Spider mites on Gardenia

(Question)

I have a gardenia that I brought indoors after spending the summer outdoors. Now I noticed some webbing with tiny little bugs that look like beige or taupe dots on the flowers and leaves of her plant. What are they and how can I get rid of them?

 

(Answer)

The gardenia most likely has spider mites; these little creatures multiply rapidly so it’s important that you start as soon as possible to deal with this problem. The treatment is not difficult but will require vigilance and repetition until the infestation disappears.

Isolate the plant–spray it with water followed by insecticidal soap, especially under the leaves where the spider mites tend to congregate in their webs. Repeat every 5 days or so until the infestation is controlled. If the leaves are heavily infested, you might consider clipping them off, putting them into a sealed plastic bag and disposing of it.

When bringing the plant indoors for the winter, spray with insecticidal soap as a precaution before you bring it in. The change in environment from relatively humid and warm conditions outdoors to the warm and dry conditions indoors cause some stress in the plant.  Therefore, misting the plant regularly or setting it on a bed of pebbles with water will help to retain some humidity. Giving it a warm shower on a monthly basis will also help to prevent spider mites.