The aglaonema plant, or the Chinese evergreen, is an easy and popular houseplant. However, this evergreen perennial can still be susceptible to bugs, pests, and diseases. Keep reading to learn how to manage some of the most common aglaonema problems. We’ll discuss symptoms to look out for, solutions to remedy them, and tips for keeping this plant healthy.
- Dealing With Common Aglaonema Pests and Diseases – The Essentials
- The Most Common Aglaonema Pests and Diseases (and How to Identify Them)
- Pesticide and Insecticide Solutions for Aglaonema Plants
- How to Use Pesticides and Insecticides for Aglaonema Plants
- Managing Pests and Diseases
- Wrapping Up
Dealing With Common Aglaonema Pests and Diseases – The Essentials
Aglaonema pest and disease symptoms include leaf discoloration, brown or yellow spots, and wilting. Luckily, there are many treatments for aglaonema pests and diseases. Some include preventative care, physical pest removal, and various pesticide products and homemade solutions.
The Most Common Aglaonema Pests and Diseases (and How to Identify Them)
Many insects target Aglaonema plants, but thankfully only a few diseases cause problems for these houseplants. It takes a keen eye and patience to determine which tiny pest is damaging your plant.
Fungal Leaf Spot
Fungal leaf spot may show up on your plant as either anthracnose or myrothecium leaf spot. You can tell it’s anthracnose if you see brown, round spots with a yellow ring. If you notice brownish-grey areas on the plant’s margins or leaf tips, it may be myrothecium leaf spot.
These types of fungal leaf spot can emerge due to overwatering or high humidity. Additionally, myrothecium leaf spot may appear if there is a high concentration of nitrogen in the plant’s soil.
Bacterial Leaf Spot
Bacterial leaf spot is another common aglaonema issue. It’s often mistaken for fungal leaf spot because it also appears as brown spots on a plant’s foliage.
However, you may be able to detect bacterial leaf spot with a few specific clues. If the spots on your plant’s leaves grow larger and take on irregular shapes, or if they turn dark brown, black, or tan, it may have bacterial leaf spot.
Mildew and Root Rot
Mildew and root rot can also affect your aglaonema plant. Mildew appears as a fuzzy, white growth on the upper side of the leaves. Root rot shows up as discolored, mushy, and rotting roots.
Both of these issues are a result of excess water or humidity. Mildew is often a result of too much moisture in the air or on the leaves. Similarly, root rot is a telltale sign of overwatering.
Aphids, Mealybugs, and Whiteflies
Aphids, mealybugs, and whiteflies are tiny pests that can feed on your aglaonema plant. Unfortunately, these pests can be tricky to spot at first.
However, you may be able to tell that they’re present if you see damaged or yellowing leaves, deformed new growth, or a black sooty substance on the plant. Additionally, dropping foliage may also indicate an infestation.
Scale insects are common aglaonema pests similar to those mentioned above. They’re small, hard-shelled creatures that attach themselves to a plant and feed on its sap.
Scale insects often go unnoticed until they’ve caused significant damage to a plant. However, they may be easier to spot than other tiny invaders. You can spot a scale insect infestation if you see small, brown, or yellow bumps on your plant’s leaves or stems.
Spider mites are a common pest among many houseplant species. They’re tiny, spider-like creatures that feed on plant material, leading to various issues.
Luckily, this pest makes its presence known faster than others by leaving a spiderweb-like material behind. They can also cause a plant’s foliage to develop small spots, turn yellow or brown, or drop prematurely.
Microscopic worms called nematodes can invade soil and feed on a plant’s roots. They’re a common problem in aglaonema plants, and they can be challenging to control.
The best way to tell if nematodes are present is to look for signs of damage to the roots, like discoloration, wilting, or dieback. You may also see small bumps or lesions developing on the roots.
Fungus gnats are small, black flies often found near damp soil. They’re not harmful to humans or animals, but their larvae can be damaging to plants.
A significant population of fungus gnat larvae can stunt a plant’s growth and harm its root system. In turn, this makes the plant more susceptible to other pests and diseases.
Luckily, fungus gnats are fairly easy to spot. They are small, black flies that will gather near the base of your plant.
Pesticide and Insecticide Solutions for Aglaonema Plants
Treating existing insect infestations requires more than just a wait-and-see approach. Removing any insects you see is the first step, but it will only deal with the lightest infestations. For more aggressive treatment without risking the Aglaonema Plant, try these recommendations.
Horticultural Oil and Canola Oil
Horticultural and canola oils are effective pesticides for Chinese evergreen plants. These oils work by suffocating the pests and creating a barrier to protect the plant’s foliage.
