How to kill spider mites on plants

Written by jennifer eblin
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How to kill spider mites on plants
Well-watered and regularly misted plants can deter spider mites. (Plant image by Platinum Pictures from

It takes only a few weeks for a spider mite to reach maturity and start laying eggs in your houseplants. This is even more troublesome when you consider that each spider mite is able to lay thousands of eggs. The mites feed off the cells in your plant, causing serious damage and even death to the plants. They appear on all types of plants, including those grown in the house and those grown outside. It’s important that you treat the plants and kill the spider mites as soon as possible.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Magnifying glass
  • Water
  • Plant sprayer
  • 4 to 5 tbsp dish washing soap
  • 1 cup rubbing alcohol
  • Miticide

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  1. 1

    Identify signs of a spider mite infestation with a magnifying glass. Hold the glass over the plant, looking for small black or brown dots no larger than a poppy seed. Discolouration on the leaves and leaves with chewed-off ends or edges are other signs of a spider mite infestation.

  2. 2

    Spray the leaves and flowers of the plant with water and continue to water the plants regularly. Spider mites tend to gravitate toward plants with a high level of dryness. The water also washes away any webbing or debris left by the mites. You'll also want to keep the plants out of direct sunlight, which can zap the moisture from the plants.

  3. 3

    Combine 4 to 5 tbsp of dish washing soap with 1 gallon of water and pour in a plant sprayer. Spray underneath the leaves of the plant, to kill the spider mites. The spray kills the spider mites as soon as it touches them. Use the spray for at least a week to stop the infestation.

  4. 4

    Mix 1 cup rubbing alcohol with 1 cup of water and add to a plant sprayer. The rubbing alcohol kills any spider mites it touches. The water dilutes the rubbing alcohol enough that it shouldn’t harm the plant. Spray over the whole plant, especially around the bottoms of the leaves, where the spider mites live.

  5. 5

    Use a miticide on the plant if the home remedies fail to work. Miticide products are specifically designed to kill the spider mites and other mites on your plants without damaging or harming the plant. Simply spray the product directly on the leaves and repeat until the spider mites die off.

Tips and warnings

  • If you don’t catch the infestation in time, the spider mites can take over your plant. No matter what you use, the plant is beyond saving.

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