How do you feel about cockroaches? Yes, there is only one feeling you can have about them: pure disgust.
You could like bees, bees are cute, they have a job and they are useful. You could even like spiders, ladybugs and other insects, but roaches…they are kind of like mosquitoes, bad and useless.
Unfortunately, cockroaches are extremely hard to get rid of.
There are things in the common household roaches just love and once they move in, they are there to stay. Sometimes, they even love houseplants.
I have caught roaches on my plants when I used to have them in the house, and I heard a few more people having the same problem, so what’s going on?
Do houseplants attract roaches?
In short, houseplants don’t typically attract cockroaches. However, if you use leftover food as fertilizer or create high humidity conditions in your houseplants, it can invite cockroaches as they are attracted to food, moisture, and dark cracks where they can lay eggs.
I think roaches on houseplants is usually a misread of the situation, let me explain:
The problem with cockroaches and why they are so persistent is that our homes provide the ideal conditions for them to thrive.
They just need food, warmth, moisture, and shelter, all in ridiculously small quantities.
Dirty homes in particular are perfect for cockroaches because they have all they need for their population to explode.
Naturally, if the house becomes overwhelmed with cockroaches they will end up in the houseplants too, which can trick people into thinking that houseplants are what actually attracts them.
- Here is the Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth I recommend, it even comes with a powder duster- HARRIS Diatomaceous Earth
- As far as plants go, Catnip the most effective at repelling cockroaches - OurPets Cosmic Catnip
Roaches aren’t just ugly, but they are disgusting, they stink, carry disease and aggravate allergies and asthma. Some of them fly…lord almighty, have you tried killing a cockroach and the next second they suddenly started flying through the room? Awful.
Let me tell you a story, I remember when I used to live in a shared house as a student, which inevitably means roaches.
One day we saw one just walking around like he owned the place, so, one of my roommates got a shoe and threw it at the roach. What happens next still haunts my dreams. It started flying.
It’s been more than 10 years and I will always remember the moment when that roach took off.
But this story has a happy ending. Not only I haven’t seen a cockroach in my house for a long time, but they haven’t desecrated any of my houseplants.
I am here to tell you the best ones, so, let’s look into that further.
Ok, let’s say you get up in the middle of the night and want to have a glass of water. You go into the kitchen, turn on the light and your houseplant has cockroaches stumbling upon each other trying to make their getaway.
Disgusting, I know, but we’re here to find solutions.
To get rid of roaches on your houseplant, sprinkle it with a light coating of food-grade diatomaceous earth.
Sprinkle it on the leaves, crevasses, soil and everywhere the cockroaches can hide. It will break down their exoskeleton and dehydrate them, killing them as fast as 12 hours, while being safe for the plant, humans, and also pets.
But beware, because it can be a signal of a wider problem. As such, the first step to take is doing everything you can not provide the environment they like in the first place.
When we say roaches, we are talking about different species. They can have different needs but all of them like food, humidity, and shelter. This means that if our houseplants provide such conditions, it’s going to be a party.
Some people might be tempted to use vinegar on plants to repel cockroaches, but no matter what, please, please don’t spray your houseplant with vinegar. That can be dangerous for your plant and it might even kill it for good. Read more about it in this article, where I talk about the effect vinegar can have on houseplants and a quick rescue guide for your houseplants if you sprayed them with vinegar.
How to avoid cockroaches getting in your houseplants in the first place, quick guide:
Tidy up your house if necessary
I know it can be hard to admit, but take an honest look at your house.
Dirty homes are the ones that provide the perfect conditions for cockroaches. If you have food on the counter, dirty dishes in the sink or food crumbs on the floor start by cleaning those out. If you have leaky pipes that provide humidity for the roaches, fix them too.
Cockroaches will prefer a sink full of dirty dishes rather than your houseplants, but all of these conditions make cockroaches adore your house and overwhelm it, which means it will inevitably get on your plants too.
Avoid indoor trees
Out of all plants, indoor trees seem to be a cockroach’s absolute favorite.
Some species of cockroaches like digging into the soil and hiding in there. Indoor trees can provide a lot of places to hide and they usually have a high humidity requirement. They might also shed leaves that provide a dark, humid environment for cockroaches to hide and feed.
Avoid tropical plants
Tropical plants have a high humidity requirement. They need a lot of water and less direct sunlight, which means they provide a dark humid environment, which cockroaches love.
Don’t use outdoor soil on your houseplants
This is a big way for people with sparkling clean houses that never had roaches to get some.
Cockroaches are everywhere, they live and lay eggs in outdoor soil and around outdoor plants, especially in humid conditions.
