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House Plants/Systemic treatment for spider mites?


I have 3 majesty palms about 5 ft tall. I noticed that one is full of spider mites and I bought a sulfur based insecticide that was approved for indoor use.  It did smell up the house a bit and I am not sure how effective it will be.  My, question is, is there a systemic insecticide that can be applied to the soil of house plants for the control of spider mites and other indoor plant pests?

Hi Chris,

Without getting too technical, spider mites generally feed near the midrib and plant veins, and not in the phloem or xylem. Consequently they never get into the plantís vascular system and, until recently, would avoid any systemic chemicals.

A product named Kontos is listed as the first miticide with systemic properties. I have not used it. It is very expensive and intended for professional use, so you probably can't get it anyway.

A thoroughy spraying of all leaf and stem surfaces with a solution of dish soap and water is as effective as any remedy, but you have to get complete contact with every last mite to be effective. This is a messy job as all surfaces must be dripping wet.

Majesty Palms are notorious spider mite magnets, especially when they are used indoors. The Majesty Palm fares very poorly as an indoor plant because indoors it cannot get enough light or air circulation. Any plant under stress from inadequate light or watering becomes susceptible to a variety of plant pests.

Majesty Palms have such a poor reputation that I do not know of anyone who has kept one looking healthy and attractive for more than a year or so indoors.

Bottom line: I think you are fighting a losing battle with this particular plant species.

I have written articles on treating indoor plant pests and on Palm care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

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Will Creed, Interior Landscaper
Horticultural Help, NYC

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Will Creed


I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.


I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

BA, Amherst College

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