Thrips are common houseplants pests and having dealt with them many times in the past, I can tell you they can be deadly.
However, what most people don’t take into account is that there are houseplants that are highly susceptible to thrips, and those could endanger your other plants.
In this article, I will show you the houseplants that thrips most commonly attack and why, as well as some that they avoid.
Here are the houseplants that thrips most commonly attack:
1. Dragon Tree (Dracaena Marginata)
Dragon trees are unfortunately very vulnerable to thrips, especially if the plant is getting too much nitrogen or is suffering from a lack of water.
The long leaves make it easy for the thrips to hide and crawl around on the plant. Also, because the foliage overlaps heavily, thrips even don’t need to fly off them, making dragon trees the perfect home.
If your dragon tree has got thrips, you can blast the leaves with a strong burst of water to remove most of them.
2. Chinese Evergreens (Aglaonema)
Chinese evergreens commonly get thrips too, and you will need to treat the plant with care if it has been infected. The best thing to do is to start with a thorough wash with a strong jet of water (you can use your shower on its top setting, but keep the water lukewarm).
When you have washed the leaves off, take a cloth and wipe the leaves with a mixture of neem oil and water. Work leaf by leaf and check the stems too.
You will need to repeat this treatment every few days until the thrips are gone.
3. Cheese Plant (Monstera)
Monsteras are very vulnerable to thrips, which seem to love their thick, bright green leaves. This may be because they have so much surface area, it is easy for the thrips to move around and stay hidden.
You can wash your Monstera, but if it’s large and difficult to move, get a soft cloth and wipe the leaves with diluted neem oil.
Make sure you wipe both the undersides and the tops of every leaf and then wipe the stems.
You will need to do this several times to get rid of the thrips entirely.
4. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
You might be surprised to learn that the peace lily is vulnerable to thrips, but again, it has wide leaves that the thrips seem to love. They can hide under the curves of the leaves and drink the sap, so look for them beneath the leaves.
You should be able to wash your peace lily under the tap to remove the majority of the thrips.
Make sure the water is lukewarm or cool, not hot or cold.
5. ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas)
Although a popular plant for its easy-going nature and toughness, the ZZ plant does sometimes attract thrips. Again, this may be a result of the broad leaves, which thrips can easily crawl around on.
If your ZZ plant gets thrips, you can wash them off, wipe the leaves down with a cloth, or spray it with an insecticide soap.
6. Rubber Plant (Ficus Elastica)
Rubber plants are also vulnerable to thrips because of their wide leaves, and you can also get rid of them using neem oil. If you don’t have access to neem oil, consider using an insecticide spray.
You should test this on a small part of the plant’s leaves first to make sure it doesn’t upset your plant.
If your rubber plant is small enough, move it to the shower and blast the leaves with water to get rid of the thrips.
Like most of the palms, yucca plants are vulnerable to thrips, especially when they are kept in less than ideal conditions. Thrips tend to gather at the base of the leaves of yucca plants, and it can be challenging to remove them.
If you have a yucca with thrips, try blasting them off with water, as this may be easier than trying to wipe individual leaves.
Don’t forget to separate the plant from others and use repeated treatments in order to get rid of all the thrips.
Orchids are beautiful plants that, unfortunately, are susceptible to thrips. Orchids will start to wilt and lose their flowers if thrips are sucking the sap out of them, so it’s important to look out for these insects on the wide leaves.
You need to handle your orchid gently if you are going to wash it, but make sure the water blast is strong enough to force the insects off the leaves.
You may also want to wipe the leaves with neem oil to kill the insects. Keep checking the plant regularly.
9. Radiator Plants (Peperomia)
Thrips are a common issue for radiator plants, and will damage the delicate leaves, leaving them with brown spots.
If you think your radiator plant has thrips, you will need to take it and wash it, making sure that you blast the undersides of the leaves as well as the tops.
Some people also recommend pruning off the infected leaves, but you should only do this if a small part of the plant has been infected.
