Pests in Container Gardens: How to Keep Them at Bay

Last Updated on April 15, 2024 by Real Men Sow

Gardeners of all types share the problem of controlling pests in container gardens. Because container gardens are easier to access and require frequent watering, it is possible to spot problems before they become serious.

It is essential to take action as soon as possible if you notice a problem. This will either save the plant or prevent it from getting worse. To ensure that your indoor plants don’t get harmed by the elements, take them outside in the summer.

Etiquette to Prevent Pests in Container Garden

Not Reusing Potting Mix

Avoid pests in container gardens by not reusing potting soil. This is especially true if the soil is used to grow plants affected by bacteria or fungus. Even though the soil may look fine, it could be contaminated with disease. It may also contain insect eggs or larvae that cannot be seen. You can either pitch the soil or put it in your compost.

Making Sure Containers are Clean

Clean containers help prevent container garden problems. Clean your containers and pots with liquid detergent and water at the beginning of each planting season. Pots that have been exposed to pests or diseases in the garden can be soaked for approximately an hour in a mixture of household bleach and water. After rinsing, let them air dry.

Purchase Healthy Plants

Container garden problems can be avoided by looking for healthy plants before planting.

Take Good Care of Your Plants

You must ensure that your plants receive the right sun, fertilizer, and water. Healthy plants are more resilient to pest attacks than those that are unhealthy. Take out any dead flowers or leaves and ensure that they are well spaced so that air can circulate them.

Remove Infected Plants

You can isolate or remove a plant infected with pests and diseases from your garden. It shouldn’t infect other plants. It should be removed from other containers. After you have finished treating the problem, wash your hands and your gardening tools.

Beneficial Insects and Pests in Container Gardens

All insects are not harmful. Many of them will eat harmful insects. Ladybugs, ground beetles and other garden bugs can eat some of these insects. The majority of insects are predators that seek out other insects to eat. They can live in your garden or pass through it without causing any damage to your container plants.

Container gardens can be more pest-prone than certain plants. This is something to remember as you choose plants for your container garden. This is especially true for tropical plants and other plants not native to your region. They are less resistant to the diseases and pests in your garden and, therefore, more susceptible. These plants should not be avoided – it’s a benefit to gardening in containers. However, you must ensure that they are checked regularly for pests and take action immediately.

What to do to Prevent Pests in Container Gardens

Have Regular Inspections

Regular inspections of your container garden plants can help to prevent problems. Take a look at the leaves from both ends when you water. Also, check the soil for any worms.

Faithfully Groom Your Plants

Take out dead leaves and remove any diseased or damaged parts. If possible, pick the insects by hand.

Maintain a Clean Garden

You should keep your containers’ surrounding areas clean. Garden pests and diseases can thrive in dirty outdoor spaces.

Steps to Manage Infestation of Pests in Container Gardens

  1. Get rid of garden pests. You can remove giant slugs, caterpillars, and weevils from your garden. To dispose of them, you can use soapy water to wash them off.
  2. You can wash smaller insects, such as whiteflies or aphids, with the garden hose. To get rid of small insects, some gardeners recommend using q tips coated in rubbing alcohol.

Ways to Get Rid of Infestation of Pests in Container Gardens

Homemade Remedy

Combine all ingredients in a spray can. This recipe works well for all soft-bodied insects, including whiteflies, mealybugs, and aphids.

  • 1/2 teaspoon dishwashing detergent
  • 1/4 teaspoon cooking oil
  • 1-quart warm water

You can add garlic or hot pepper to make the solution even more potent. Add 2 teaspoons of peppermint or citrus oil to hard-shelled insects like beetles.

This spray must be applied to the plants to work. To ensure that the spray doesn’t cause damage to your plants or foliage, you should water them a few hours later. Keep spraying the plants about once every 10 days until your container garden problems disappear.

Insecticidal Soaps and Botanical Pesticides

You can still control pests in your container gardens by using insecticidal soaps and botanical pesticides. As a last resort, you can also use potent synthetic pesticides. Use a product that targets a specific pest. Follow the directions. Do not use more than the recommended products. This will only cause damage to your plants and environment.

If you cannot identify the insect, you can take the bug and place it in a baggie. Or you can take a picture with your phone. Then take the bug to your local cooperative extension office or garden centre. They will help you identify it and provide a solution.

Always wear eye and hand protection when using chemicals to control pests in container gardens. Spray on a dry day with a mask. Use pesticides that are specific to the disease or pests you know and only in infected areas.

Common Pests In Container Gardens


They feed on the tender tips of your plants. Most insecticides are effective against them. Use our homemade recipe to spray your garden before you apply an insecticide.


Although occasional caterpillars can be removed, an infestation can quickly kill a plant. Contact insecticides can be effective.


They look similar to white mould spots. They can be difficult to remove and require regular insecticide treatment.

Red spider mite

Dry conditions are good for your health. You should look for fine webs or mottling on the leaves. Spray an insecticide on the affected leaves.


They cannot reach hanging baskets, but they can damage window boxes and wall baskets. They will hide behind containers during the day and eat plants at night. Use slug pellets or you may also apply a 1- to 2-inch band of Vaseline/petroleum jelly under your container’s rim to keep snails away.

Vine weevils

They appear as white grubs at first. They feed on the roots of plants. Although insecticides are possible, they can’t usually be saved once the plant is attacked. Do not reuse the soil.


These tiny white flies fly up in the air like clouds when disturbed. They feed on the undersides of leaves. Use a hose to spray the leaves. Use our homemade sprayer recipe. If you have contact insecticides, it is necessary to apply more than one application.

Real Men Sow
Real Men Sow

Hello, I’m Pete and I’m currently based in the west of Scotland, in a small place called Rosneath, where I’m exploring my garden adventures. I personally started gardening around 6 years ago and initially, I started out by growing my favorite fruits and berries, such as strawberries, Raspberries & Gooseberries. Since then I’ve added a lot of vegetables and working closely with my neighbor, it’s been a lot of fun.