How to Treat Thrips on Monstera Leaves?

Thrip’s life cucle (Source: Research Gate)

Isn’t it frustrating when your blooming Monstera suddenly starts to get unhealthy because of an attack from some tiny flies?

Despite your good care and love, your plants can get into problems. Especially when summer is about to end, insects get active looking for Monstera and other plants around.

Favorable conditions for these thrips can quickly breed in the plants.

Generally, tricks like creating traps, increasing humidity, water bursts, neem oil, pruning damaged leaves, using insecticides and pesticides can help treat thrips on your Monstera plants. Propagating the surviving leaves is also a good option if the plant is about to die.

Thrips-development-and-damage-symptoms (Source: Research Gate)

Thrips can be annoying when it comes to destroying our well-cared plants. They are mostly wandering outdoor in the garden.

These tiny flies or thrips are immensely destructive than we can imagine. They suck out the sap from your plant and makes it collapse if bred in large number.

Though they might be attacking and sucking the plant’s life, we can take solutions and preventive measures, as mentioned throughout this article.

How to Identify Thrips Infestation on Monstera?

Your plant might be suffering from pest infestations, and you don’t know what they are. You might be confused if they are your suspects – the thrips.

What are Thrips?

Thrips are flying insects that are white with tubular-shaped bodies. You can find some of them in black colors too.

They are tiny in size, and it is a struggle to see them. They are only noticeable because of their white color that stands out.

You can see the thrips hopping around than flying despite their wings.

The nature of quick multiplication of these flies can cause serious damage to your Monstera if not treated on time. They suck the juice out of the plant.

Most of the welcoming sources are the newly bought plant from stores, infected soil, and open windows.

Thrips in the leaf of the plant
Thrips in the leaf of the plant. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Identification of Thrip Infestation

Firstly, thrips suck out all the sap out of the plant and make a favorable condition for itself to lay more eggs on it. That is how they get the upper hand of breeding in large numbers.

When the liquid inside the leaves and stems is dried by sucking, they become brownish-yellow color and fragile. This state creates a perfect scenario for thrips to lay their eggs.

Different stages of Thrip (Source: NC State Extension Publications)

Your plant starts to change by showing some signs when thrips attack it. These are:

  • Tiny white flies hover around your Monstera leaves, stems, flowers, and soil.
  • At the top of the leaves, you might even see egg-like larvas, yellowish. Thrips can be on either side of the leaves but are most commonly found on the top side.
  • Diseased and discolored leaves upon pest infestation: brown or yellow dark patches with deformed leaves.
  • Monstera leaves droop, curl, or wilt.
  • Underneath the leaves, you will be able to see black spots.

Thrips usually attack middle-aged Monstera plants, and new ones are quickly destroyed if exposed.

Tip: Since it is difficult to view thrips with our naked eyes, you can use a magnifying glass to look around the surface areas of the leaves.

The Best Way to Treat Thrips on Monstera Leaves

There is always a way to treat the thrips on your Monstera plant. While you are thinking of eradicating the flies, be careful to handle your Monsteras.

Thrips bite! It gives a very itchy sensation rather than painfulness. So, it is always better to wear gloves and long sleeves as much as possible.

Even if they happen to bite you, wash the area with some warm water and soap.

1. Increase Humidity

Thrips love breeding in dry air. Your mist sprays will come to a great help here to keep your plants moist.

You can apply the following points as one of the ways to get rid of flying insects:

  • Try using fine misting sprays and spritz water from the spraying bottle on both sides of the leaves.
  • To treat fungal infections, you can also add some liquid organic soap to the water while spraying.
  • Another good way to get rid of the thrips is by blasting off the bugs with high forced water pipes. It makes the insects stick and dead with water sprinkled over.
Spritz water on the Monstera leaves
Spritz water on the Monstera leaves (Source: Pexels)

Though thrips enjoy dry air, they love moisture already circulating in the plant. For this, it is always better to:

  • Keep your plant well-drained by not overwatering.
  • Provide plenty of natural sunlight or even artificial lighting.

