Cockroaches in Potted Plants [House Plants with Roaches]

Cockroaches can live and lay eggs in potted house plants because they are dark and moist at the base. If you use organic fertilizers that roaches like, they will dig and hide in the soil. Placing an over-watered indoor plant in a dark warm area will attract more roaches to it.

To get rid of roaches in potted plants, water them first then use an applicator pad to spread diatomaceous earth on the plants while they are still wet. After that, spread 2 teaspoons of coffee ground on the soil to keep roaches away.

Coffee grounds to repel roaches on indoor plants is a good idea because it also improves the soil’s ability to drain itself. This causes good soil aeration and drainage which is beneficial to indoor plants. This will also prevent the leaves from turning yellow and falling off.

Cockroaches in Potted Plants [House Plants with Roaches]
Causes of cockroaches in potted house plants and how to get rid of them

Do cockroaches eat indoor plants?

Yes, the American cockroach can feed on a house plant’s leaves when they lack food or anything to eat.

Basically, if the house is clean and they do not find food or anything to eat, they will go for the plants. This means that eating your potted plants will be the last resort when they are starving.

If the leaves are yellowing due to poor maintenance, overwatering, or plant diseases, they will start to rot and fall off. Roaches will feed on those because anything that is decomposing is a meal. However, that does not mean that they will not feed on fresh house plant leaves.

How to find roaches in a potted house plant

At night, you will find roaches hiding under the leaves while feeding on the plant. They will crawl on the stem and feed on the leaves especially if they are not fresh. Roaches are active in the dark and they can see or feel anyone approaching. They hide under the leaves to avoid any danger.

During the day, they will move to the base of a potted plant. Once there, they will hide in the soil or along the pot walls where it is dark and moist. They thrive in moisture and that is one of the major reasons why an over-watered potted plant will attract roaches.

In some cases, weak leaves may fall off the plant. The fallen leaves can be found inside the pot right at the base where there is soil. Cockroaches will hide in those leaves as they feed on them. Any rotten leave is already rotting and roaches will prefer those over the fresh ones.

How to get rid of roaches in potted house plants

Before implementing any measures against roaches in house plants, ensure that they are not watered in exes. It is moisture that attracts roaches the most and that is why they will settle at the base of a potted house plant.

Here are the main tricks on how to naturally avoid plant roaches without causing any harm to the plants:

1. Moderate Watering

To keep roaches away from your house plants, ensure that you learn to estimate the amount of water that the plant needs. Do not overwater or underwater the plant because both will attract roaches to your potted plant at home.

Too much water on the plant will cause the soil to remain dump and moist all the time. The moisture is what will attract cockroaches because they cannot survive in dry areas. Roaches need to stay moist and the pot will provide a dark hiding place while the dump soil will make the area constantly moist for them.

On the other hand, if you underwater the plant, the leaves will turn yellow. Yellow leaves are a sign of dying leaves and roaches prefer those over fresh leaves. This will be ready food for them and they can survive on that alone.

If you want to get rid of roaches without hurting your potted plants,  avoid any yellow leaves by ensuring the plant is well watered and kept in a well-light and aerated place. Remove any fallen leaves at the base and ensure that the base is not over moisturized.

2. Indoor potted plants that keep roaches away

Catnip: Roaches hate the catnip plant and they will never infest it. Consider growing catnip plants indoors to repel insects including roaches.  The advantage of having a potted catnip plant is that it does not need a lot of water to grow since it is drought-resistant.

When repelling cockroaches on other plants, simply get some dried bay leaves and spread them at the base of the plant to repel roaches from your potted plants. This is a natural way to deter roaches without causing any harm to your plants.

Bay leaves: Bay deters roaches naturally and you can grow it as a potted plant in the house. Growing it in the house is also a plus because it will also keep other flying insects away. Roaches will also not attack it because the bay plant needs enough light to grow while roaches hate light.

You can also place some catnip leaves at the base of an infested house plant to deter roaches. Just like basil, roaches will naturally avoid catnip and they will leave the plant as long as the aroma still exists in it. The decomposing leaves will also be an added advantage to the soil since they will act as natural organic fertilizers.

Osage Orange Trees: When the Osage orange tree is mature, it will produce some fruits known as hedge apples. Those fruits are known to be excellent natural cockroach repellents. They can be placed at the base of other potted plants to keep roaches away.

Carnivorous plants: The Venus flytrap can eat cockroaches when they crawl into its trap. However, roaches are very sensitive and fast but if you find their wings around carnivorous plants, then be sure that they have been eaten.

3. Fungi and fungus

When a potted plant is kept constantly damp and moist at the bottom, there will be mods and fungus. Those will attract roaches very fast because they like to feed and thrive in anything that has mold and fungi.

Roaches will live at the base of any potted plant if it has mold. The mold will soften the stem at the base of the plant and this will make it easy for roaches to feed on it. Even if the stem is tough, the mold will soften it thus allowing roaches to feed on it.

To avoid all this, do not water the plant all the time. Let it dry and give it space. You can always check the soil before you water. If t is too wet, hold on until it naturally dries out. Try and keep the plants in a well-aerated position so that they naturally get light and air.

4. Algae

When the house plant is poorly maintained, it will develop algae at the base. Roaches feed on algae because it contains glucose that is sweet to them. Too much water at the base of a potted plant will encourage the growth and development of algae.

Those will also attract small insects to the plant that roaches will feed on. Roaches can feed on dead insects that may drown or die at the base of a moist plant. To get rig of algae that attract cockroaches in a potted plant, replace the soil, clean the pot and avoid over-watering the plant.

5. Fertilizer

Fertilizer and manure from compost piles can attract roaches to your potted plant. This is because they contain decomposing organic matter that roaches feed on. The kind of fertilizer you use for your house plants may be the main reason why cockroaches may keep coming back to the plant.

A sudden appearance of roaches in indoor plants may be linked to manure from a cockroach infested garden. there are high chances of getting soil that contains baby roaches and those will continue to thrive in indoor plants.

To get rid of roaches in your house plants, use fertilizers that are not rich in decomposing organic materials and avoid keeping the soil damp at all times. This will keep the plants from attracting roaches. Never use chemicals like bleach for cockroaches on plants because it can damage them.

Advice: Potted plants in the house will attract roaches if they have excess moisture and yellow leaves. Placing your house plant in a dark corner will provide warmth that roaches find attractive. Roaches will hide in the pot and lay eggs as they look for food around the house at night. They will feed on the plant’s leaves and stem if they lack something to eat in the house.


  1. Cockroach Facts: Diatomaceous earth & Roaches by Andrew Martin
  2. The Ohio State University: Plant eating cockroach