Glasshouse leafhopper

Glasshouse leafhopper can cause a pale mottling on the foliage on a wide range of glasshouse and garden plants.

Glasshouse leafhopper (<i>Hauptidia maroccana</i>). Credit: RHS/Entomology.
Glasshouse leafhopper (Hauptidia maroccana). Credit: RHS/Entomology.

Quick facts

Common name: Glasshouse leafhopper
Scientific name: Hauptidia maroccana
Plants affected: Many glasshouse vegetables and ornamental plants including tomato, peppers, aubergine, cucumber, fuchsia, pelargonium and Streptocarpus. Outdoor plants, such as polyanthus, foxglove and Nicotiana are also hosts
Main symptoms: Coarse pale spotting on upper leaf surface. Leafhoppers may be seen on the underside of leaves
Most active: April to September but all year round in glasshouses

What is glasshouse leafhopper?

The leafhoppers are a family (Cicadellidae) of sap sucking true bugs, there are more than 180 species found in Britain. They can jump or fly short distances and most do not feed on or cause noticeable damage to garden plants. Find out more about British species from British bugs

Glasshouse leafhopper is a 3mm long pale green species.


  • A coarse pale mottling appears on the upper leaf surface of a wide range of plants in greenhouses, on houseplants and in gardens (similar mottling on sage, rosemary and other herbs is likely to be due to the sage or Ligurian leafhoppers)
  • The spots can join together, giving the leaves a chlorotic appearance that could be mistaken for a mineral deficiency
  • Damaged leaves will remain discoloured 
  • Adult glasshouse leafhoppers are 3mm (about 1/8in) long and pale yellow with grey markings. They are broadest at the head end and taper to a point behind
  • Adults jump off leaves and fly short distances when disturbed
  • The creamy white, wingless nymphs are less active and can be easier to spot
  • White cast skins shed by the immature nymphs can often be found attached to the underside of damaged leaves (aphid skins are usualy found on the top surface of leaves)


Check susceptible plants frequently from spring onwards so action can be taken before a damaging population has developed. When choosing control options you can minimise harm to non-target animals by using the methods in the non-pesticide section below. Pesticide treatments are likely to kill natural enemies and are only likely to be successful if the entire plant can be reached. 


  • Often leafhoppers do not affect the growth or vigour of plants and so can be tolerated, they are part of the biodiversity a healthy garden can support
  • Encourage predators and other natural enemies of leafhoppers, in the garden, such as birds, ladybirds, wasps and ground beetles


The RHS recommends that you don't use pesticides. Most pesticides (including organic types) reduce biodiversity, including natural enemies, impact soil health and have wider adverse environmental effects.
Where you cannot tolerate leafhoppers, manage them using the information above as your first course of action.
Pesticide treatments are likely to kill natural enemies and so reduce the likelihood of natural control and can lead to resurgence of the target animal.
If you do decide to use pesticides, the shorter persistence products (that are usually certified for organic growing) are likely to be less damaging to non-target wildlife.
The pesticides listed are legally available in the UK. This information is provided to avoid misuse of legal products and the use of unauthorised and untested products, which potentially has more serious consequences for the environment and wildlife than when products are used legally.
Always follow the instructions on the products. For edible plants, make sure the food plant is listed on the label and follow instructions on maximum number of applications, spray interval and harvest interval.
Homemade products are not recommended as they are unregulated and usually untested.
Be aware that products such as Neem oil are not registered for use in the UK and we cannot advise on their use.
Plants in flower must not be sprayed due to the danger to bees and other pollinating insects.
  • Organic sprays, such as natural pyrethrum (e.g. Bug Clear Ultra 2, Neudorff Bug Free Bug and Larvae Killer) or plant oils (e.g. Vitax Plant Guard Pest & Disease Control, Bug Clear Fruit & Veg, Vitax Rose Guard) have a largely physical mode of action. These are broad spectrum so will kill a wide range of insects. These pesticides have a very short persistence and so may require reapplication to keep leafhopper numbers in check.  Plant oil and fatty acid products are less likely to affect larger insects
  • Plant invigorators combine nutrients to stimulate plant growth with surfactants or fatty acids that have a physical mode of action against leafhopper (e.g. Ecofective Bug Control, Growing Success Bug Stop, RoseClear 3 in 1 Action and SB Plant Invigorator). These products contain some synthetic ingredients and so are not considered organic
  • Further information about the use of pesticides available for management of leafhoppers is available on the pesticides for gardeners leaflet
Inclusion of a pesticide product does not indicate a recommendation or endorsement by RHS Gardening Advice. It is a list of products currently available to the home gardener.


Pesticides for gardeners (Adobe Acrobat pdf document outlining pesticides available to gardeners)


  • Leaf mottling can be caused by the feeding activities of the adults and nymphs, which live mainly on the lower leaf surface
  • This leafhopper has several generations during the growing season and can remain active throughout the year on indoor plants
  • Eggs are laid in the leaf veins and hatch into wingless creamy white nymphs
  • The nymphs shed their outer skin five times as they grow and finally become adults
  • In midsummer, the life cycle can be completed in six weeks but takes several months in the winter

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