2. Luring Thrips in Traps

The easy way is to get insect traps that are readily available in physical and online stores.

Naturally, thrips are attracted to yellow, blue, and white colors. Please make use of these colors in sticky papers to trap the thrips. You can place them near your Monstera plant.

Alongside, there are various home remedies to trap thrips present in your Monstera plants. Sticky bug traps are easy to make!

Select any one of the paper colors or index cards mentioned above. Then apply non-stick glue, vaseline, or honey to it. Finally, you can put it on top of the plant/ leaves.

3. Manually Picking thrips

Few thrips on the surfaces can be handpicked too by wearing gloves. However, this does not seem practical. Most of the time, it is not that easy to remove them.

For this, you can use lint rollers. The electrical lint removers or the sticky ones can quickly suck in the bugs. Slowly move to the bugs’ breeding areas and glide it all over the parts.

It might not be 100% reliable since some of the thrips can be left out.

4. Remove Damaged Leaves

While the thrips feed on your Monstera plant, you might see some leaves that they damage. Prune those leaves with clean shears or a knife.

Prune off the damaged leaves.
Prune off the damaged leaves. (Source: Unsplash)

Try to use gloves while handling it because the sap of Monstera can irritate the skin to some of you.

Chop off the stem and leaves with yellow, brown, or spots.

5. Use Neem Oil

Applying neem oil in your infected plant helps remove the pest for good. It blocks their breathing tract and suffocates the insects to death.

Since it is pretty strong, please do not get it in other healthy plants. It can even kill other non-harmful bugs and insects. Insects like ladybugs are pretty beneficial for your plants.

How to Use Neem oil?

Spray the mixture all over the foliage: front, back, and underneath. Do not miss out on the cubbyholes too, where thrips are good at hiding in. Apply it for two weeks in a row.

Normally neem oil of 1.5 tablespoons is diluted with 1 liter of lukewarm water. Nevertheless, still, check as per the recommendation on the instruction label of the packet.

Neem oil remains fresh on the surface for about 1 – 2 days.

Place the plant in a shaded area until the oil dries. Therefore, spraying during the early morning or evening is a perfect time to stay away from the sun.

For more use of Neem oil, take a sneak peek at: How to Use Neem Oil on Indoor Plants?

6. Insecticidal Soap

If you see severe infestation, neem oil might not be enough. Use insecticidal soap (horticultural soap) for a stronger hit.

The soap includes potassium fatty acid that dehydrates the thrips by destroying its outer shell.

The soap is water-based, and once it gets dried, it does not work on thrips.

How to use Insecticides?

  • Spray the insecticidal soap in the stem and on either side of the leaves.
  • Before spraying, make sure your plant is well hydrated/ watered.
  • Only apply insecticides during evening time. Sun exposure during the daytime can affect the plant harshly with insecticides.
  • Try going for the whole plant, spraying every space of the plant.
  • Spray it every day continuously for 10 – 14 days.
Insecticidal Soap (Source: Etsy)

DIY Insecticidal Soap

It is very easy to make one in your own home. You will need:

  1. All-natural soap
  2. A spray bottle
  3. Water (tap water is also usable)

Mix the amount of soap and water in equal amounts.

7. Chemical/Organic Pesticides

Before spraying your pesticides, isolate your plant and keep it quarantined for a month or more while it goes under treatment.

Do not take near other plants until your Monsteras are completely free from these pests.

You can find good pesticides such as Bug killers. Since it is highly concentrated, it needs to be diluted with water as per the instruction in the packet. They react immediately after applying once.

You can also try Pyrethrin spray and BotaniGardES too.

If you are looking for a stronger one, then Isopropyl rubbing alcohol is the one that shows a quick result with few hours after applying.

Diatomaceous Earth is also an organic pesticide used by many gardeners to treat various pest attacks. They are readily available in many online stores.

Note: Diatomaceous Earth is friendly to both humans and pets without any side effects regarding cancers or other diseases.

