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What's attacking my parrot plant


By Glenys

United Kingdom Gb

There are fine brown cobweb like threads around the stem where leaves and flowers join and this seems to give way to tiny flying brown insects. The leaves go dry and start to fall. What is this and how can I treat/prevent it?

On plant Impatiens Niamniamensis



Hi Glenys welcome to GoY and Merry Christmas.

Sounds like your parrot plant has been attacked by my favourite nasty, the dreaded red spider mite.

Normally these sweeties hibernate in winter but I am assuming we are talking house plant here and if the temperature stays above 12o centigrade they will breed all winter. They love it warm and dry and there has been an increase in them since most people now have central heating. I once lost a valuable young palm tree to them when I failed to spot them in time.

Many strains are now resistant to a lot of insecticides but if you get one which contains bifenthrin from your local garden centre that should do it. You should also mist the affected plants with a fine water spray every day. Make sure you get under the leaves because that is where they like to be.

In severe cases there is a biological control Phytoseiulus persimilis which is another mite that eats red spider mites. This is very effective but is possibly a bit extreme if you only have the one plant. But do remember they can spread to other plants.

I got rid of mine with a bifenthrin spray which I administered every day by taking the plant out into the cold. At this time of year of course bring it back in after spraying but half an hour on a sunny day will upset the mites.

Standing the plant on pebbles in a bowl of water will help humidify as well but don't let the bottom of the pot be in the water.

Hope this helps and you get to the little horrors in time to save your plant.


23 Dec, 2008


Jon is right with his diagnosis and his bio control.Red spider also thrives in 'dead' air space- no air movement.

26 Dec, 2008


Sounds like red spider mite.

Not the end of the world but nasty little blighters.

Various things can work - systemic is best.

Suggest Google on cures for same and see what you get or browse/ask in garden centre.

26 Aug, 2009


hi i have a 2 year old parrot plant that is 3ft tall. however it is covered in tiny greenfly - but they are only on the flowers and it seems that that is where they are coming from. tried spraying with various insectisides but they keep coming back. please help.

31 May, 2011

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