So you’ve put all the hard work into creating a beautiful garden only to see many of your plant plagues from insect bites. It can be frustrating and heartbroken!
Typically an insecticide would answer your cry. But if you want to keep the natural balance of your garden, you need to know how to stop insects from eating plant leaves naturally.
Not only will it effectively keep stubborn bugs at bay, but it is also eco-friendly for your plant and home —especially if you have a pet.
So we have put together a few natural repellents up our sleeves (on this page), so make sure you read to the end.
How To Stop Insects Eating Plant Leaves Naturally
1. Soap Spray
Soap spray is a common home remedy for dealing with pests.
The soap forms a layer over the leaves of plants, which discourages insects from eating them.
However, this solution is only ideal for some types of plants. If you want to use soap spray on your garden, here are some things to know before starting:
- Use liquid dish soap or vegetable oil instead of soap made for washing dishes, as it will not have enough detergent (detergent contains chemicals that kill insects).
- Soap spray works best on plants with smooth leaves and no thorns or spines. If you want to use it on prickly plants like cactuses or rose bushes, simply wrap them in plastic bags before spraying them with soapy water.
- