Over the past few days, your Monstera may seem a little under the weather. You try to shower it with all the care it needs but to no avail.
As you go about your routine watering sprays, something seems to be moving, or rather, crawling on one of the Monstera’s shiny green leaves. You’ve finally figured out the culprit behind your houseplant’s distress, it’s thrips.
This brings us to our topic, “How to get rid of thrips on Monstera.” From sticky traps and lint rollers to horticultural soaps and oils, treating thrips involves a lot of effective solutions.
Stick around to learn more about identifying, getting rid of, and preventing thrips infestations on your Monstera.
Identifying Thrips on Monstera
Even though thrips are frequent breeders and can create up to 15 generations in their lifetime, they’re sometimes difficult to identify. One of the factors that disguise thrips so well is their tiny size.
These pests are a mere 0.5 to 2 mm in height. Plus, some thrips are translucent, making them almost invisible to the naked eye.
Having said that, two of the most commonly found thrips species that feast on Monstera are the Western and Egyptian flower thrips.
The former is yellow and one to two millimeters in length. Meanwhile, Egyptian flower thrips are easier to distinguish with their darker and larger exteriors measuring two to three millimeters.
Aside from that, here are some telltale signs to help you identify thrips on Monstera.
When feeding, thrips use their asymmetrical tiny mouths to suck on the Monstera’s sap. Thanks to their messy eating habits, they tend to leave a trail of sticky sap residue around your houseplant.
By this time, the thrips infestation is likely at a critical point, and you’ll want to act fast to get rid of it.
Despite their tiny size and clear color, some thrips may still be visible, especially if they’re crawling about.
Now, thrips come in 6,000 species and they come in a variety of colors. Some of the winged insects are dark-colored like brown and black, while others are on the lighter side of yellow.
For this reason, you can inspect the plant thoroughly using a magnifying glass. You may notice white or dark specks hovering over the Monstera.
Alternatively, these specks could be laying on top of your leaves, or even hiding underneath them.
After getting the life sucked out of it, you’ll likely notice signs of damage on your precious Monstera. One of these common signs is browning or yellowing leaves.
If your once glossy green houseplant is getting all the water and light intake it needs, then it’s time to check for thrips.
Besides brown and yellow discoloration, thrips can take on an unhealthy silvery sheen. This occurs when they’re unable to absorb their nutrient intake.
The thrips are siphoning the healthy fluids that distribute these nutrients around the Monstera’s body.
Upon closer inspection, you may notice tiny black spots riddling the Monstera. These spots could be thrips excrement.
Like all bugs, thrips also poop. Scientifically speaking, these droppings are referred to as frass.
Aside from that, if you turn over the houseplant’s leaves, you’ll likely observe more of these black dots.
Wilting and Drooping
In addition to discoloration and dark spots, a thrips infestation could cause wilting and drooping. The minuscule insects feeding on your plants are feeding off of the Monstera’s leaf cells.
Consequently, the plant’s cells lose their turgor or rigidity when cells are filled with water. In turn, the leaves wilt and curl.
If you’re seeing holes in your leaves, then it could be too late to save your Monstera. These holes indicate female thrips burrowing and digging through the leaves.
Afterward, the insect lays her eggs in these holes. Once they hatch after two to four days, they’ll start feeding off of the Monstera, worsening its condition even more.
Why are there Thrips on Your Monstera?
After identifying the many signs of thrips on your Monstera, it’s time to question why they came about in the first place.
Well, they may have hitchhiked their way to your home from a new houseplant. Alternatively, thrips are also attracted to weeds in gardens.
They may fly around your outdoor plants and if one happens to land on you on your way indoors, it could hover over your Monstera.
Methods to Get Rid of Thrips on Monstera
The good news is that you can find multiple methods of eradicating the growing thrips population on your houseplant.
On top of that, you can also resort to natural treatments rather than chemical ones. Without further ado, here’s how to get rid of thrips on Monstera.
Method #1: Use Sticky Traps
Thrips often find the colors blue and yellow enticing. You can use that to your advantage and plant blue and yellow-colored sticky traps around the Monstera.
Commercial sticky traps specialized for thrips are widely available. Nevertheless, you can fashion yourself one by using blue or yellow paper and coating it with a sticky substance.