If that outdoor soil has roach eggs, they will get carried inside and hatch. This way, your houseplant becomes the home for roaches brought from the outside, without you even realizing it.
So, use a clean potting mix instead of outdoor soil if you’ve ever seen cockroaches or bugs around and don’t replant outdoor plants inside either. If you really want to do it, remove as much soil from the roots as possible, and make sure the plant is clean.
Don’t overwater and keep your plant healthy
If you overwater your plants, they will attract mold and eventually rot.
If you’re interested in this topic and want to know more about the effect of mold on houseplants and how to get rid of it, here’s an article I wrote on that.
Humidity and decay attract roaches and can provide them with some food supply. Not only that, but leftover water in the tray will provide water for thirsty roaches. Be careful and try to water only as much as necessary.
Don’t use leftover food as compost for your houseplant
This one is a no-brainer. Leftover food works great as compost, just not if you have cockroaches.
If your house is sparkling clean otherwise, this is all the food and water they need.
Banana peels, eggshells, kitchen scraps, manure, coffee grounds, you name it, cockroaches will feed on it so use liquid store-bought fertilizer if you have a roach problem.
Now, let’s say you have all of that in order, but you don’t have access to food-grade diatomaceous earth or insect diatomaceous earth for that matter.
What do you do about it?
Easy homemade cockroach trap that works every time
Do it yourself cockroach trap – easy steps:
Grab yourself a classic empty jar, mayonnaise or peanut butter one will do.
Make a ramp out of paper to help the cockroaches climb into the jar.
Make the inside of the jar slippery with petroleum jelly, vaseline, or any type of oil. This is done so the roaches cannot get out.
Inside the jar, put a banana peel or a ripe fruit, the smellier the better. Make sure the fruit is not big enough for them to climb on it and get out.
Move the jar as close as possible to your houseplant.
This is not necessary, but I recommend placing some bay leaves on the soil of your houseplant, if you have them available of course. Roaches dislike them and it will determine the roaches to move on from the plant. Cucumber peels also do a good job.
The cockroaches will get out of your houseplant and get into the jar to eat the food. They won’t be able to get out because of the vaseline and they’ll die in there.
You can finish them off with some hot boiling water when the jar is full or the plant is clean.
But wait, there’s more.
What plants do roaches hate?
The plant world is full of surprises and they don’t disappoint this time either. Having trouble with some of the most disgusting creatures on the face of the earth?
Plants are here to help!
You can actually have houseplants that roaches absolutely despise. Not only will roaches not climb or feed on them, but these plants will help you get rid of roaches altogether.
Here the 3 plants you can keep in your house to get rid of roaches:
Catnip can absolutely be a good houseplant as long as you have enough sun and don’t have cats.
When it comes to roaches, they absolutely hate catnip. They hate it so much that the oils catnip produces are more effective in keeping roaches away than common insect repellent.
Just keep in mind that catnip needs at least 6 hours of sun a day so don’t keep the plant more than 3ft away from a sunny window.
Other than sunlight, water, and good drainage, it doesn’t need anything else and it’s not particularly hard to grow.
Apparently, the same thing that attracts cats repels roaches very effectively, if you don’t believe me click here for a scientific explanation about how it works.
If you don’t want to grow Catnip, here is where you can get high quality Catnip at a great price.
As always, I recommend growing your own, it’s cheaper and you get one more plant in your life. If you grow catnip, roaches will stay at least 10 ft away from the plant.
Rosemary is another plant that cockroaches hate the smell of. I have grown rosemary many times and I absolutely love the flavor scent it has.
What makes it special is that it is really easy to grow. Being a Mediterranean herb, it needs a lot of sunlight and that’s about it.
It’s highly resistant to drought and can even acclimate to less sunlight if you don’t have that much to offer.
Growing rosemary is a great way to keep your house roach free and have a great fresh ingredient.
Cockroaches dislike mint and (most) people love it. Mint is not as hated as catnip or rosemary, but it will definitely have noticeable effects.
I have been growing mint for years, simply because there is nothing as good as having fresh mint for tea or to cook up with some lamb.
Growing mint indoors is easy, the secret is water. Mint is a thirsty plant, so if you water it once or twice a day and have good drainage, you are good to go. It prefers sunny windows but can do well in the shade as long as it’s watered enough.
If you don’t want to grow any of these or can’t, you can use them effectively to repel roaches from your houseplants by using the store-bought version of them.
There you go, not only are roaches not an excuse for not having houseplants, but your plants can actually help you combat those disgusting small creatures for a cleaner and healthier environment.