Spider mites will haunt the underside of the foliage and are most often given away by the webs you’ll see all over your tree when you put your glasses on and take a close look. If you cared to give the plant a shake over a white surface you’ll probably see these tiny reddish assassins scurrying around. Squash away or wash away!
I don’t care for pesticides and do my very best to avoid them. If you feel the same way and suspect spider mites have haunted your tree you could do the following:
- Wrap the pot and cover the soil with plastic so it stays relatively dry and wash down the whole tree. Try to get the underside of the foliage - I use my sprayer in my kitchen sink. If you don’t have a sprayer take it into the shower. What, you’ve never showered with a plant before?
- Rub the foliage gently with your fingers to wipe the mites off. Oh, for heaven's sake don’t freak out, they’re just tiny bugs. They won’t hurt you!
- When you're done, take steps to raise the local humidity around the tree by either misting it daily or placing it on a big tray with pebbles and add water. The pebbles add surface area to encourage evaporation and also raise the tree bottom out of the water.
- Don’t hesitate to repeat the exercise a week or so later, or as needed. Try not to wash away the soil and when you mist, cover the soil so you're not adding too much water to the pot. Misting is an easy way to over-water. I kid you not!