Mealy bugs on bird of paradise can be a real pain. They can suck the sap from the bird of paradise leaves, cause brown marks and even holes. Treating mealy bugs on bird of paradise can be done using a sharp, sprayer nozzle on your hose and dislodging the ones that are not holding on tight. Spray the rest with neem oil and repeat if necessary.
Mealy bugs can cause problems as they suck the sap from your bird of paradise leaves. This can leave them looking brown and tattered rather than a beautiful oval shape and a green-gray color.
This article will explore the easy steps to treat mealybugs on your bird of paradise plant including tips on how to prevent them.
1. Take your bird of paradise plant outside
The first step is to take indoor bird of paradise plants outside. This will give you more room to treat the problem and keep any mess out of your house.
2. Wipe or spray down the leaves with water
The first step is to try to remove any mealy bugs manually. You can squirt them off with a sharp spray of water or wipe the leaves and stems with clean water and a cloth. Try to dislodge as many bugs as you can. Wear garden gloves to avoid getting any on your hands.
3. Wash the leaves with a soapy water mix
After manually removing as many mealybugs from your bird of paradise plant as possible then you can wash the plant gently with some organic dish soap and water. This will help to remove any sticky bugs and can kill them off as the dish soap cover them.
4. Let the leaves dry
After washing or wiping the leaves it is important to allow the leaves to dry off. When you do the next step this will help to avoid the neem oil just washing straight off.
5. Spray the leaves with dilute neem oil
After cleaning the leaves spray them with a dilute mix of neem oil. This will help to kill off any remaining bugs over time. Neem oil is a natural extract from the neem tree that is concentrated for garden use. This can be diluted at home in a spray bottle. Buying neem oil in a concentrate is great value.
I like to mix it up and keep it in a spray bottle ready to use whenever I need it. A small bottle of concentrate will last for ages.
6. Allow the neem oil to dry
Once you have sprayed the plant with neem oil then it is time to leave it to dry. Do this early in the morning when the weather is cooler and avoid doing this process in the direct sun. The leaves can quickly burn if the sun is directly on them after being sprayed.
7. Bring your plant back indoors
Once you have sprayed your indoor bird of paradise plants, bring them back indoors. They will not be used to the outside conditions so it best to bring them back in. You can move them to a protected spot outdoors if it is protected from the sun.
Outdoor bird of paradise plants can be left in their position. Just avoid spraying them with neem oil in the direct sun.
8. Prune off excess leaves
Pruning your bird of paradise plant to remove any excess leaves to allow more air flow is a great way to prevent mealybugs from attacking. The more air flow and sunlight the plant gets the less likely they will be attacked.
Remove any leaves that have started to turn brown, are damaged on the edges or look overly torn. Leaves that have started to turn brown will not recover and grow back. Remove them by cutting them off with clean secateurs near the base of the stem.
Bird of paradise plants grow from an underground rhizome which will send up new shoots as the plant grows. Make sure you feed your bird of paradise with indoor plant food or pelleted chicken manure in spring to keep it growing well.
These old leaves can be thrown out if they are covered in mealy bugs. Avoid putting them in your compost so these bugs do not spread to other plants in your garden.
9. Allow more air flow
Allowing more air flow to your bird of paradise plant is a great way to prevent mealy bugs. They like warm and moist environments so move indoor bird of paradise to a position that they can get a cross breeze or near an open window.
Outdoor bird of paradise plants love an open and sunny position. This will help the plant to grow strong stems which will be more resistant to mealybug attack.
10. Avoid watering plants on their leaves
Avoid watering bird of paradise plants directly on their leaves. This will help to reduce moisture build up and creating an environment that mealybugs love. Instead water bird of paradise plants around their root zone. Deep soak the plant every week or two in summer rather than watering it everyday.
Too much water can cause root rot and weaken the plant. This will make it easier for mealybugs to attack.
11. Keep outdoor bird of paradise plants in a full sun position to prevent pests
Outdoor bird of paradise plants will thrive in a full sun position and this will help to keep pests away. These drought hardy plants will grow larger, faster and stronger in a full sun position. You should also see more flowers when they are getting plenty of sunlight.
How to Treat Mealybugs on Bird of Paradise | Summary
Mealybugs can be treated with easy and natural methods. Wash them off with warm soapy water and then follow this up with some neem oil. Neither of these ingredients will harm your bird of paradise, other animals or pets. Neem oil is a naturally derived extract that won’t harm good insects either like bees.
Mealybugs can cause a lot of damage to your bird of paradise plant if untreated. Get rid of them as soon as possible before they breed up, their population explodes and they cause even more damage to your plants.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.