Tips on how to Determine and Handle Them

The Christmas cactus is a beautiful blooming succulent. For probably the most half, this plant is extraordinarily straightforward to develop. It does properly with slight durations of neglect and watering schedule. This plant blooms in late December, proper across the holidays. Should you’re internet hosting visitors this season, you’ll need it to look wholesome and pest-free!

Even the best-intended houseplant gardener can run into pest points every so often. More often than not, they are often prevented with good plant care methods. Different instances, the pests have in all probability come indoors after your crops have had a pleasant summer season break outdoor. 

On this article, we’ll overview 9 pests you could find in Christmas cacti and stop or handle them.


A close-up of a group of small yellow aphids huddled together on a delicate pink petal. The aphids feed on the sap of the flower, using their sharp mouthparts to pierce the petals and extract the nutrients.
Outside aphids might hitch a trip in your Christmas cactus, inflicting foliage harm.

In case you are an outside gardener in addition to an indoor gardener, you’ll doubtless have run into an aphid or two. These tiny pests are way more frequent outdoor than indoors, but when your plant has spent any time outdoor, there’s a probability they’ve moved indoors together with your plant. 

You’ll doubtless see aphids on new foliar progress. These bugs prefer to feast on wholesome and juicy foliage. You might discover yellow or deeply mottled foliage within the presence of those pests. 

Aphids secrete a sticky substance referred to as honeydew, which may entice different bugs and create a breeding floor for ailments.

Aphids are sometimes inexperienced however can be brown or black. These tiny bugs are pear-shaped and have lengthy antennae. You might discover them on new progress.

Monitor your cactus after you convey it indoorsApply neem oil should you consider it was beforehand contaminated. This can smother any aphid eggs that is perhaps on the plant.

  1. Earlier than any chemical functions, rinse your cactus off in your kitchen sink or outdoor with a hose. This may knock the aphids off.
  2. If the aphids persist, start common utility of neem oil.
  3. Place a plant sticky entice in your soil. You could possibly catch a number of of those pesky pests. If not, then you’ve gotten taken care of the difficulty!

Fungus Gnats

A tiny, black fungus gnat sits on a green leaf. Its long, slender legs and delicate wings are visible in intricate detail and its antennae are raised as if sniffing the air. The leaf is smooth and slightly shiny, with a few visible veins.
Fight fungus gnats to guard from root harm and nutrient loss.

Fungus gnats are pesky little flying bugs, however their larvae do all of the harm. You will need to management the adults to manage the longer term inhabitants of those bugs in your plant. 

Fungus gnats are drawn to over-saturated soil. Good drainage is essential to prevention.   

The indicators of fungus gnat infestations are grownup fungus gnats. The plant will seem to have been grossly overwatered and affected by root rot. It is because the larvae are nibbling on the roots, which is able to reduce off your cactus’s means to uptake vitamins from its soil. 

These small flies resemble mosquitos. They’ll hardly ever attain ½ inch in size and are sometimes about ¼ of an inch lengthy. They’re silver or gray in look, with wings and lengthy antennae. They linger close to or within the soil.

The harm is within the roots. Above the soil line, harm will resemble that of an over-watered plant. Beneath the soil, the larvae will chew by means of and critically harm roots, leaving them open to fungal or bacterial an infection.

As a result of the damaging larvae are within the soil, it’s a good suggestion to quarantine your plant earlier than bringing it house or bringing it indoors. Use yellow sticky traps in your crops. They may help catch the flying adults. A two-week quarantine will make it easier to set up whether or not you’ve gotten an issue and deal with it.

Should you formally have fungus gnats, you possibly can start spraying neem oil or a pyrethrin spray. A soil drench incorporating Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis can be efficient at killing off fungus gnat larvae within the soil. Whichever methodology you select, please observe the applying directions for the most effective outcomes.


A close-up of a solitary mealybug, a tiny white insect with a waxy covering, rests peacefully on a leaf. Its slow, deliberate movements contrast with its delicate form, creating an image of quiet elegance.
Mealybug infestations should be swiftly addressed to stop fast copy.

Mealybugs are frequent houseplant pests. These bugs should not a giant deal should you catch the infestation early. They reproduce shortly, and small populations can explode earlier than it. That is when you’ve gotten a much bigger downside in your fingers. 

Mealybugs thrive in heat and humid circumstances, making the within of your own home a welcome spot for these bugs to feast in your Christmas cacti. 

These bugs will trigger harm, however they’re treatable. Preserve your eyes peeled for fluffy spots in your crops paired with discolored leaves.  

Mealybugs are small, however they seem like white fluffy plenty slowly creeping alongside in your crops.

Harm brought on by mealybugs might be discolored leaves and potential early leaf drop.

Placing your plant into quarantine earlier than including it to your assortment is an effective way to get began on the appropriate foot.