Common issues these oils can treat include aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies, scale insects, and spider mites. Use them on your Chinese evergreen when the temperature is below 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and the humidity is low. Additionally, it’s best to avoid these oils when your plant is actively growing.
Insecticidal soap is another effective solution for aglaonema pests. This soap kills insects on contact to help prevent an infestation from spreading further.
This treatment works best on soft-bodied bugs. So, it’s suitable for eliminating aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies, spider mites, and thrips.
Use insecticidal soap on your Chinese evergreen when the plant is infested with these or similar pests. However, too much insecticidal soap can harm your plants, so avoid using it as a preventative measure.
Other pesticides you can use to treat Chinese evergreen pests include neem oil and products containing pyrethrins. Neem oil is a natural pesticide that repels and disrupts the life cycle of insects infesting your plants.
Pyrethrins are naturally occurring pesticides extracted from chrysanthemum flowers. Many pesticide products contain pyrethrins as an active ingredient.
Use neem oil or pyrethrin products on your Chinese evergreen when the plant is infested with pests. Additionally, neem oil works well as a preventative measure as it won’t cause harm to most houseplants.
If you want to avoid applying pesticides, sticky traps work well as physical pest control. They have a sticky material that attracts and traps pests, which prevents them from invading your plant. Sticky traps can help with most types of plant infestation.
You can use sticky traps for your Chinese evergreen whenever pests threaten its environment. You can also place them around your plant as a precaution, as they won’t cause any harm to the plant or its habitat.
Homemade Solutions for Chinese Evergreen Pests and Diseases
In addition to the many options out there, it’s possible to create your own Chinese evergreen pest solutions with products you have at home. One option is combining dish soap and water to make a DIY insecticidal soap.
Another solution is to mix neem oil or mineral oil with water to produce a homemade horticultural spray. A final option is combining garlic, onion, and water for a DIY garlic spray.
Recommended Store-Bought Solutions for Aglaonema Pests
If you don’t want to make a remedy at home, there are several Chinese evergreen pest control solutions you can buy online. Here are a few options we recommend.
- Safer Brand Insect Killing Soap: This soap contains potassium salts, which work to kill insects on contact. It’s also OMRI listed for organic use, so you can feel good about using it on your plants.
- Bonide All Seasons Horticultural and Dormant Spray Oil: This oil kills insects like aphids and mealybugs. The active ingredient in this product is mineral oil, so it is safe for organic houseplant care.
Options for Treating Common Chinese Evergreen Diseases
Like with pests, there are a few different options for treating common Chinese evergreen diseases. One option is to use a fungicide. Fungicides are chemicals that work to kill fungi, which are the cause of many houseplant diseases.
You can also make a fungicide with items you may have at home. A popular remedy is mixing either baking soda or vinegar with water to create a natural fungus solution.
Another option is to use a store-bought fungicidal product. One useful product is Bonide Copper Fungicide. This treatment is made with copper sulfate, which kills common fungal diseases like anthracnose and mildew.
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How to Use Pesticides and Insecticides for Aglaonema Plants
Now that you know the most common aglaonema pests and diseases, and solutions for treating them, here are a few helpful tips to follow:
- Always read the label of any pesticide or insecticide you’re using, and follow the directions carefully.
- Wear protective items like gloves, a mask, and other appropriate clothing as needed when applying the product.
- Keep pesticides and insecticides away from children and pets.
- Over-using some pesticides can cause harm, so use them only when necessary.
- Pesticides and insecticides can work quickly to kill pests. However, they may not cure a plant if the infestation has caused too much damage. Additionally, these products won’t treat plants infected with a disease.
Managing Pests and Diseases
Here are a few final tips related to pest and disease prevention for Chinese evergreen plants:
- Keep an eye out for disease and pest symptoms, and act quickly if you see any signs of an issue.
- Regularly check your plant for pests and diseases, and remove any affected leaves or stems.
- Quarantine any new plants you bring into your home. Check them for pests and diseases before adding them to your collection.
- Maintain ideal growing conditions to ensure optimal health for your aglaonema plant. This plant prefers to grow in indirect sunlight (an east-facing aspect would be a great location for aglaonemas), and moist, well-draining soil. It will also appreciate regular watering and occasional feeding with a high-quality fertilizer.
Now that you’ve learned how to deal with common Chinese evergreen pests and diseases, you’re better equipped to keep this plant healthy at home. Your aglaonema will reward you by growing lush, vibrant leaves well into the future. By using the tips and solutions we’ve shared, you can keep your Chinese evergreens looking their best all year long.
If you’re looking for your next Aglaonema plant to add to your collection, see our in-depth guide to the best plant shops delivering Chinese evergreens nationwide.