Combat and eradicate: a guide to repellents and homemade insecticides

If there's one heartbreak I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, it's the sight of your beloved seedlings being attacked by the angry hordes of pests, bugs and diseases. If you don't learn to deal with these common problems quickly, you may end up seeing your plants languish. But don't worry, it is possible to create your own homemade repellents and insecticides to protect your pampered plants from unwanted attacks.

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5 basic tips for all types of plants

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Identifying pests

One of the most helpful habits when you have plants is observation. Spend a few minutes a day looking at your plants, if you can, touch their leaves and familiarise yourself with how they look. I usually do this in the mornings while drinking coffee and this constant observation will allow you to immediately notice any changes or alterations in the plant that may indicate the presence of pests.

You should look out for changes in the colouring of the leaves, if they have holes in them, if they are broken, if they have fallen off or if the plant looks sad or dull.

Check the stems, undersides of leaves and leaf chinks, and finally the substrate for any changes. Check for minimal insects walking around in the soil or on the stems, flying insects, spots or adhesions. These are all symptoms of pests and diseases. It's time to get to work.

Recipes for getting rid of bugs and insects on plants

1. Natural repellent with eggshells

Eggshells are rich in calcium carbonate and while they can be used as a fertiliser, if you let them dry and grind them finely with a food processor or mortar, you can use them as an insect repellent for slugs and snails. Just spread it in a circle around the plant to be protected.

2. Homemade onion insecticide

Take a couple of onions and blend them with a little water. Dilute in water and leave the mixture in a bottle overnight. Strain through a sieve to remove the fibres and use with a sprayer on your plants. This insecticide is suitable for combating spider mites, aphids and whiteflies.

3. Homemade garlic insecticide

The strong smell of garlic is great for repelling insects (and vampires). Preparing it is simple. Just mix a head of garlic, a couple of cloves and half a litre of water in a blender. Place in a glass bottle and leave to steep for 24 hours. Dissolve this mixture in 3 litres of water and spray directly on your plants. It is ideal for eliminating the annoying aphid.

4. Hydrogen peroxide as a plant fungicide

Hydrogen peroxide can help plant roots absorb nutrients from the soil more efficiently, thanks to the extra oxygen it contains. But more importantly, it has bactericidal and fungicidal properties, making it a perfect eco-friendly option for eliminating fungus and pests. Just mix 2 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide in half a litre of water and use it directly on the soil of the plant, avoiding watering the foliage. It can be very useful in cases of mild root rot.

5. Uses of vinegar as an insecticide for plants

Vinegar is magic. You can use it for cleaning, odour removal, hair care and also as a fertiliser and repellent for your plants. It is recommended to use apple cider vinegar, but any other vinegar will work.

To improve the pH condition of the soil and stimulate iron absorption, especially in acidophilic plants, you can use one cup of vinegar in 3 litres of water to water your plants.

If you want to use vinegar as an ant repellent, spray it directly on the anthill without diluting it. To eliminate weeds, you can also use it directly without diluting it. To take advantage of its repellent and fertilising properties for potted plants, dissolve 2 tablespoons in 3 litres of water and spray the plant with this mixture.

6. Homemade repellent with vegetable oil

A mixture of 2 parts vegetable oil with ½ part liquid soap (can be dishwashing liquid) is a fantastic repellent against mealybugs, aphids, spider mites and caterpillars. Spray your plants with this mixture, preferably when there is not much sun (late afternoon or very early in the morning) to avoid affecting the leaves of the plant.

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About the author
Ame Rodríguez

Dedicated to creating an army of cacti, succulents, poodles and cats to help me conquer the world. In the little free time I have left, I play, write and dance.

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