😊 satisfaction guaranteed
😊 satisfaction guaranteed
🇬🇧 UK Delivery
🚚 next day delivery available*

Pests and Infections: Common Houseplant Problems

common houseplant problems

Are your houseplants looking a little worse for wear? Well, look no further. Most houseplants will suffer from a pest or disease at some point in their life. That’s why we have provided you with a list of common houseplant diseases and remedies to help you become a plant care pro!

Key Takeaways

  • The most common houseplant diseases are root rot, powdery mildew, leaf spot, and Botrytis.

  • The most common houseplant pests are aphids, thrips, fungus gnats, scale, spider mites, and mealybugs.

  • To treat common diseases and pests, isolate your plant from other houseplants, and be sure to follow the treatment guides below.

What are Common Houseplant Problems?

Believe it or not, plant care is not always plain sailing. At some point in a plant’s life, they may suffer from a pest, infection, or disease and it’s vital to treat any condition that comes your way!

Leaving a plant with an infection will not only affect plant growth. Serious infections may kill your plant’s root system and worse, infect other plants.

At Oxy-Plants, we want all our plants to thrive! That’s why we’ve created this handy list of common diseases and pests so you can keep your indoor plants in tip-top shape!

What Items Do I Need For Plant Care?

Plant care is easy with the correct tools. Common activities related to plant care include cutting off diseased leaves, watering your plant, drying out root systems, and applying neem oil or insecticidal soap spray.

Common plant care items you will need are:

Common Diseases for Indoor Plants

House plants, while generally hardy, can be susceptible to a variety of diseases. Although indoor conditions are never ideal for fungi and bacteria to grow, plants that prefer moist soil and humid environmental conditions (Boston Ferns, Calatheas, & Peace Lilies) can be more susceptible to disease development than other plants.

The most common house plant diseases include:

Root Rot

The most common disease we see when it comes to indoor plants is a condition called root rot. This is caused by overwatering your plant.

If your plant has yellow leaves, wilting leaves or stem, and mushy roots, then this is a classic case of root rot. To treat, remove any leaves, stems, and roots that are visibly damaged. It is always wise to make sure your nursery pot has drainage holes to allow excess water to drain from the soil surface.

A preventative measure you can take to prevent root rot is to place a sanitary towel in the bottom of your decorative plant pot. This helps to absorb excess water and prevent root rot at source! Adding some perlite or vermiculite to your soil mix may be a wise move. This helps to improve soil structure and drainage.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is a fungal disease affecting a plant’s foliage, stems and occasionally flowers and fruit. A small, superficial fungal growth covers the surface of the plant and looks like white powdery spots.

To control the spread of powdery mildew, trim off any affected leaves or stems. You may want to isolate your infected plant until the problem has subsided.

In any case, powdery mildew is rarely a severe condition. Just be sure to discard infected leaves into your green waste bin. Do not put these leaves in a compost bin. This may cause diseased plants in the future.

Leaf Spot

Leaf spots exist in a range of colours and sizes. When a plant has spots, they are actually sections of dead tissue caused by a fungus or bacteria.

Severe cases of leaf spots see the spots join together to form larger areas of dead tissue. To treat this, immediately remove affected leaves and dispose of any diseased plant material to minimise chances of reinfection.

For severe and persistent cases, it may be wise to invest in a strong fungicide.

Botrytis (Grey Mold)

Grey mould is a disease caused by the fungus Botrytis cinerea. It thrives in warm and humid environments and can be expected at any time of year. Symptoms of this condition are grey fuzzy mould on leaves, stems, and flowers

To treat, remove any mould and dead plant matter. Be sure to wear safety clothing. Move your houseplant into a drier household environment. Avoid putting your plant in the bathroom or kitchen as this may cause further mould to grow.

General Disease & Prevention and Treatment Tips

One of the best ways to avoid diseased plants is through prevention. A healthy plant is less likely to develop an infection and is more likely to survive an infection when it occurs. So, to prevent infections and diseases from occurring, be sure to consider:

  • Watering Practices: Avoid overwatering and ensure your plants have good drainage. Water plants at the base to keep foliage dry. This can also help to prevent conditions such as root rot and stem rot.

