Thrips on Monstera Plants: Identification and Treatment

Monstera plants have become a hot pick among houseplant lovers and interior designers. Bummer is, Monsteras are easy targets for a bug called the thrips. Thrips are small, slender bugs that chow down on plant tissue by sucking sap out of leaves, leaving behind off-color spots and even scarring. Spotting and treating thrips on Monstera plants can be a tough gig, but with the right know-how and strategy, gardeners can keep their Monsteras in great shape.

In this article, we will dive into how to spot and treat thrips damage on Monstera. We’ll chat about spotting tips, as well as treatments including chemical and non-chemical options. Also, we’ll share advice on how to stop thrips before they even start and how to keep an eye out for them. With this info, you’ll be able to keep your Monstera plants healthy and flourishing.

What are Thrips?

Thrips are tiny, slender bugs that measure just 1-2 mm in length, have fringed wings and come in various colors such as yellow, brown and black. They have cool and fascinating features like chewing mouthparts, four wings, long antennae and a narrow body shape. Thrips feed on plant sap or flower nectar using their sharp mouthparts to puncture the surface of plants and suck out the juices. They can also snack on mites, pollen, small bugs and other organic matter.


Thrips are a major pain that can harm crops by feeding on the leaves and flowers of plants. They also pass around plant sicknesses as they move from one plant to another. To control thrips infestations, gardeners should use all-around bug-busting methods like removing affected plants, using beneficial bugs to prey on the pests, and applying insecticides when needed.

Thrips Species Affecting Monstera Plants

Monstera plants mainly get hassled from two species of thrips: Western Flower Thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis) and Onion Thrips (Thrips tabaci). Both species are small bugs that extract the sap from plants, leading to serious harm like leaf going off-color, wilting, and slow growth.

  • Western Flower Thrips: Known as the most common thrips species messing with Monstera, these bugs have slender, black bodies and are attracted to light and heat. They mainly feed on the upper surfaces of leaves, causing discoloration, curling, wilting, and possible leaf fall. These pests can also pass plant diseases like the tomato spotted wilt virus.
  • Onion Thrips: Smaller than their western flower cousins, these thrips sport yellow or brown bodies. They are mainly night owls and often hide in leaf folds during the day. Alongside similar feeding habits, these thrips can harm flowers and fruits, producing a sticky substance called honeydew that may attract other pests.

Just recently, new thrips species such as Scirtothrips dorsalis have been found, causing troubles to a wide variety of plants. Getting the hang of these thrips species and their characteristics can help in the early spotting and effective control of infestations.

Factors Contributing to Thrips Infestation in Monstera Plants

There are various reasons why your Monstera plant might become a target for thrips. Thrips are usually drawn to plants under stress due to not-so-great care or unfavorable environmental conditions. Here are some of the main things that can up the chances of a thrips infestation:

  1. Poor Plant Health: Not enough water, light, or food can stress a Monstera plant, making it more attractive to thrips. Overwatering or underwatering, as well as being low on nutrients, can weaken the plant’s defenses and increase its risk of pests.
  2. Poor Conditions: Thrips tend to thrive in crowded, humid conditions. If your Monstera is in a too-small pot or surrounded by other plants, it may create a welcoming spot for these pests. On the flip side, low humidity can also make your Monstera more at risk of thrips.
  3. Bringing in New Plants: Thrips can hitch a ride into your home on other plants. Therefore, it’s super important to carefully inspect new plants for pests before bringing them into your indoor garden.
  4. Being Near Sick Plants: If your Monstera is near another plant that’s already got thrips, the chance of your Monstera also getting infested goes up. Thrips can move from plant to plant, and they may also be brought inside on cut flowers or veggies from the garden.
  5. Wind-Borne Pests: Even though they’re bad at flying, thrips can be carried by the wind. They can hitch a ride on humans or make their way inside through window screens. Thus, plants kept outside during summer can unknowingly become homes to thrips, which may then infest your indoor plants when brought inside.
  6. Monstera Leaves as Food Source: Thrips are attracted to Monstera plants ’cause they’re yummy eats. They feed on the plant, potentially causing major harm, and lay their eggs inside plant parts, making them tough to get rid of.
  7. Changes in Seasons: Thrips enter a sleepy state during the winter and wake up when it turns to spring and warmer temperatures. The quick hatching and maturing of thrips make them a coming back issue, especially in areas with a warm climate.
  8. Dusty Foliage: When the Monstera leaves and foliage accumulate dust, it creates a perfect hatching spot for thrips. Signs of an infestation include small dark-brown or black patches and messy leaf growth.

Signs of Thrips damage on Monstera Plants

Thrips are little quick bugs that munch on leaves and sometimes even the fruit or flowers of plants. Signs of thrips damage on Monstera Plants include:

  1. Silver or white patches on the surface of leaves, which can eventually turn bad and cause leaf to die
  2. Rusty spots on the underside of the leaves, which can be caused by thrips spit
  3. Drooping, curling or discoloration of leaves
  4. Slow growth in young plants and a decrease in energy in older plants
  5. Twisted leaves, such as weird leaf shapes or cupping of the edges of the leaves
  6. Tiny, black dots on flower petals or fruit, which can be caused by thrips eggs being laid into the plant parts.

Thrips are tough to spot and get rid of from Monstera Plants because of their size and speed. If you think that your Monstera Plant has been affected by Thrips, it’s important to get moving as soon as you can to stop more harm and effects on plant health.

