Indoor palm – Spider mites

Q: I received an indoor palm as a housewarming gift. The leaves have started browning and it appears to have cobwebs in between some of the fronds. Could this be spider mites?

A: Palms are famous for getting spider mites indoors. Mites love the low humidity of wintertime heated air. Here’s how to make them miserable. Put the palm in your bathtub, cover the soil with a plastic bag so it doesn’t get soggy, and spray the heck out of the palm fronds with lukewarm water. You’ll wash most of the mites down the drain. To treat the ones that are left, wait a week and then apply horticultural oil (Saf-T-Side, Bonide Horticultural Spray Oil, etc). The oil suffocates spider mites. Thoroughly coat the leaves every three weeks.

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