  • Air Circulation: Provide good air circulation around plants to reduce humidity and prevent fungal growth. Poor air circulation can cause fungi spores to grow and this should be avoided at all costs.

  • Cleanliness: Remove and dispose of infected plant parts promptly. Keep the growing area clean. Be sure to always remove diseased plants and leaves and sterilise your pruning shears. This can help prevent disease development.

  • Quarantine New Plants: Isolate new plants for a few weeks to ensure they are disease-free before introducing them to your collection. This limits the chance of a diseased plant infecting your healthy houseplants.

  • Use Fungicides and Bactericides: Apply these as recommended for specific diseases, if necessary. We recommend neem oil. If that doesn’t work, something stronger such as Baby Bio Houseplant Bug Killer is always helpful!

  • Inspect Regularly: Regularly check plants for early signs of disease and act quickly to manage any issues.

By following these practices, you can help minimise the risk of diseases and keep your house plants healthy and thriving. And remember, prevention is always better than treatment!

Common Pests Houseplants Suffer From

Houseplants are prone to a variety of pests that can damage or even kill them if not managed properly. The key to treating these common pests is using neem oil, natural insecticidal soap, or Baby Bio houseplant and bug killer.

The most common houseplant pests include:


Aphids are small, sap-sucking insects that distort the growth of your houseplants. What’s even worse is that these soft-bodied insects can also transmit diseases to your plants. They are usually green, but can also be black, brown, yellow, or pink.

Common symptoms of aphids are curling leaves, sticky honeydew, and sooty mould growth.

Spider Mites

Spider mites are tiny, spider-like pests that can be red, yellow, green, or brown. They are commonly found on the underside of leaves and cause fine webbing on plants and yellowing leaves.

Spider mites are attracted to moist environments, so bear this in mind when you’re finding a home for your house plant. Ensure your house plant has direct sunlight to dry out the soil. DO your best to prevent poor air circulation as well!


Mealybugs are white, cottony masses often found in leaf axils and on stems. They can cause yellowing leaves, stunted growth, and honeydew production.

Like aphids, mealybugs are attracted to the sap in the stems and leaves of plants. If your plant tends to leak sap, make sure you wipe affected areas with a damp cloth regularly.

Scale Insects

Scale is visible by its small, oval, and flat or dome-shaped lumps; They can be brown, black, or white. The most common symptoms of scale infection are yellowing leaves, stunted growth, and honeydew production.

Make sure you move your affected plant away from other houseplants as scale is highly contagious.

Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats are small, black flies resembling mosquitoes. They are attracted to plants that live in high-humidity conditions. To limit the chances of contracting fungus gnats, be sure to repot your plants using fresh soil. This helps to limit poor drainage and a build-up of water in the soil.

Common symptoms of fungus nats are larvae feeding on roots, causing stunted growth and yellowing leaves.


Thrips are slender insects with fringed wings; usually black or brown. They can be devastating to your houseplants and love to suck sap from your plant’s leaves.

Symptoms: Silvery or bronzed streaks on leaves and flowers, distorted growth. The most common giveaway of thrips is brown leaf tips. If this occurs, prune back any diseased areas and treat using neem oil.

General Pest Prevention and Treatment Tips

As with diseases, the best way to deal with pests and critters is prevention. Making sure you have a natural insecticide ready to go is vital. This is so you can treat infections quickly and effectively.

General pest prevention tips include:

  • Inspect New Plants: Always check new plants for pests before bringing them into your home.

  • Isolate Infected Plants: Separate any infected plants to prevent the spread of pests.

  • Regular Inspection: Check plants regularly, especially the undersides of leaves and new growth.

  • Proper Watering and Care: Healthy plants are less susceptible to pests, so provide proper water, light, and nutrients.

  • Biological Controls: Introduce natural predators like ladybugs or predatory mites for certain pests.

  • Insecticidal Soaps and Oils: Use insecticidal soaps, neem oil, or horticultural oil to treat infestations.

  • Physical Removal: Remove pests by hand or wash them off with water.

  • Sticky Traps: Use yellow sticky traps to capture flying pests like whiteflies and fungus gnats.

By staying vigilant and taking proactive measures, you can keep your houseplants healthy and minimise the risk of pest infestations.

Shopping cart close