How to Make Homemade Insecticide for Your Container Garden

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A homemade insecticide made from soap and an herbal or plant repellent is a non-toxic and effective way to eliminate pests from your container garden. Such a solution is also a low-cost way of keeping your plants healthy and free from infestation as well. Mild dishwashing liquids, such as Dawn or Ivory, and castile soap, when used in combination with water and sprayed on plants, are simple ways to eradicate a bug problem in your container garden.

Soaps Are Effective in Killing Soft-Bodied Insects

Dishwashing liquids and soaps are effective in killing soft-bodied insects such as spider mites, white flies, mealybugs and aphids. In addition, they’ll destroy the eggs of beetles, moths and flies as well a small larvae. What they won’t kill, however, are bigger insects or pests such as maggots or Japanese beetles. To ensure you repel this type of infestation too, it’s essential you add a repellent herb or plant to your soap solution to keep your plants pest-free. Herbs and plants that are good at repelling pests include cayenne pepper, garlic, onions and horseradish.

Concocting a Solution that Will Kill Most Container Pests

Usually a solution of 5 tablespoons of a dishwashing liquid, such as Dawn, or a pure soap, such as castile, added to a gallon of water will keep insects away without burning the leaves of your plant. Nevertheless, just to make sure, test a small area of the affected plant with the solution to make sure the plant isn’t sensitive to the mixture. Plants with light-colored foliage in particular tend to become burned by soaps.

Add an Infusion to Your Soap Solution to Ensure Optimum Protection

To kill most container insects as well as repel any that are not as easily annihilated by soap and water, mix in a plant infusion with your soap water spray. Make the infusion by pouring water over the chosen herb or plant and place the mixture in an air-tight container overnight before straining the substance into the soapy solution. This way, you’ll not only kill soft-bodied bugs such as aphids but you’ll also keep larger pests that are harder to kill away.

Spray the Solution Thoroughly on Your Container Plants

Spray the homemade insecticide of soap, water and repellent infusion over each plant making sure you cover the plant thoroughly with the substance. Make certain you spray the undersides of the leaves where insects often lay their eggs too. Once the soapy solution dries, it will lose its bug-killing properties; therefore, make sure you rinse the plants an hour after applying the homemade insecticide to avoid any potential damage to the leaves.

Other Measures

Besides the aforementioned insecticide, you can also safeguard you plants from pests by dousing a cottonball with hot sauce and placing it in the plant’s container to keep bugs away. Or, if you have a problem with spider mites, adding 2 tablespoons of salt to a gallon of water and spraying your plants with the substance will usually clear up the problem. One hot pepper and one garlic clove mixed with a quart of water in a blender is also a homemade insecticide that will eliminate most pests from a container garden.

Whatever measure you use, make sure you don’t apply a substance when it’s excessively hot or humid or you can hurt your plants. Maintain the routine once a week until your plants are bug-free.

One Response to “How to Make Homemade Insecticide for Your Container Garden”

  1. April 03, 2010 at 10:31 pm, JamesR said:

    After years of fighting spider mites on evergreens I was told to use a Dawn soap spray. One application, end of problem. I was told it doesn’t kill the mites but they just don’t like to be around it and leave.


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