Another Day, Another House Plant Insect

Calathea Maui Queen

You may remember this lovely calathea from back in August when I did a feature called “Foliage is forever.” Well. This foliage may not be forever because it is having some major issues.

What specifically am I referring to? One of the banes of a house plant’s existence, namely spider mites. These tiny little arachnids quickly get out of hand–as mine did, from the time I suspected them last Tuesday when I re-potted this plant, until Sunday, when I took another look and went “Yikes!”

Close up of leaf

The first dead give away is the “stippling” that you see on the right and left sides of this leaf. That’s caused by these insects sucking at it. Mind you, when it gets this bad, the plant is almost ready for compost. If this were a more ordinary variety, it wouldn’t even be an issue. The plant would be gone by now.

Back side of leaf

Here’s the bark of the leaf with lots of little red spider mites visible. I would be berating myself except that these things breed every 3 days–so again, you can see how quickly they get out of hand!

They love dry overheated homes (I can vouch for dry, but overheated? That’s not my house. Still compared to outdoors, it is still warm in here).

So I will do a quick spray with insecticidal soap, and of course isolate the plant. And I will hose it off every 3rd or 4th day to catch any new hatches. We’ll see if I can save this plant.

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