Do repeated checkups to ensure you catch the infestation early on, making removing simpler.

Begin by spraying with a hose to take away any mealybugs naturally. If that doesn’t work, attempt utilizing neem oil or a cotton swab dipped right into a diluted rubbing alcohol spray. Each of those will assist to eliminate your mealybug inhabitants.

Root Mealybugs 

A close-up of a plant's root ball, dominated by a dense cluster of white, cottony masses. These masses are teeming with tiny, soft-bodied insects, their bodies resembling tiny pearls or cotton balls. The roots themselves are visible beneath the infestation, appearing pale and fragile.
Like mealybugs, root mealybugs inhabit root techniques, inflicting wilting and harm.

Much like the mealybugs above, root mealybugs are scale bugs, however these buggers dwell within the roots of your tropical crops.

Root mealybugs can present up in your houseplants at any time. The one requirement is moist and heat soil. 

You will notice a white waxy layer on the soil floor. The plant itself might wilt solely because the bugs suck the juices proper out of the plant.  

Since these bugs dwell within the soil, it may be exhausting to detect them. Dig round round within the soil, and search for white fluffy bugs similar to the aboveground model.

Eliminating these soil-dwellers might be difficult. Start by popping your plant out of its pot and really gently eradicating as a lot soil as you possibly can from the roots. Take additional care to not harm them. After getting the dust eliminated, discard it. Place your plant in sizzling, however not boiling, water. Repeat this course of as wanted. If you really feel such as you’ve gotten the entire bugs out of the roots, repot into contemporary soil.

Making use of systemic insecticide is a surefire technique to eliminate root mealybugs. It’s greatest to take your crops outdoors when you apply this insecticide.

Scale Bugs

This close-up reveals a colony of scale insects feasting on the flesh of a cactus. These pests, resembling armored seeds adorned with delicate white cottony tufts, cling to the cactus's surface with their slender proboscises piercing the plant's skin to siphon off its life-giving sap.
Be careful for scale bugs when transitioning your plant indoors from out of doors settings.

Scale bugs might be present in nearly each backyard. Whereas some varieties of scale bugs are host-specific, there’s additionally scale that can assault nearly any plant you’ve received readily available. 

Scale likes heat climate. In case your Christmas cactus spent the summer season outdoor, monitor your plant for a number of weeks after bringing it inside. 

Scale bugs could cause lots of harm relatively shortly. They’ll seem en masse and hunker down in your plant till additional discover. Some crops are extra resilient than others to scale harm, however a heavy infestation usually kills your cactus. 

Scale bugs might be recognized as small bumps on the floor of leaves or stems. You possibly can take away them by utilizing rubbing alcohol. If the underside of the bump appears like a bug, properly it’s.

Scale harm can look completely different from plant to plant. Oftentimes there’s stunted progress, yellowing leaves, and leaf drop. This harm might be deadly to a plant if the size isn’t managed.

One of the simplest ways to stop scale bugs is by holding your plant wholesome! Scale likes to arrange store on pressured crops.

  • Preserve soil wholesome
  • Fertilize as wanted
  • Water on a schedule
  • Present adequate mild

There are a few methods to manage scale bugs:

  • Preserve your plant wholesome
  • Take away broken plant tissue
  • Use a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol to power the size bugs to launch from the plant, then get rid of them
  • Use neem or horticultural oils
  • Lastly, use a systemic insecticide for houseplants

Spider Mites 

A close-up of a Gymnocalycium damsii cactus battling a white spider mite infestation. These microscopic pests, barely visible to the naked eye, feast upon the succulent's lifeblood, leaving behind a trail of fine, white webbing. The cactus now languishes under the relentless grip of the spider mite infestation.
Handle spider mites shortly to stop leaf harm.

Spider mites are comparatively frequent bugs. These microscopic bugs resemble spiders. They’ve eight legs. The females have black spots on their backs. 

Spider mites can present up at any level. They may are available from outdoors or hop from one houseplant to the following

Signs will start as a yellow stippling to your Christmas cacti’s leaves and progress from there, resulting in bronze leaves and doubtlessly plant demise if you don’t attempt to eradicate the spider mites. 

Spider mites are almost invisible to the bare eye. You might discover the webbing they produce to guard themselves or the harm they go away of their wake.

The basic harm is yellow or bronze-colored stippling all through the leaves.

The simplest and greatest technique to stop spider mites from infesting your plant is to take excellent care of it. Be certain that your plant is getting the correct quantity of water and light-weight. Spider mites love a pressured plant, so do your greatest to keep away from that!

Dusting your crops or washing them off together with your kitchen faucet or out of doors hose is an effective way to maintain the mite inhabitants in test. Along with cultural practices, making use of neem recurrently will assist knock again spider mite populations.


