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Spider mites on a Strelitzia leaf

How to get rid of spider mites on your houseplants

Your houseplants are special and they should be protected from all kinds of pests. You water it properly and take good care of it, but then you find spider mites on your plant and they don't seem to go away. So what do you do to get rid of these pests from your houseplants? In this guide, we'll answer that question and we're going over what you can do to get rid of the spider mites and how you make sure your plant recovers quickly and doesn't dry out.

In this guide, we'll go over the following topics:

  1. What are spider mites?
  2. What can you do to get rid of spider mites?
  3. Recovery

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What are spider mites?

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Spider mites are very small spider-like insects that like to be on the bottom of your plants' leaves. They can cause damage to your plants by poking holes in the plant's leaves and feed on them. This can cause the plants to slowly dry out, as the spider mites absorb the moisture. Spider mites eat a very wide variety of plants, so it's very likely your plants could be on their feeding list.

What can you do to get rid of spider mites?

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Spider mites on a Calathea

There are several things you can do to get rid of spider mites. Some are a little easier than others, but they all require a few treatments. Before you do anything, you should isolate your infected plant, to make sure the spider mites don't go to any of your other plants. Once you have done this, these are a few simple things you can do to help get rid of the spider mites:

  1. Use a spray bottle with household soap and water
  2. Use neem oil
  3. Use predatory insects to eat the spider mites

1. Use a spray bottle with household soap and water

By far, the easiest solution is getting a spray bottle, one that you also use to mist your plants and add liquid soap to it. Now, when you spray your plant with this mixture, you'll create a soapy layer on your leaves and this will drown the spider mites. After you've let it sit for a few minutes, you can clean every single leaf with a paper towel or microfiber towel. This way you're removing the soap from the plant and you're getting rid of any of the spider mites that might still be on the leaves.

This is not a one-time solution, and you might need to repeat this a few weeks in a row. It's best to let the plant rest a week in between treating it this way and the next time.

2. Use neem oil

Neem oil is a vegetable oil that you can buy in most grocery stores. It's an oil that's created by pressing fruits and seeds. Unlike the soap and water solution, this does not drown the spider mites. You can use neem oil as a repellant for spider mites by applying it to the leaves and stems of the infected plant. This will create a hostile environment for the spider mites and they'll start to get away from the plant.

Like the soap and water solution, this is not a one-time solution and should be repeated until all spider mites are gone. It's best if you do this every few days until you notice the spider mites are gone.

3. Use predatory insects to eat the spider mites

A last, and also slightly more daring solution, is to use insects to get rid of insects. It's best to use mites from the Phytoseiulus family, as these prey on spider mites and will eat a few of them, in addition to quite a few eggs, per day. It's quite an effective way of getting rid of spider mites without really having to do much yourself. However, you are introducing other insects to your plants. This could feel uncomfortable, but people use this method to keep plants in greenhouses pest-free as well.

This could be a great solution if the other two didn't work of if you don't want to do this yourself.


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Once the spider mites are gone, your houseplant will be weak from fighting off the pest. Now it's the time to give it the care it needs and help it recover slowly but steadily. If it's in the growing season, it's a great idea to give you plant a little bit of fertilizer, so it can replenish all the nutrients it lost while the pest was there. If it's in the dormancy period, make sure to give the plant the proper water and light requirements.


Spider mites are a scary sight and they can be a tough pest do deal with. However, there are several ways of getting rid of spider mites and those include: soap and water solution in a spray bottle, neem oil, and predatory insects. It's best to start with the soap and water solution or the neem oil and use the predatory insects as a last resort if you don't mind putting in the time to take care for your houseplants. If you want to be hands-off and have it dealt with, the predatory insects are a great way to go and they'll get rid of the spider mites in a short time.

Thank you for reading this post! I hope it helps you to keep your plants healthy and beautiful! If you're looking for more guides on specific plants, you can always request a plant guide or donate a plant in order to get a guide for the plant you have trouble with.

Tags: pests, crisis

Posted on: Jul 12, 2020 Last updated on: May 2, 2021

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