Eww! Aren’t I Going to Bring in Bugs?

Medinilla myriantha

I lecture a lot about houseplants. I travel with my houseplants for “show and tell” because I think that there’s no better way to demonstrate that houseplants can be lovely and colorful 365 days a year than when I have a table full of 20 or so plants full of gorgeous colors and maybe only 1 plant–if that–is a plant with flowers or a plant in bloom.

Nevertheless, the #1 question at all my houseplant lectures, when I talk about putting plants outside for the summer and how beneficial that is is “eww! Aren’t you afraid that you’re going to bring in bugs?”

First of all, no, I am not. I have accidentally brought in a bird. I did manage to get it back outside without disaster, but, after that, bugs are nothing.

And what bugs do you mean? You can easily pick up house plant insects from other plants you aquire. Fungus gnats are notorious for lurking in potting soil. So where are these bugs coming from? You may be bringing them in from commercial sources (but let’s hope not!)

Do you mean spiders? Crickets? Ants? If these insects are near your home, they don’t need your houseplants as a way in. And if it is these insects, just shake the plant before you bring it in. That should knock most things off.

So what insects are we worried about and why?

I honestly confess that I don’t understand this question.

2 thoughts on “Eww! Aren’t I Going to Bring in Bugs?

  1. tonytomeo September 3, 2022 / 3:43 am

    Heck, they go outside to get rid of their ‘bugs’. I mean, when I lived in town, several Ficus of a few species lived in my home, and some got scale. I put them out in the rain to get rinsed of the honeydew, and because the predatory wasps were more effective out there. They were not as infested when they came back inside after a few months outside.

  2. gardendaze September 3, 2022 / 6:16 am

    Yes, that’s it exactly! My citrus always gets scale in the winter. It comes back inside all cleaned up. Generally it will make it until the next March or so before I notice the scale coming back–and by then it’s only weeks until it goes back outside.

    And of course there’s the plant growth. They do more growing for me outside in 4 months than in the 8 months inside. I get to see how they really want to look and grow.

    Karla

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