How to get rid of Thrips on Houseplants (indoors)

How to get rid of Thrips on Houseplants (indoors)

If you found thrips on your plant, I’m so sorry I know they are the worst. But I can tell you that there’s hope and in this article, I am going to share with you everything that I know about them so you can really tackle the problem and make sure that they are gone and they don’t come back. This article is perfect to get rid of thrips on monstera but of course, these methods will also be great on other plants.

Identifying Thrips

First, let’s make sure that you really got thrips before getting rid of them.

The way to identify them:

Identifying Thrips

Look at the plants and see what kind of damage you have on your plant. One very telling sign that your plant is being attacked by thrips is if you see silver-gray patches on the leaves and black spots around the leaves as well. A plant that commonly gets attacked by thrips and I can tell you that from my experience is the monstera.

If you have a monstera that is being attacked by thrips, you will see that the leaves are going to start getting yellow on the edges, and you will also start to see brown and dry spots on the leaves, either on the edges or in the center of the leaf. This is actually very evident if you look at the newer leaves.

With the new leaves, even before they unfurl, you will see dry and brown edges on the leaves.

If you do identify these damages, most likely you will have thrips but just to confirm because these can be for some other reason, you can look for the thrips themselves.

thrips are really small

I can tell you, they are really really small so you can also use a magnifying glass just to make sure but if you really pay attention they can also be visible to the naked eye.

So start looking at the bottom of the leaf, if you see very small white dots this may be the larvae. You can also look for the adults so they tend to be darker, in my case, the thrips that attacked my monstera were black and about one millimeter long so they are very small.

But if you really look into the plant, you will find them. If not, again you can use a magnifying glass just to make sure that you do have those bugs.

Also, read How to get rid of spider mites on indoor plants (4 Ways).

Thrips on houseplants – What to do first?

Thrips on houseplants - What to do first?

Ok so now that we know that your plant is being attacked by thrips, let’s just take a big breath and not worry, I am going to share with you step-by-step what I did to tackle the problem in my house.

The first thing that I recommend is that after reading this article you look at all of your plants and the ones that are being attacked by thrips just separate them from the others so they don’t attack the other plants.

Thrips Life cycle

Thrips Life cycle

The second very important thing is to understand their life cycle. This is very important because then we know exactly how to tackle the problem and where to focus our solution.

The whole life of a single thrip from the egg to the time that they die can be up to 60 days. So how does everything start?

Thrips actually lay their eggs inside of the plant tissue. Once they hatch, they become larva and they instantly start feeding. So they will feed on the leaves, stems, or buds.

Then they become the second instar larva, so they become a little bit bigger, they have a little bit more color, and they may be a little more visible to the naked eye if you really pay attention.

These are the small white dots that you will usually see underneath the leaf. Then they become a pupa. And this is important, when they become the pupa they actually fall to the ground. So they will be either on the soil or in the lower leaves of your plant.

And then they become adults and they have wings. Now, I can tell you thrips are not the best fliers, but they are so small that they can easily be moved by air to other plants.

This is why it is very important that you separate the plants that are being attacked from the healthy plants so you prevent a bigger infestation.

Also, read How to get rid of aphids on indoor plants (4 Natural Ways).

Getting rid of thrips on houseplants (indoors)

Getting rid of thrips on houseplants (indoors)

The first thing that I recommend you do is to shower your plant with high-pressure water every week. This is going to make sure that you get rid of the adults on the plant and some of the pupa and larvae.

If you have a big plant like the monstera, this may be difficult because you cannot move your plant so much so then just go to the next step.

And this is to use a solution with pure neem oil, rubbing alcohol, horticultural soap, and water. Then you want to spray your plant all the way, so the top of the leaves, bottom of the leaves, even the stems, and really clean it every week.

Secret Weapon to get rid of Thrips on houseplants

Secret Weapon

Now, here is a secret weapon. As I told you before from the moment that they hatch to the end of their lives, they are always feeding on the plant. So something that has helped immensely when targetting thrips, is systemic pesticides.

I have bought many of them because I can tell you thrips are very hard to get rid of. All you have to do is to stick them in the soil and then water.

Your plant is actually going to absorb this pesticide through the roots and it is actually very good protection for the plant because what happens is that when the thrips start sucking off the leaf, they actually suck this pesticide.

This is great on many different levels. First, you target the thrips from the larvae stage all the way to the adults. Because they are all feeding on your plant.

And second, it is very consistent, so you don’t have to be cleaning the plant so much because these are always going to work as long as you keep watering your plant and your plant can absorb the nutrients and the pesticide.

Given my experience, out of all the pests that I have had to deal with thrips have been the most difficult ones to get rid of. So I strongly recommend that yes you use systemic pesticides but at the same time always keep checking the leaves and if you can wash them and really clean them every week or every two weeks on top of using this pesticide.

So you really tackle the problem from all different sides.

Preventing Thrips + Thrip Control

And now, very important in order to prevent them from coming back, I recommend that you keep using a systemic pesticide. So it helps my plant grow and thrive and at the same time, it’s very good protection from thrips laying eggs, again and again, coming back to the plant.

Preventing and Control

Another way to prevent thrips is to use nematodes. These are beneficial bugs and beneficial predators that actually go against thrips or other pests that may attack your plant.

I can tell you, I have not tried nematodes yet because I am still learning about them, and also still getting used to the idea of bringing more bugs, beneficial bugs to my plants.

Also, I cannot say this enough always check your plants, in my case, I check them every week or every two weeks if I don’t have time and I try to clean them with my solution so this actually has helped me so much prevent pests and also prevent really big pests infestations.

So I would strongly recommend that you do that and also it’s a very nice time to just be with your plants and just be present with yourself and with nature around you.


And my friend if you found thrips in your plant, I am so sorry I know that they can be the absolute worst. But I can tell you that there is hope and you’ve got this. So if you use any of the methods in this article, I would love to know your experience so make sure to share in the comments below. Also If you like this article please share it with your friends and family. Happy gardening!

I am Fenil Kalal. Professionally I have done Engineering in Information and Technology. Gardening is my passion/love/favorite hobby and I have 5+ years of experience in Gardening.

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