It can be glue, syrup, honey, or even Vaseline. Just be sure to change them regularly to avoid attracting other insects.
The best part about this method is that it’s natural and highly effective at reducing thrips numbers.
Method #2: Use a Lint Roller
Going in line with the sticky theme, you can use a lint roller to manually remove the thrips from your houseplant.
Give the leaves a rollover, both from the top and bottom as well as the plant’s stems. Now, we suggest applying this method if the infestation is still in its early stages.
Method #3: Apply Insecticidal Soap
If the infestation is getting out of hand, then it’s time to roll your sleeves and get some insecticidal soap.
This kind of soap is also referred to as horticultural soap. The solution is composed of potassium fatty acids that break down the thrips’ outer shell.
In turn, they become dehydrated and eventually die off. Additionally, the soap suffocates the pesky pests.
Now, you can either purchase a commercial insecticide soap or make one yourself by following the directions below.
How to Make DIY Insecticidal Soap
To make the solution, you just need to mix dishwashing soap and water in a spray bottle. A tablespoon for every quart of water should be enough.
Remember not to overspray the Monstera, otherwise, it’ll show more symptoms of damage from overwatering.
Ideally, a spray every five to seven days is sufficient. Make sure to spray around every nook and cranny where the thrips may be hiding.
That being said, thrips eggs may be immune to insecticidal soap due to their hard outer shells. This is why consistency is crucial and you need to spray the hatchlings before they grow and breed.
Method #4: Try Neem Oil
For a more organic option, you can opt to treat your thrips-infested Monstera with neem oil. The oil’s active ingredient, azadirachtin, acts like a natural pesticide.
This compound inhibits the thrips’ molting process, in turn, stunting its growth and reducing its lifespan. More specifically, it targets the pest’s ecdysteroid hormone, which is in charge of molting.
To use neem oil, you can place 1.5 teaspoons of neem oil in a spray bottle filled with a quart of water. Then, pour a teaspoon of dishwater soap into the mixture.
Shake the solution and spray it every five to seven days. Not only will it help kill thrips, but the natural spray also prevents any future infestations.
Method #5: Treat with Water Pressure
If the thrips infestation isn’t severe, you can take the plant outdoors and blast it with strong water pressure to move the bugs out.
Nevertheless, this method won’t completely eradicate a large population. Subsequently, you can use other treatment techniques like insecticidal soap.
Method #6: Use Ladybugs
Rather than create a treatment solution or periodically spray your Monstera with pesticides, you can enlist natural selection’s help.
Yes, we’re talking about releasing ladybugs on the houseplant. These critters will enjoy feeding on thrips and what’s even better is that they also consume thrips eggs.
Pruning Your Monstera
Getting rid of all the thrips on your Monstera doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll continue living a healthy life. This is why you need to prune out all the damaged parts of the plant to start fresh.
To do so, you’ll need pruning shears and gardening gloves. Inspect the plant for discolored areas and cut them off.
If a whole leaf is damaged, then you can cut it near its parent node region. Otherwise, you can cut around small, infected areas.
Having said that, if most of the Monstera is infected, then you’re better off propagating the healthy parts.
Thrips Prevention on Monstera
- Wipe the Monstera’s leaves every week.
- Quarantine infected plants.
- Regularly spray the plant with a neem oil solution.
- Closely monitor your houseplant every week or so after purchase.
- Isolate newly purchased indoor plants.
- Close windows and doors during thrips active seasons, namely, May and June.
- Control any weed growth in the houseplant’s soil. After weed removal, apply 20-20 liquid fertilizer.
How do you get rid of thrips on Monstera? In short, thrips treatment is not limited to a single method.
That said, you can use insecticide soap, neem oil, and other solutions to control an infestation. Aside from liquid solutions, resorting to bug traps and lint rollers also work.
Alternatively, you can let nature do its thing and introduce ladybugs to feed off the thrips and their eggs. Once you’ve found a solution that works for your Monstera, you’ll want to take the next step and either prune or propagate the plant for a healthy future
Finally, don’t forget to follow prevention methods to keep the winged pests out of your Monstera’s hair for good.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.