Pests and Diseases in Aero Gardening

Thrips and Spider Mites

Pests and Diseases in Aero Gardening are common for many people in gardens, but those who have 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)

Red spider Mite on a leaf
Red Spider Mite

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.

Thrips

Thrips and Spider Mites
Thrips and Spider Mites

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

Aphids on the green stem of a plant.
aphids on the green plant
  • 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

Whiteflies

White flies are that, they look like moths

White fly on a green leaf
White Fly
  • 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

Fungus Gnats

Fungas Gnat crawling on a brown leaf
Fungas Gnats
  • 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

  1. 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
  2. Spraying
    • 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.

NOTE:

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.

Step-by-step guidelines 

what to do if you find that your plants have become infected. To clean:

Younger plants

  1. Unplug AeroGarden unit
  2. Remove the bowl from the base of your unit
  3. Lift each seedpod, with the plant from the Grow surface with care
  4. Turn on your sink tap gently
  5. Turn plants upside down
  6. allow the water to wash over the underside of the leaves, to remove insects
  7. Use a disinfectant and wipe down all surfaces of the Aerogarden and surrounding areas
  8. Check each plant for any remaining insects. Rinse again if necessary.
  9. Place each seed pod back into the AeroGarden grow surface
  10. Place grow surface back into the bowl
  11. Return the bowl onto the base of the AeroGarden
  12. Put the plug back into the wall
  13. Turn on power

Older plants 

  1. Follow instructions as above but keep un
  2. Prune out heavily infested and damaged leaves
  3. Place leaves in a plastic sealable bag
  4. 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.
  5. Replace the bowl onto the base
  6. Plug the AeroGarden back in
  7. Treat all indoor plants in the household at the same time at least twice a week to control hatching
  8. 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
  • Goggles
  • Clothing
  • 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

Plant Disease

Powdery Mildew

Powdery Mildew on a leaf
  • White powder over the leaves and stems
  • Cause stunted plant growth
  • Leaf drop
  • Yellowing of leaves
  • The plant can die if not treated

Downy Mildew

Downey Mildew on a leaf
  • 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

Gray mould on a green pepper, also known as a green capsicum.
gray mold on bell pepper
  • Spots on leaves, vegetables or fruit
  • Becomes fuzzy grey abrasions
  • Plants will continue to deteriorate
  • Brown and mushy

Root Rot

Brown Root Rot
Brown Root Rot
  • Dirty water
  • Pathogens grow in water
  • Wilt and turn yellow
  • Roots change from white to brown, smelly and mushy

Iron Deficiency

Iron deficient plant
Iron Deficiency
  • Plants 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.

==For further tips and and tricks==

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.

Best wishes

6 thoughts on “Pests and Diseases in Aero Gardening

  1. Aparna Bansal says:

    Thank u for this wonderful piece Yvonne. I have found three plants of mine with mildew, though they look healthy. And one whole lot of plants in my indoor garden patch has darker green stripes on the stems, that clearly stand out. I wonder what that could be?
    Thanks for the earlier articles on minerals and vitamins for the plants.
    Regards,
    Yvonne.

    • Yvonne says:

      I would recommend picking off the leaves of the mildew plants and feeding them with nutrients. A liquid nutrient mixed in the water, this will allow the plant to readily absorb the goodness much quicker than dry or granulated food. If your plants are outside, plants can have too much shade or there’s been lots of rain and it has affected your plants. I noticed here at home one Geranium plant sits under a tree and has mould on its leaves, we have had lots of rain and it’s quite heavily shaded. We moved the pot into the sun as geraniums are sun-loving plants.

  2. Parameter says:

    I like your assertion on aerogardening. Although it’s a form of garden keeping that is meant to protect you plants from pset and diseases through its controlled environment but still taking other precaution by been extra careful and observant is important. Thank you for highlighting sticky traps and chemical spray

    • admin says:

      Thank you parameter. what happens in the garden can also happen indoors in an AeroGarden. I have noticed many little bugs flying around the herbs sometimes and I believe the LED lights attract them. Thank you for reading and replying to my post.

  3. Lea says:

    I read through your article and immediately went to see if the plants in my room had any weird leaves, like the one you are writing. And I found that I had nothing yellow or gray to show. But this summer I had to fight with so many creatures in the garden, in the garden I had several diseases of both apple trees and roses. However, I am happy that nothing bad has happened to the plants in the room.

    • admin says:

      HI thank you for responding to my webpage. I have since found that LED lights do attract little insects that can infect indoor plants. I’m so happy you had nothing wrong with your indoor plants. What type of plants are you growing?

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