Indoor herb plants

I finally decided to try and grow my own herbs. I bought basil and thyme plants to start. Both have tiny ants and flies that they either came with or attracted, while my window was open. Is this normal? Cause for concern? Is there a way to get rid of the pests?

  • Posted by: ATG117
  • September 15, 2013


ATG117 September 16, 2013
smslaw September 16, 2013
You probably have white fly, an annoying pest common on indoor plants. Like others suggested, put a squirt of dish soap in a spray bottle filled with water and spray the plants. If they are small enough, fill the sink, add a bit of soap, invert the plant (use your hand to keep the soil from falling out) and put the entire plant under water for a few seconds.
jilhil September 16, 2013
Soap to water ratio is very small @ 2% soap. If you are sure the problem is not the plants but the soil you can either take them back to the person who sold them to you; try repotting them into fresh potting soil and throwing out the old soil; or if you don't want the bother of options one or two toss the plants and buy new ones. I'd suggest trying the soap water first because it's cheap, easy and you have nothing to lose. You spray the soap solution on the leaves of the plant. If it works, then just be sure to rinse the herbs well before you use them to remove the small amount if soap residue.
ATG117 September 16, 2013

Thanks all. Any guessyimate on ration if aoap to water? Do a I spray the soap mixture at the leaves or the soil? On closer inspection, the leaves seem fine, and I do believe the pests are in the soil.
I'm assuming that spraying with soap and water won't make my herbs taste of soap?
Also, are we sure there's no need to ditch them?
louisez September 15, 2013
Safer's soap has worked well for me. At the end of the outdoor growing season, I use it on herbs that I hope to winter over. I haven't done too well with basil, but have had great luck with rosemary, thyme, oregano, and chives. I can't tell you about the "plant garden," but whatever option you choose, I wish you happy growing.
jilhil September 15, 2013
The Trader Joes multi-herb pot won't fit well
on a standard windowsill, so they aren't great for indoors unless you have a wide sunny spot where you can place the pot. Plus, those pots always seem to include a relatively aggressive herb like mint that tries to take over. I've always preferred individual pots over the multi-pots.

For the dish detergent option just add a few drops to a spray bottle filled with water, shake it it up then start spraying. It won't hurt the plants at all.
ATG117 September 15, 2013
How would I use the dish soap in applying it to the plant? Now wishing I'd gone with rosemary!

By the way, after I bought these at the farmers market, I saw a "plant garden" at Trader Joes. It was quite pretty and contained all different herbs smidgen into one pot? Would that work?
boulangere September 15, 2013
I agree, Ms. Maine - rosemary is hardy as can be, and can even stand some abuse, which if a plant in my house, is a good thing. A mild (very mild) solution of dish soap and water will help rid your plants of pests also.
mainecook61 September 15, 2013
Ants are often a sign that you have aphids. Look closely at the leaves. The plants could well have had insect problems when you bought them. An organic insect spray like Safer's will solve the problem. Basil can be tricky indoors. I have had great success with rosemary, which grows to great size indoors, is a beautiful plant, and does not seem to attract insects.
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