these mites as tiny, moving dots. Keeping a close eye out for these signs can help you step in and lessen the damage in time.
Damage caused by spider mites
Damage caused by spider mites can be seen on both indoor and outdoor plants. Spider mites eat by piercing the plant’s cells and sucking out their insides. This eating makes yellow spots or stippling on the top of leaves, which eventually turn brown as the leaf tissue dies.
Spider mite damage can be seen by stippling, which is a discoloration or yellowing of the leaves. Spider mite infestations can cause leaves to drop and plants to die.
Factors Leading to Spider Mites Infestation on Calatheas
Spider mites, tiny eight-legged pests, can cause big damage to Calatheas. They are more likely to occur when several things happen:
- Low humidity: Spider mites are tiny arachnids that love dry places. Calatheas are tropical plants that prefer high humidity. When calatheas are grown in low humidity conditions, they get upset and more bug magnets.
- Overwatering: Overwatering can cause root problems, which weakens the plant and makes it easier for bugs. Additionally, overwatering can create a wet place that is ideal for spider mites to thrive in.
- Poor air circulation: Poor air circulation can allow spider mites to spread more easily from one plant to another. Additionally, stagnant air can create a humid environment that is favorable to spider mites.
- New plants: New plants can come with pests, including spider mites. It is important to inspect all new plants carefully before getting them inside.
Signs of spider mite infestations include leaves turning yellow or brown, leaves getting thin or curling, fine webbing, and seeing tiny, red or brown mites.
Spider mites are more likely to infest plants in high temperatures, low light, and weak air circulation They reproduce quickly in these conditions, spreading from one plant to another. Also, open windows, vents, clothes, or pets can accidentally bring mites into the home.
Spider mites can also infest plants that are not properly cared for, such as plants that receive too much water, not enough sunlight, have poor air circulation, or have too much nitrogen in the soil. Regular checks and keeping soil nutrients balanced are key to stopping these destructive pests.
How to treat Spider Mites on Calathea
There are 6 simple steps to deal with Spider Mites on Calathea:
Step 1: Keep the affected Calathea plant away.
You gotta make sure that the plant having issues stays away from your other houseplants at least 3 feet away to stop it from spreading more spider mites.
Tips: Give the plant a good once-over to spot any eggs and webbing that might be there.
Step 2: Cut off the Dead Leaves
When you find out that your Calathea’s got spider mites, you gotta remove any Calathea leaves that are yellow, brown, or black ASAP. They give the mites a place to hang out, and you should cut them off with a nice pair of cutting shears. You don’t always have to cut right down to the bottom; new leaves can often regrow from nodes on the old stem, helping the plant’s comeback and growth.
To keep things clean and not spread stuff between plants, it’s very important to clean your cutting tools. Before you use ’em, disinfect the pruning shears with a solution of 10% bleach and 90% water. – either rubbing alcohol or a 10% bleach solution does the trick. Doing this can really cut down the risk of passing on diseases or pests from one plant to another, making sure your plants stay healthier and stronger. After you’ve cleared away the dead stuff, you can move on to the next steps in dealing with spider mites on Calathea.
Step 3: Pick the right weapons
Here’s the stuff you need to use:
- Insecticidal soap: It’s made from potassium salts of fatty acids, and it messes up the insect’s cells when it touches them, killing them.
- Neem oil: It’s a natural bug killer, and it’s good at controlling lots of pests, including spider mites.
- Horticultural oils: These are oils made from petroleum that cover up the bugs and make them suffocate.
- Isopropyl alcohol: It’s great for plants that have lots of bugs, because it kills all the pests it touches.
- Hydrogen peroxide: It’s another good thing for fighting off spider mites, but putting too much can harm your plants.
- Organic pesticides: You can find these online or at garden centers, and they’re a nature-friendly choice when you’re dealing with pests.
Chemical treatments are really good at getting rid of these annoying pests. Make sure what you pick is safe for your Calathea. Follow the product instructions carefully so you don’t accidentally hurt your Calathea or any of your other indoor plants.
While using any product, remember to wear protective clothing and keep children and pets away until the treated area totally dries.
Keep at it, because spider mites are tough and may need multiple treatments over a long period to totally get rid of them.
Step 4: Spray the Calathea
Start the treatment by gently spraying or dipping the Calathea in lukewarm water. This simple step can get some mites off and their webbing. If you can, use a gentle stream from a hose-end sprayer, getting the leaves wet without watering the plant too much, which could accidentally make the mite problem worse.
Next, make a mite-killing mix:
- Hydrogen Peroxide: Mix 3 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide with 1 gallon of water.
- Insecticidal Soap or Neem Oil: Mix 1 teaspoon of either with 1 gallon of water.