Thrips eat monstera leaves make it crimping and brown

Thrips eat monstera leaves make it crimping and brown

How to Get Rid of Thrips on Monstera?

When it comes to how to get rid of thrips on monstera, there are several strategies you can try.

Using Insecticides to Get Rid of Thrips

Bug killers are often necessary to get rid of thrips for good. If you go for a shop-bought bug killer, follow the water-down directions on the bottle, erring on the side of over-watering-down for safety. Test the bug killer on a small leaf or section of your monstera before spraying the entire plant. When spraying, be thorough and cover the tops and undersides of the leaves as well as the stems. Repeat the treatment every 4-7 days as needed until the thrips are gone.

Natural Ways to Get Rid of Thrips

There are several all-natural methods to treat thrips, ranging from DIY bug sprays to introducing natural predators. Some effective natural solutions include:

  1. DIY Bug Spray: Mix 1.5 teaspoons of gentle liquid soap with a quart of water and use it straight away. Test the solution on a small section of your monstera before applying it to the whole plant. Apply the spray in the morning or evening and do again every 4-7 days until the thrips are gone.
  2. Neem Juice: This natural juice is a popular treatment for bug problems. Water down the juice according to the instructions on the bottle and add a little liquid soap. Test the mixture on a small part of the plant before putting it on the whole monstera. Apply the spray in the morning or evening to stop it from drying out too quickly.
  3. Sticky Catchers: Thrips are attracted to blue, yellow, and white colors. Make your own sticky catcher by spreading honey on colored paper and placing it near your plant. Commercial sticky catchers are also available for purchase.
  4. Lint Roller: Use a lint roller to remove thrips from the leaves and stems of your monstera. Hold a leaf flat in your palm and gently run the roller over it, making sure to cover both sides.
  5. Get Ladybugs: These harmless bugs will happily munch on thrips. Let ladybugs loose into your monstera’s soil, and they’ll quickly find the thrips and get to work.

Cutting Damaged Leaves

If your monstera’s thrips problem is advanced, you may need to cut off the affected leaves. This will remove any eggs waiting to hatch and grown-up thrips still on the leaves. Sterilize a pair of scissors or shears and wear gloves before cutting. You can also use a lint roller to remove as many thrips as possible before cutting. If the problem is really bad, think about propagating healthy leaves and starting a new, healthy plant.

Related: Common Monstera pests and Diseases: How to deal with them

Use bug-killing soap and neem juice to treat thrips

To lessen the thrips problem using bug-killing soap and neem juice, follow these steps:

  1. Prep: Mix 2 tablespoons each of bug-killing soap and neem juice with a gallon of water in a spray bottle. Shake well to make sure the mixture is even.
  2. Test: Spray the solution on a small part of the plant and wait for 24 hours to see any bad effects. If no damage is visible, it’s safe to continue treatment.
  3. Putting on: Thoroughly spray the solution over the entire plant, making sure the undersides of leaves are well covered.
  4. Do again: Do it again every 3-5 days over a 2-week period to get rid of any thrips that may hatch after treatment.

For really bad problems, consider a stronger mix of 4 teaspoons of neem juice and 2 teaspoons of dish soap in a gallon of water, focusing on the worst affected areas.

How to Prevent Thrips Infestation on Monstera

If you have noticed a thrips infestation on your Monstera, it may be time to take steps to get rid of the pests. Here are some tips for stopping and getting rid of the bug problem:

  • Keep your Monstera tidy: Thrips prefer wet environments, so make sure to wipe down and dust the plant regularly.
  • Use bug-killing soap or neem juice to treat the plant: By spraying and wiping down the leaves, you can help stop the spread of thrips. Make sure to read and follow instructions on the product before use.
  • Keep an eye on your Monstera for signs of a bug problem and get moving straight away if you notice any: Some signs of a bug problem are yellowing leaves, silver or white spots on the leaves and/or stems, and tiny black specks at the base of the foliage.
  • Keep your Monstera alone from other plants to prevent any further spread of thrips.
  • If you have already noticed a bug problem, use traps such as yellow sticky notes to help trap the pests.
  • Think about using helpful bugs, like predatory mites or lacewings, to help fight off and control thrips problems.

By following these tips, you can help keep your Monstera healthy and free from pests! If all else fails and you’re still having trouble, think about asking a pro or buying a bug killer to help treat the bug problem.


Thrips can be a tough pest to get rid of, but with the right care and attention, you can keep your Monstera Plant healthy and Thrip-free. By taking preventative steps such as keeping your plant clean and alone from other plants, using hands-on control ways, using chemical fixes, or letting helpful predators loose on your Monstera Plant, you can help stop a Thrips problem and keep your Monstera Plant healthy.

Plus, if a bug problem has already happened, traps such as yellow sticky notes or chemical fixes may be needed to rid the plant of Thrips. However, it’s important to be careful when putting on any chemicals, and always follow instructions on the product tag. Lastly, if Thrips on Monstera Plants remain a problem, think about getting advice from a pro or buying a bug killer to help treat the bug problem. For more information about caring monstera plants, please visit Famiplants website.

Hi, I'm Cathleen Clemens. I graduated from Cornell University with a degree in plant science. I gained detailed knowledge about various kinds of plants and how to properly care for them. My experience has enabled me to easily detect any issues such as pest infestations, nutrient deficiencies, or signs of diseases in the plants.

Leave a Comment