Fluffy white cotton wool type deposits on the undersides of leaves are actually where spider mites hid out and this can kill off a plant, or make it very weak if nothing is done to control the infestation. This is just one among a few arachnids facts about spider mites, cousin to spiders, scorpion, and ticks. They are mostly found nesting in plants.
What these tiny creatures do is to burrow into the leaves of the plant and suck out the life force of the thing. Much like a mosquito will suck on human blood, these creatures suck out the juice of the plant through the delicate underneath of the leaf.
This manifests itself, much too late of course, on blotches or spots on the leaves. However, when these are seen the plant may be damaged beyond saving.
These creatures love dry and undisturbed leaves so this makes it quite easy for the avid gardener to use a simple method to keep them off plants.
When watering the plants, aim the spray up under the leaves which will effectively knock out the web like deposits sitting there. Since the creatures hide in these, once they are gone, so will the pest be gone.
However, take care not to flood the garden since this will also cause problems later on.
Plants which have become infested to the point past saving them should be removed immediately and burned as soon as possible.
Merely sticking them on the compost heap will not get rid of the pest since they will keep on snacking until they find another host. It may be a good idea, where burning garden waste is not an option, to take them off to the local dump far from gardens anywhere.
Neem oil spread on the underside of leaves will stop re-infestation, but this is terribly laborious and if there are many plants in the garden, downright impossible to keep up.
Another natural method for getting rid of pests is to use other bugs to feed on them. Ladybugs, for example, not only eat these creatures but also many others and this could be a green way of keeping everything in balance.
Since natural methods of pest control are much better than chemical control, people really should try this way before resorting to any other methods.
The problem with this kind of pest is that once the plant has had its skin broken open, it is also vulnerable to other kinds of attacks.
Diseases can get in broken skin, much like us humans, and the results can be devastating. The plant will surely show signs of distress by which time it is probably too late to do anything.
The demise of the plant should point the way through for some rather serious pest control systems to be put in before the whole garden is affected.
For house plants, making sure that the plant is in a cool but damp position may be all it takes to keep the pest at bay.