Steps for Applying the Diatomaceous Earth Pesticide

  • Mix one tablespoon of Diatomaceous Earth with 500 ml of water.
  • Pour it inside the spray bottle and mist a thin layer all over the leaves on either side and cubbyholes.
  • After some time, it will start to dry, and the effect can be seen 24 hours after the application.
  • If you can still see those thrips or eggs, go for another round after a week.

Your Monstera will be pest-free for a few weeks. However, there are chances of relapsing again. In such cases, apply the above steps again.

If there is a severe infestation, we recommend using chemical pesticides, which are more potent and more effective.

8. Natural Predators

You can get the best out of the predators by attracting them or buying online stores. Inviting green lacewings and ladybugs is considered a very organic method.

Ladybug as a natural predator
Ladybug as a natural predator (Source: Pexels)

Free the ladybugs and lacewings in the areas where the plant has been infested with thrips. The bugs love feeding on the adult ones and even eggs.

You can just let the plant be in the garden and let the bugs come naturally. Place it outside only if the temperature is above 15℃ (59℉).

The whole process of making the plant completely pest-free takes a lot of time only after applying for weeks. Compared to other sure-shot products, this method has fewer chances of effectiveness.

10. Propagation

Lastly, if you do not have any hopes to keep your plants alive, propagation can be helpful to continue to sow another plant with the surviving leaves.

Monstera Albo water propagation
Monstera Albo water propagation (Source: Unsplash)

Stem-cutting propagation is usually common with Monstera plants.

1Locate a node in the stem from where a leaf grows. It is a brown and circular-shaped ring.
2Cut out the stem, including the node with at least two leaves. Wash it thoroughly.
3Dip it in the room temperature water without submerging the leaves. Be wary about the favorable conditions of the surroundings too to have healthy growth.
4Change water every four days to keep it clean. Slowly, the roots will start to grow in about 2 - 3 weeks.
5After you see the roots growing, plant them in potting soil after a month. By then, the roots will be at least two inches long.
6Do not fertilize immediately as the newly planted is still fragile. Take proper care of the plant to grow smoothly.

Tips to Prevent Thrips on Monstera Plant

As we all know about the famous proverb: “Prevention is better than cure,” it is always better to watch out and take preventive actions.

You can follow the below measures to prevent those nasty thrips:

  • Skim observe the neighbor plants if they are infected with thrips. It can be very contagious.
  • Keep away your newly bought plants isolated from the ones at home for a month to prevent diseases and pests.
  • Try to maintain your plant leaves by cleaning them. You can quickly sweep off the dust and dirt using a slightly wet clean cloth. It helps to block the roadway for bugs.
Keeping Monstera leaves clean
Keeping Monstera leaves clean (Source: Pexels)
  • The utmost precaution starts with your purchase. Before purchasing a Monstera plant, properly check the plants for infection or thrip infestation on the leaves, new growth, or stems.
  • It is always better to remove the top layer of the soil and fill it in with your composts. Doing so prevents a lot from removing the larvas or any other pests falling or resting there,
  • While your plants are outside, inspect the pests properly before bringing them indoors. It can infect other plants too.
  • Keep the doors and windows closed during their active peak period, especially in May and June.
  • Quarantine your plant immediately if anyone is infected. For you to be aware, keep inspecting your plants every alternative day.
Quarantine your Monstera plant upon the thrips attack (Source: Pexels)
  • Be aware of weeds growing in the soil. It invites thrips easily. For the solution, adding 20-20 liquid fertilizers after removing the weed is recommended for a healthy living plant.

Let us wrap it up!

As much as we love these gorgeous Monstera plants with their artistic holed leaves, thrips are also equally attracted to them. They love feeding on these bright, luscious plants.

Thrips are usually active during May and June, damaging the leaves and stems of your plants.

It is very important to take corrective actions at the right time since these flying insects are dangerous enough to damage the cell membranes of the leaves.

It is never too late, so start taking care and being aware of the symptoms to prevent thrip infestations. If already, then we have plenty of solutions out there, as mentioned above.

Keep planting and caring more.

Other than thrips, you can also check out the reasons and treatments for black leaves, curly leaves, and leggy Monstera plants.

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