A close-up of springtails crawling on a leaf with their spring-like bodies propelling them through the network of veins. Scattered among them is a fine dusting of scale-like particles glints, adding a touch of sparkle to this microscopic spectacle.
Monitor for springtails—potential indicators of extreme moisture and root rot.

Springtails are tiny bugs which can be extremely drawn to moisture. Rising to solely about 1/eighth of an inch lengthy, these tiny bugs could also be darkish in coloration or white. 

Springtails seem in areas of excessive moisture, comparable to bogs or very overwatered soil. 

Springtails should not essentially damaging however are a warning signal that you possibly can have a fungal problem, almost definitely root rot. 

Most springtails are darkish brown or black, however you may even see some white varieties as properly.

They don’t do a lot harm to your plant, however sign one other underlying downside.

Be aware of your watering. Christmas cacti ought to solely be watered each one to 2 weeks, relying on the quantity of sunshine it receives and the humidity ranges in your house. These bugs love overwatered crops, so preserve the soil on the dryer aspect.

Sadly, pesticides should not efficient on springtails. You possibly can take away springtails by hand if there’s solely a small quantity


A close-up of a tiny thrip insect with a slender, elongated yellow body and two pairs of long, thin wings perched on a green leaf. Its antennae are extended in front of it and its wings are folded neatly against its body.
Do a shake check to substantiate the presence of thrips.

Thrips are quite common bugs in all elements of gardening, from agriculture to our houseplants and all the things in between.  

Sometimes, you should have thrips in your house in case your plant was beforehand infested or had different infested crops. This might imply that you just introduced them house from the backyard heart, or your Christmas cactus might have change into a house for thrips whereas outdoor. 

Thrips might be tough to identify with the bare eye. Widespread indicators of injury are a silvery sheen to the leaves and a few oddly coloured stippling. Should you discover this inside your plant however don’t see any bugs, place a white sheet of paper beneath the plant and provides the pot a shake. They’ll fall onto the paper if they’re residing in your plant. 

These bugs are lengthy, slender, and darkish in coloration. Their larvae are small and will likely be yellow or inexperienced.

Stunted progress and curling leaves are indicators of thrips harm in addition to a silvery look to your leaves.

Sticky traps in addition to good gardening habits, can preserve monitor of the presence of those bugs.

Thrips are properly managed outdoor by pure predators comparable to parasitic wasps. Sadly, releasing parasitic wasps indoors isn’t an amazing thought. Fortunately, neem and insecticidal soaps work properly at eliminating thrips. Make sure you observe utility charges and schedule to maintain these bugs away. Prune away any contaminated foliage.


A close-up of a green leaf heavily infested with cotton whiteflies. These tiny, winged insects cluster densely on the leaf surface, extracting sap from the plant. The leaf is cloaked in a round, waxy substance excreted by the whiteflies, impairing the plant's ability to photosynthesize.
These flying pests threaten crops by sucking out the juices and inflicting secondary points.

Whiteflies are quite common plant pests, particularly indoors or in a greenhouse. Their small dimension makes it straightforward for them to maneuver indoors and out. 

Whitefly adults will lay eggs towards the top of spring. These eggs hatch in about two weeks, and their larval stage can final a couple of week earlier than the grownup emerges. The adults can grasp round for a number of months, getting ready to put eggs. 

Whiteflies have sucking mouthparts that they use to suck the plant juices out of your Christmas cactus. These bugs excrete honeydew, a sticky liquid that may entice ants and mildew points. As a result of whiteflies could cause different points, different than simply consuming the plant, that is an insect that needs to be managed. 

Grownup white flies are extraordinarily small and exhausting to see. They’re white and resemble tiny moths. Their eggs are discovered on the underside of leaves, sometimes in concentric circles.

Whiteflies suck out the juice of the plant. This may go away the plant showing weak and can trigger the plant to supply misshaped progress. You might discover yellow, dehydrated leaves in addition to dropping leaves.

Quarantine the brand new plant for every week or two to observe for a whitefly infestation earlier than including it to your different crops. You may additionally decide to spray with neem as a preventative measure. This can stop adults from laying eggs in your plant, and it will probably additionally assist management eggs that will exist already on the plant.

Earlier than you spray something, take the plant to your kitchen sink and spray it down. Generally this is sufficient to eliminate your whitefly downside.

Gardeners have had success utilizing a handheld vacuum to take away any eggs and to catch these fluttering adults. Watch out to not harm your plant!

You may additionally go for neem or horticultural oil. These are each simply discovered at your backyard heart. Observe the applying directions to be protected!

Ultimate Ideas

In relation to holding your Christmas cactus pest-free, the bottom line is holding your plant wholesome. Following good plant care tips makes you much less more likely to run into pest points. That is partly as a result of pests love pressured crops, however it is usually as a result of you’ll spend extra time up shut and private together with your plant and see if one thing appears a bit off. Preserve your chin up. You possibly can preserve these Christmas cacti pest-free and wholesome!

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