- Alcohol: Mix 1 part rubbing alcohol with 4 parts water. Or, you could put isopropyl alcohol directly on the leaves with a cotton ball or spray bottle and let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing it off.
- Natural Insecticide: Follow the product’s instructions.
After you’ve made your mix, fill a spray bottle, and make sure it’s mixed well. Start spraying your Calathea, from the bottom up. Pay attention to every part of the plant, from the ends of the leaves to the crevices between leaves and stems, and new growth. It’s super important to spray both sides of each leaf.
Make sure you spray your Calathea all over to effectively get rid of hiding spider mites. After you’ve sprayed it thoroughly, let the solution sit for about 15 minutes before rinsing it with cold water. This helps in getting rid of spider mites and making sure they’re completely removed.
Once you’ve done this, you should see less mites on your Calathea. Do the treatment every 5-7 days until you can’t see mites or there’s a lot less.
Step 5: Wipe Down the Leaves and Stems of Calathea
After you’ve thoroughly sprayed your Calathea with the mix that’s safe for plants, it’s super important to carefully clean the leaves and stems. Start this by dampening a soft cloth with warm water. Remember, the cloth should be damp, not soaking wet, to avoid making the plant too wet.
Put the cloth or brush into the same mix you used to spray the plant. Be careful while cleaning – always wipe or brush in the same direction as the leaf growth to not hurt the fragile leaves of the plant.
Once you’ve cleaned all the leaves and stems, dry off any leftover water using a dry cloth. Remember to wipe away from the leaves to not leave any water spots on the leaves. This way, you keep your Calathea looking good while making sure it stays healthy and free of pests.
Step 6: Monitor and Repetition
Regularly washing your Calathea plant is important to get rid of any pests or stuff from the leaves, and to keep spider mites from coming back.
Make sure to regularly check your plant for any signs of spider mites and act fast if you see them.
In case of a bad infestation, you may need to do steps 2-5 again. Doing this makes sure that recently hatched mites and any tough survivors from the previous treatments are effectively targeted. It’s super important to switch up the chemical stuff you use to stop the spider mites from getting resistant.
For example, start the treatment using insecticidal soap, then use neem oil, and then go with a natural insecticide. Remember to also switch up where you spray; don’t always spray at the same spot.
By regularly repeating and switching these steps, you can successfully deal with a spider mite infestation on your Calathea plant.
Tips and tricks to keep Spider Mites away from your Calathea plants
Keeping these pesky spider mites away from your Calathea is always the best route. Here’s how you can avoid an invasion:
- Make sure your plant has got the right setup to keep the mites at bay. Keep an eye on the temp and how moist it is; cozy temps around 70°F and a bit of moisture can put them off.
- Don’t forget to water regularly to keep the plants from drying out, steer clear of overdoing it with the fertilizer, and check your plants for the first hints of bugs, that way you can catch ’em early.
- Find a spot for your plant where there’s enough breeze; even a little air movement can help put off these pests from moving into your Calathea.
- If you spot any leaves or stems with mites, chop them off right away to stop the spread of these buggers. Regular checking and trimming of your plants is crucial to spot any early signs of the mites, like spider web-like stuff.
- Any new plants you bring home, keep ’em apart for a bit to make sure they don’t bring any outside bugs in.
- Give your Calathea’s leaves a good wash regularly with lukewarm water and a damp cloth to keep any potential pests away.
- You can even bring in helpful bugs like ladybugs or lacewings, they love munching on spider mites.
- Sticky traps work like a charm to trap grown-up spider mites and cut down their numbers in your garden.
- Try to cut the mess around your Calathea and keep it clear of any rubbish, as that can turn into a hideout for pests.
- If the mites really get out of hand, you may have to go for using a specific bug killer or a bug-killing soap. These can do a number on the existing pests and seriously cut down their growth. Always make sure you carefully check out the product instructions before using, to get the best and safest results.
Handling this pain of Spider Mites On Calathea can be a tricky problem, even for pro plant parents. But, with the right info and sticking to it, you can definitely keep your fave greenies safe from these teeny pests.
This complete how-to, courtesy of the FamiPlants, gets you up to speed with everything you need to know about spotting, dealing with, and stopping Spider Mites On Calathea. We’ve gone deep into what these mites are about, the hints of bugs, the damage they can do, and most importantly, the different stopping and handling tricks you can use to keep your precious Calathea safe. So, roll up your sleeves and take on the fight. And remember, every effort you make to battle spider mites on your Calathea leads to a happier, brighter, and stronger plant.
Keep an eye on the FamiPlants blog for more helpful how-tos, hints, and ideas to help you handle your plant parenting journey with confidence and ease.