Lucky Bamboo can be subject to an infestation of spider mites. Here’s how to prevent this common pest and also how to treat your plants.
Plants and pests go together like macaroni and cheese – if you have one, the other is bound to make an appearance. My friend presented me with a sickly-looking Lucky Bamboo leaf and I knew right away what it was. As long as I was helping her out, I thought I’d share this with you too. Here’s the scoop on Lucky Bamboo and spider mites – how to prevent them as well as how to treat them.
Lucky Bamboo care is very popular on our blog so I want to do a couple more posts on this fascinating plant. Yours might get spider mites at some point so it’s best to be prepared. My friend’s plant is badly infested and at this point, I’m not quite sure it’ll recover. It’s fairly common for houseplants to get an infestation, especially in the fall when the heat goes on. Oh, how spider mites love that dry heat – they seem to appear out of nowhere!
How to Prevent Spider Mites from Infesting Lucky Bamboo
It’s super easy to prevent spider mites from feasting on & taking over your Lucky Bamboo.
How to Treat Spider Mites
Lay the Lucky Bamboo stalks (or arrangement) down in the sink. You can do this in the shower too.
Completely spray, using a bit of force but not a fire hose blast, the undersides of the leaves. Make sure you do this thoroughly because the spider mites & their eggs hang out here where it’s more protected. I spray the stalks too in case any are creeping downwards.
Spray the upper sides of the leaves making sure the nodes are sprayed out too.
Spider mites are teeny tiny & aren’t visible to the eye so I do this simple preventative treatment every month. Plus, the Lucky Bamboo seems to enjoy the monthly spa treatment!
Spider mites are hard to identify until the damage is already done because they’re so minuscule. These pests are difficult to see without a magnifying glass but can be red, greenish or light brown. If you think your plant is infested with them, just put a piece of light colored paper under the leaf and tap, tap, tap.
Giving my Lucky Bamboo a good spray down in the kitchen sink.
How to Treat Spider Mites on Lucky Bamboo
With homemade treatments. Here’s the way I’ve always made a soap/oil spray: Mix 1 tablespoon mild dish soap or Dr. Bronner’s, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil & 1 cup water. This works for mild infestations.
This is effective also: Mix 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (white vinegar is fine too) with 1 cup of water, 1 t of baking soda & a few drops of mild dish soap into a spray bottle.
I don’t use chemicals so these are considered to be “natural controls”. They include horticultural oil, insecticidal soap & neem oil. You can do a little research & see which would best for you.
Here are some options: insecticidal soap ready to use, insecticidal soap concentrate, horticultural oil ready to use, horticultural oil concentrate, neem oil ready to spray & neem oil concentrate. This 1 lists itself as a houseplant & garden insect killer.
Good to know regarding the treatment method:
Control spider mites as soon as you see them. Once the infestation gets bad, they’re hard to get rid of. Your plant may not recover.
If you choose to spray as your method of control, you’ll need to repeat. Follow the instructions on the bottle as to how often. A homemade spray you can repeat every 7 days. It might take 3-4 rounds to control the pests. Make sure the plant isn’t stressed before spraying. And, don’t spray in the hot sun.
Don’t overdo it on the ratios – you can burn the plant.
It’s very, very, very important to spray the undersides of the leaves thoroughly. That’s where these pests & their eggs hang out.
What’s that they say about an apple a day?? Spider mites travel from plant to plant so it’s better to prevent rather than wait too long. Plus, you and your Lucky Bamboo will be so much happier!