Treat Houseplant Pests with Non-Toxic “Green Solution”

Hi Judy,

I just recently purchased a chinese evergreen. What a beautiful plant! I am new to indoor plants so I’ve been searching on the internet to learn how to care for them and came across your web page. What a great site! Anyways, I had read up on the chinese evergreen and became aware of possible pests so I had closely examined the plant and noticed very small cotton ball substances. According to your site they are mealy bugs. I am going to make the green solution but don’t know what kind of alcohol I need. Could you identify it to me so that I can save my lovely plant?

Hi Cheryl,

I am so glad you like the site!  It does sound like your plant has Mealy Bugs. You can use the least expensive rubbing alcohol that you find in any store to make the “Green Solution.” Set your plant on some plastic or newspaper or in the kitchen sink before spraying it. Be sure to protect tables, carpets, and hardwood floors before treating your plant.

Green Solution: Non-Toxic Plant Spray

If you don’t want to use a commercial chemical product to treat plant pest problems try the “Green Solution.” This is a mixture of water, alcohol, biodegradable liquid soap, and mineral oil. Always test any spray on one or two leaves to be sure it won’t damage the plant. Depending upon how severe the infestation is, you can use these ingredients in varying proportions. If there are only a few pests, dip a Q-tip in alcohol and gently swab them off. For a more widespread problem, start by using a spray of warm water mixed with a few tablespoons of biodegradable soap. If that doesn’t cure the problem, make a solution using 8oz. water and 8oz. alcohol, add two tablespoons of biodegradable soap, and two tablespoons of mineral oil. Spray all areas of the plant. Use this solution on leathery leafed plants (except palms), never on fuzzy leafed plants like African Violets or Begonias. For palms, omit the alcohol from the Green Solution. Never spray a plant that’s sitting in the sun or one with very dry soil. Protect floor, tables, and carpets before spraying the plant.