Pests and Diseases in gardens are common, but those with an AeroGarden system don’t seem to have any major disease or pests issues. What fantastic news! In my experience, it’s essential to take into account that pests and diseases are part of growing plants, and you may eventually have pest attacks even when you are doing everything right!
Growing plants indoors in your aero garden are just as much susceptible to pests as growing them outdoors. They are part of your aero gardening; even the best cleaning practices in your system can become under attack.
Where will I find them?
Pests are found on the leaf or the stems between the leaves of tomato plants, flowers, vegetables or herbs.
What do the little pests look like?
- Fine white threads
- Tiny black or green specks
- Sticky substance
If you think you have some pests on your plants, you can see them better with a magnifying glass.
What are the most common Indoor Plant Pests?
Red Spider Mites (Arachnids)
The Red spider mite is one little pest that is difficult to get rid of, it can infect plants very quickly if not checked often. To identify them look for
- Tiny red or grey dots– less than 1mm long
- They live under and on top of the leaves
- Most common indoor pest
- Not very noticeable until they do some damage
- Look for Spider webbing
- Remove with tissues by wiping the leaves gently on the underneath (you may see streaks of blood)
- It’s essential to check your plants daily for pests.
To identify thrips look for
- Tiny (about 5mm long) elongated
- Hard to identify, they suck leaves dry
- Look for small metallic black specs on the top of leaves
- Leaves my turn brown and dry
- May have yellowish spots
Aphids (plant lice)
Aphids are relatively easy to spot on stems
- Green, black or grey
- They weaken the plants by sucking the juice from the leaves and turning them yellow
- They are found anywhere on the plant and around the stems
White flies are that, they look like moths
- 1 mm long
- Similar to small white moths
- Easy to see
- When disturbed they fly away which makes them harder to kill
- Suck plants dry causing white spots and yellowing
- Adult fungus gnats are not harmful
- Plant growth can be slow due to larvae feeding on the roots
- Cause bacterial infection
- Plant can die
What to do when you find pests attacking your beloved plants:
There are several things that you can do to fight these indoor pests
- Use sticky traps, hang them around the room
- Blue cards are good for thrips
- Yellow cards attract the fungus gnats and whiteflies
- Place some of your cards close to your plants
- Avoid chemical sprays
- Do not spray while plants are in the AeroGarden unit or near the LED lights. Turn the system off and follow Step-by-Step Guidelines below
- Use organic pesticides or homemade remedies: Mix 2 cups of water and Pyrethrin-based insecticidal spray in spray bottle and Shake well.
Many Pests have grown accustomed to various control methods. If in doubt, contact by email or phone AeroGarden the hydroponics store or send an email and inquire about the best strategy for your area.
What to do if you find that your plants have become infected. To clean:
- Unplug AeroGarden unit
- Remove the bowl from the base of your unit
- Lift each seedpod, with the plant from the Grow surface with care
- Turn on your sink tap gently
- Turn plants upside down
- allow the water to wash over the underside of the leaves, to remove insects
- Use a disinfectant and wipe down all surfaces of the Aerogarden and surrounding areas
- Check each plant for any remaining insects. Rinse again if necessary.
- Place each seed pod back into the AeroGarden grow surface
- Place grow surface back into the bowl
- Return the bowl onto the base of the AeroGarden
- Put the plug back into the wall
- Turn on power
- Follow instructions as above but keep un
- Prune out heavily infested and damaged leaves
- Place leaves in a plastic sealable bag
- Apply the recommended spray for your plants as outlined below. Never spray plants while sitting in the AeroGarden because the spray will hit the light bulbs which may shatter.
- Replace the bowl onto the base
- Plug the AeroGarden back in
- Treat all indoor plants in the household at the same time at least twice a week to control hatching
- Check plants daily and repeat the steps if there are any further issues
Should I spray my plants to kill the pests?
Do not spray your pests with organic herbicides because they may not be suitable for your plant foods.
Organic pest Deterrent recipe
- 1 Tbsp liquid castile soap with Dr Bronner’s peppermint
- 2 cups of water
Mix well together in an empty spray bottle. Spray plants.
Health and Safety
Care should be taken when preparing sprays because of an allergic reaction to natural peppermint or parethium.
For Protection when preparing homemade remedies
- Wear gloves
- Label all spray bottles
- Place all spray bottles out of reach of toddlers and children
Avoid treating plants outside on windy days, in full sun or during a heatwave and dry spells. The recipes can destroy both useful and harmful organisms
- White powder over the leaves and stems
- Cause stunted plant growth
- Leaf drop
- Yellowing of leaves
- The plant can die if not treated
- Appears on the underside of leaves
- Yellowing of leaves
- Can be easily be mistaken for Powdery Mildew
Gray Mould, also known as Ash mould, or ghost spot
- Spots on leaves, vegetables or fruit
- Becomes fuzzy grey abrasions
- Plants will continue to deteriorate
- Brown and mushy
- Dirty water
- Pathogens grow in water
- Wilt and turn yellow
- Roots change from white to brown, smelly and mushy
- Plants that lack iron will also lack chlorophyll
- Leaves turn bright yellow with green veins
- Can be misdiagnosed
What to do
- Check the pH level of your water the ideal level of pH is 5.5-6.3
- Ensure the plants are getting the recommended nutrients
- Clean your AeroGarden system with water and vinegar
Be sure to check your AeroGarden plants daily.
I hope you enjoyed reading my article on Pests, Diseases and Pathogens. If you are an AeroGarden lover or would like to become one, I would love to hear your feedback on the systems, plants you have grown or issues you have faced and success stories.