Friday, April 24, 2009

Getting rid of bugs in your house plants the natural way

So last week-end, we were at a plant expo and we met a really nice guy who is an interior horticulturist with a green side. His name is Gilles Pelletier and his business is “how to make the most of your urban space” when it comes to plants and urban gardens spaces.

One of his little impromptu information sessions was about natural home made solutions to take care or bugs, fungus and mildew in your house plants. Here are a few of the products and recipes that he suggested :

Garlic :
Insecticide - Takes care of mites and aphids.
Mix 1 tablespoon garlic juice and 1 teaspoon rubbing alcohol with 3 litres (12 cups) of water.
Spray immediately.

Baking soda :
Fungicide and bactericide : Takes care of anthracnose, oidium and mildew.
Mix 4 tablespoons of baking soda and 4 tablespoons of dishwashing soap in 4 litres (16 cups) of water.
Spray every 7 days for 3 weeks.

Potato starch :
Insecticide and fungicide : Takes care of mites, aphids, thrips, and white fly.
Mix 4 tablespoons of starch and 2 or 3 drops of dishwashing soap in 1 litre (4 cups) of water.
Spray. Rinse after a few days to remove the residue.

Mustard powder :
Insecticide : Takes care of mites, aphids and scales.
Mix 1 teaspoon mustard powder and a few drops of dishwashing soap with 1 litre (4 cups) of water.

Cinnamon :
Fungicide : Takes care of mildew and crown rot.
Mix 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder in 1 litre (4 cups) of water and let stand until the cinnamon looks like a softer pace at the bottom of the container.
Spray the leaves and water the soil.

Hope this was useful at helping with our little indoor visitors.

What do you use to help control insects indoors?


earthtoholly said...

Hi Yanic...these sound like great alternatives to those harmful products that you buy. I wish I had known about these before a few of my plants perished! Next time...

Small Footprints said...

I love that these are so earth friendly ... and not full of harmful, toxic substances.

I try to watch my plants carefully and clip any leaves, etc., which seem to have "critters" ... then I move them outside. It doesn't always work but I try not to kill the little guys whenever possible.

Thanks for sharing these ideas!

Small Footprints

Yanic said...

Hello to both of you!

I'm glad you enjoyed the little recipes.

earthtoholly : Don't give up on house plants. I know it can be frustrating sometimes, but the strong ones are always the best in the long run. The number of plants/trees we've lost over the years... but the ones that have stayed are invicible!

small footprints : Always a good idea to isolate the ones that show signs. Another thing you could do if you notice ones with bugs it to give them a good rinse and never forget underneat the leaves! That's where the eggs and larvae

Thomas said...

Great stuff :-)

I keep the flowerpots on little trays and always water the plants by filling up the tray, rather than watering from the top. This keeps the top layer of soil dry and makes it hard for the flies to breed (they lay their eggs in wet soil).

Even if this reduces the problem, a new batch of flies seems to turn up every time I get a new indoor plant, so I'll definitely be trying the potato starch recipe.

As an added bonus, watering from the bottom of the pot promotes good plant health, since it forces the plant to grow longer and sturdier roots to get to the water.

Renewables At Home

Yanic said...

Thomas - Great tip for watering. We have the same problems. especially since we keep bonsaï which bring in a whole new variety of little pesties and giving them a good soak from the bottom is always a great way to water. In addition to keeping the moisture low, it pushes out the old air to let new oxygen in and it also washes out the salt deposits from old water.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thomas said...

I didn't know about the new oxygen and salt deposit stuff - good to know. Plus, it's always nice to get further affirmation to something one is already doing :-D

Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship said...

Definitely something to bookmark. Now if only I could water houseplants appropriately so they don't shrivel up and die!

Yanic said...

Hi Katie :

If overwatering is an issue, here are a few tips :

- When you repot, mix in 2/3 soil with 1/3 perlite. The perlite will help with the draiing of the water.

- Stick a wooden chopstick in the pot and when you want to know if the plant needs water, pull is out and place it on your wrist or cheek. If the chopstick is cool and moist, you don't need to water!

Hope these help!

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