4 Steps To Heal Houseplants From Thrips

Posted by Sacred Elements on

Something is wrong with your plant, it's discolored and showing signs of damage and you have no idea what's happening until you look closer and discover the tiniest oval specs moving across the leaves. Thrips.

It's frustrating and heartbreaking to see your green babies suffer, I have been there (countless times) and this is how I wish someone would've helped me.

First, take a deep breath or two and know that we are here to help you and your plant through this process. And, we can even take away the stress so you can both enjoy the process of healing together. It takes diligence and patience but you can do it!

Here's how:

Thrips are the most persistent houseplant pest I've dealt with in my many, many years of plant parenthood. Yes, even more annoying than those pesky fungus gnats that fly right into your face. 

Why? Because thrips are persistent, a bit like mealy bug can be. You think thrips are gone for good, pat yourself on the back for a plant parent job-well-done and then, a few weeks later, notice another leaf showing the telltale sign of thrip damage.

Here are a few pics that illustrate these signs to help you identify these tiny, highly destructive bugs:

See the tiny white bugs? Those are thrips in their larval stage.


First step is to identify the pest, which can be tricky as they come in many shapes, colors and sizes. One important note before we begin: thrips tend to thrive in hot, dry environments so increasing your ambient humidity can help prevent infestations. We see them most often in our homes during the warmer months when windows are open as they travel via the wind and also hitch a ride in with fresh produce and flowers, this is also why we see them more often in the summertime.


Thrips come in many forms, over 6,000 actually, but they all have similar life cycles. They not only damage plants, but they can introduce diseases which is why treating them is important for the overall health of your plants.

The trail of destruction is quite impressive considering how tiny they can be! But the trail they leave behind is quite unmistakable. Damaged unfurling leaves tend to be brown around the edges and deformed, yellow spots on leaves where they feasted is also a sign of their annoying presence. Look closely for tiny yellow or brown bumps, those dark spots are their feces left behind to cause scarring and discoloration on the leaves. 

You'll notice a rust or yellow or growing section of the leaf and then, look closer to see the tiny larva walking around. Some adults have wings which make them even more destructive as they can travel. I’ve noticed they prefer to set up homes in my monstera, avocado, philodendron, and alocasia more than any other houseplant.


Here is a visual of the one type (there are thousands) of thrip and it’s life cycle. Hope this helps you imagine the pest you’re up against. (Image curtesy of HortiNews)

Ok, now that you've confirmed your plant has thrips, take another deep breath, we got you! 

Patient and consistence care with our tonics is key to boost overall plant immunity while treating the entire thrips lifecycle. It takes a few months of weekly care to fully rid your plants of thrips. This is why we turn it into a self care ritual, taking time to enjoy the process of caring for our plants and reframing it as a ritual instead of a stressful chore.

It is very important to stay consistent with treatments for at least 2-3 months to completely break the lifecycle of thrips. Instead of this being a stressful chores, you can turn it into a sweet plant ritual. These days, whenever a thrip infestation appears (or any plant pest really) it's a moment to accept the process and take the opportunity to slow down. You can brew a pot of our botanical tea, and slowly sip on the same plant medicines your plants are soaking up as one example of turning this into a ritual. Take time to shower your beloved green babies with a sacred leaf shower and sacred soil bath knowing that this process will make them healthier in the long run.
Begin the Healing Process:

Your very first step is quarantine and then cut off all leaves with significant damage and throw them away (do not compost). Be sure to quarantine all plants with thrips and check all other plants thoroughly for signs of thrips. We do also recommend giving all the plants in the room a Sacred Leaf Shower, as a prevention and plus its a lovely way to soak up the aromatherapy Sacred Leaf Tonic has to offer you!


If your plant is mobile enough to transport to the shower or outside with a hose, do it, it makes these first few applications easier. If you have a large houseplant and cannot move it to the shower or to a hose, here’s the next best thing: Place a towel or old sheet, cardboard or newspaper under the plant to soak up any mess. 

Any time we find a pest infestation the first step is to shower the leaves and stems to remove as many pests as possible before beginning treatment. If a hose or shower isn't possible, grab a clean towel/paper towel/old t-shirt, soak with water and then gently wipe the leaves clean. You need to get both sides and the stems. Then allow the plant to dry.

Next, mix up a batch of our Sacred Leaf Tonic  (remember to shake up your concentrated bottle first then add a 1/4 teaspoon to spray bottle of 16 ounces water) and get spraying! Completely coat the front and back of the leaves, stem, crevices and topsoil.

*Be sure your plant is out of any direct sunlight after these treatments. The natural oils in Neem and Jojoba act a bit like sun tan oil on our skin and can invite unwanted sunburn.

Next, mix up a batch of our Sacred Soil Tonic (1/2 teaspoon to 16 ounces of water, this is double dose of the normal maintenance of 1/4 teaspoon to 16 oz) and give your plant a health soil drench.

*We have steps for creating your very own Sacred Soil Bath  to create a less stressful and more rewarding experience. Here's how to whip up a batch Plant FAQs



Repeat the Sacred Leaf Tonic application 3-4x times the first two weeks. You can shower or wipe down leaves however often you'd like, just be sure to let the tonic soak in before wiping or rinsing. After two weeks, move on to treatment 2-3x for week three and four, then just once a week for a few months.

Every time your plant needs water, give it a drench with that double dose of Sacred Soil Tonic for the first month or so, then you can go back to regular strength.

Our tonics work their botanical magic over time by treating pests AND boosting your plant's own natural immune system along the way. Sacred Leaf and Sacred Soil Tonics nourish the entire plant system from soil microbes on up to the tips of each leaf and the end result is a glowing, thriving, stronger-than-ever plant!


Remember to coat all the surfaces of your plant including the topsoil as some thrips spend can spend of their life there too. However, we cannot stress this enough, you must be vigilant! Every time you water your plant, check the leaves and the stems! Even a few months later. It’s good plant parent practice to check the leaves of all your plant, especially after an infestation to make sure they remain healthy and pest free.

We're always here to encourage or help you too! You can send us an email anytime and we'll do our best to respond quickly: hello@sacredelements.world 

Sending love to you friends,

Karina & the Sacred Elements Team


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