Alocasia is a top favorite plant of thrips, and their ribbed leaves offer plenty of shelter for these insects. If you inspect the undersides of the leaves, you might see them clustered around the thick vein (particularly if the infection is bad).
Put your alocasia in the bath or the base of the shower and then turn the leaves over and wash them thoroughly and wipe them down.
Follow this up with neem oil or an insecticide spray.
8 Houseplants That Thrips Hate
There are, however, plants that thrips really hate. They can be grown as houseplants and can even help keep thrips and other pests away from your other plants.
Here are the plants that thrips hate and avoid attacking:
1. Basil (Ocimum Basilicum)
If you love basil already, the great news is it is not generally attacked by thrips. Grow some on your windowsill, enjoy the flavor, and get rid of the insects at the same time!
Basil aroma is strong enough to protect your other plants close by too.
2. Garlic (Allium Sativum)
Garlic is a strongly-scented vegetable that will put off thrips, and because its aroma spreads, it may even be able to deter thrips from attacking your other plants.
Try growing garlic close to plants that you want to protect from pests, and see if it keeps the insects away.
You can grow garlic indoors, although it tends to be more of an outdoor plant.
3. Oregano (Origanum Vulgare)
If you can grow a bit of oregano in your home, this will also help to deter thrips. Again, it has a strong smell that will put off most insects.
4. Citronella Grass (Cymbopogon Nardus)
Many insects hate lemon-scented plants, and citronella repels insects of all kinds, so it’s a great way to get rid of thrips. You may have seen citronella scented candles that are designed to repel mosquitoes – citronella grass is what these are made from.
So, if you can’t grow citronella grass to deter thrips, you can still use the scented candles.
5. Rosemary (Salvia Rosmarinus)
Rosemary can be attacked by thrips, but on the whole, they don’t like this aromatic herb.
They will usually only attack it if it is being kept in unsuitable conditions and has already been weakened by a poor environment.
6. Scented Geraniums (Pelargonium Graveolens)
Thrips, like most pests, will usually stay away from scented geraniums. If you want a plant that is pretty resistant to almost all pest invasions, try scented geraniums.
These plants produce scents that most humans find pleasant, but they are too strong for many insects.
If you are having a lot of thrips infestations, try growing some scented geraniums.
7. Lavender (Lavandula)
Lavender is not popular with insects of any kind, and this plant will repel thrips too.
At the very least, they will probably not attack it, so it should remain safe even if you have a thrips infestation.
8. Lemon Thyme (Thymus Citriodorus)
Like citronella grass, lemon thyme is unlikely to be popular with thrips. It isn’t completely safe from them, but on the whole, it’s less likely to get thrips than many of the other houseplants you might grow.
Do Thrips Attack All Houseplants?
Thrips can attack pretty much any houseplant, although there are some that these insects tend to avoid like Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, Scented Geraniums, etc. However, no plants are completely resistant to thrips so there’s no guarantee that your plant won’t get them, no matter what kind you grow.
Do Thrips Spread To Other Plants?
Yes, thrips will spread if your infected plant is close to other plants. They can fly, but not well. To avoid spreading, isolate a plant with thrips to reduce the risk of them getting on other plants.
Should You Throw Away Plants With Thrips?
No, you don’t need to throw away plants with thrips. Instead, isolate the plant so the thrips can’t spread and then treat it by washing it in lukewarm water and wiping its leaves with neem oil and water. After about 10 minutes, wipe the neem oil off the leaves.
How Do You Know Your Houseplant Has Thrips?
Thrips can be hard to see because they are so small. Put a piece of paper under your plant and shake the plant’s leaves. If you see tiny, elongated insects moving around on the paper, the plant may have thrips. You can then use a magnifying glass to correctly identify them.
Thrips are a nuisance species that can attack any houseplant, although they tend to favor low-scent plants with large leaves.
They like to hide on the undersides of the leaves, drinking the plant’s sap, and they often go unnoticed for long periods until the plant starts looking sick.
However, as you’ve seen there are cures, so don’t throw your houseplants away.