Calathea Spider Mites: Effective Ways to Identify, Control and Deter Them

For many houseplant parents, the words “Calathea Spider Mites” strike fear and panic! These pests can cause your plant to lose its luster and decay, and calatheas are already a bit challenging to care for. But, no worries, I’ll explain everything you need to know to put an end to these pests.

What Are Calathea Spider Mites?

Spider mites are a genre of arachnids that invade plants moving through wind or other outdoor sources. According to their breed, they have different colors, and they live in the leaves’ lower part. They also exist in large numbers and multiply fast.

Spider mites are among the most problematic bugs to deal with. Unfortunately, you can’t see them with the naked eye, so you’re incapable of identifying them quickly. Here in this article, you’ll learn how never to lose your beloved plant against calathea spider mites.

How to Recognize Calathea Spider Mites

As you know, spider mites’ meal is the lower part of a leaf, so they’re hard to notice. However, you can notice their existence from the following symptoms:

  • You’ll find little white or yellow dots on the tip of the leaves or the needles, which are the spider mites’ eggs.
  • You can detect holes in the leaves.
  • You may see smooth, silky tissues attached to the leaves.
  • You’ll observe yellowish petals.

If you want to ensure that your plant has spider mites, you can follow these steps. Firstly, bring a blank white paper under the tree leaf, then tap on it. You’ll find black or red spots moving on the paper, and these will be the pests you’re looking for.

Spider mites can absorb the sap of your calathea and cause its decay. So, hurry to rescue your plant whenever you see the previously mentioned symptoms. And always beware because sick greenery can poison a neighboring healthy one.

You might ask yourself whether spider mites are dangerous to human beings. Well, some types of mites can be very harmful to humans. However, spider mites don’t harm humans by any means.

Hands holding Calathea Spider Mites on leaves

How to Dispose of Calathea Spider Mites

To say goodbye to spider mites, you can choose one or more of these natural and chemical treatments. They all work equally well.

1- Natural Remedies

There are several acts you can pursue to destroy spider mites. For example, you may get some herbivores, such as thrips, green lacewings, whiteflies, scale insects, or ladybugs. They’ll belittle spider mites’ number.

To make the best use of these predators, provide them with a suitable atmosphere to do their job. For instance, you can put the suggested plant in a pot with any of these herbivores, then cover the ground around the plants and water repeatedly.

You can also use oils like rosemary, chamomile, garlic, jojoba, or vegetable oil. To use this method effectively, bring a bottle filled with water and add a bit of your selected oil. If you want to eliminate unwanted spider mites, you can choose to use Neem Oil.

Moreover, hot peppers, such as chile, jalapenos, or bell peppers, can be helpful to get rid of these parasites. According to statistics, they can kill almost 45% of unpleasant mites.

To prepare the spray, you need one teaspoon of any kind of pepper and ¼ cup of heated water mixed with a bit of dishwashing powder. Then, leave it till morning. (P.S. use the spray on the upper and lower parts of the infected leaves)

2- Home Remedies

You can use some at-home products to kick out spider mites. Here are some tricks you can apply to do so.

Use Dishwashing Soap

The first trick you can do is to make a spray using dishwashing detergent. All you need to do is to put three tablespoons of it in one bucket of water. Then, shower the leaves of the infested calathea for a couple of days, and boom! Spider mites will be under control. Lastly, wipe the leaves top and bottom with a cloth.

spider mites on leaves

High-pressure Water

If you still have trouble with these mites after the first trick, you can apply the second one. Just get a hose with a spigot of high-pressure water and flush your plants. The water will blow the unwanted spider mites away. Doing so in the morning is preferable to give time for your greenery to dry.

Use Lemon Juice

You can blend three cups of water with two mugs of juicy lemons, then place the mixture in a bottle. Afterward, splash it on the sick leaves. And the leaves will be clear from any spider mites.

Rubbing Alcohol (Isopropyl Alcohol)

To use rubbing alcohol adequately, get some balls of cotton. Then, dip them in the alcohol and add one cup of water to the mix. Leave the mixture on the leaves for a couple of hours. After that, you may clean the undersides of the infected plants with a cloth.

3- Use Pesticides

Another method to eliminate spider mites is using pesticides, either organic or chemical. But before you use any pesticides, double-check the precautionary measures of using them.

Chemical Pesticides

Acaricides and miticides are two kinds of chemical pesticides that you can use to eradicate spider mites. They attack the bugs’ nervous systems and destroy them. If you’re buying any chemical product for your plant, make sure that they include one of the mentioned pesticides.

Organic Pesticides

If you have some fears concerning chemicals, organic pesticides are the best solution for you because they’re entirely safe for your greenery. Moreover, their various kinds, such as herbal tea mixture, salt spray, and insecticidal soap, can save your sick calathea from spider mites.

To prepare the herbal tea mixture, you need to boil cinnamon powder, tea, and grounded cloves with water. Let the blend cool down, then filter it. Afterward, put it in a spray bottle and apply it to your calathea.

The second method I recommend is to prepare a salt spray. You can do it by shaking water and salt in a bottle and adding it to your plant. This won’t only keep spider mites away; it’ll also boost the nutrition saturation of the soil.

The insecticidal soap method is beneficial if your calathea is totally full of spider mites. It’s used as a destroyer to the defensive cuticles of the pests’ bodies. To apply the spray, make sure that your plant’s leaves are wet on top and bottom.

Sometimes, insecticidal soap needs to be watered down, and once you do this, you can sprinkle it on your greenery. (P.S.: test the safety of insecticidal soap on one leaf to confirm that it won’t harm your plant.)

Reviving Your Calathea After Mites’ Attack

Most of us want to look after our plants and keep them away from any harm. In this section, I’ll provide some ideas to help you get your greenery on track again.

First, remove the plant from the pot to check whether the roots are in good condition or not. If they’re solid and white, they aren’t spoiled or deceased. Put them back into the pot after adding some fresh soil.

Secondly, get rid of your damaged leaves to give a chance to the plant to renew itself.

Thirdly, it’s time to make a small greenhouse: put your greenery in a partially closed plastic bag for one and half months. After the duration ends, return the plant to your house to let it accommodate the new condition.

How to Protect Your Calathea From Future Attacks

Here are a few tips to protect your calathea from future attacks:

  • Isolate the affected plant: keep it quarantined for at least a month
  • Rinse the leaves repeatedly, one time a month
  • Use a remedy to take care of your beloved greenery each month
  • Dispose of the harmful grass from the soil
  • Use proper fertilizers

Don’t forget to keep the atmosphere humid. As these mites love to multiply in dry circumstances, they’ll hate moisture. Therefore, you should always keep your calathea moist.

You can even buy a humidifier to keep the air inside your house cooler. You can also put all your plants together so that they can transpire.

Calathea Spider Mites

Wrap up

Although calathea spider mites are annoying and destructive creatures, you don’t have to execute your calathea for them. You have an excellent opportunity to save your plant if you pursue the tips we’ve mentioned above.

Always clean your greenery’s leaves, regularly detach the harmful weeds from the ground, make your garden fertile, and keep the atmosphere humid. If you do so, your calathea will be preserved from any pests, especially spider mites.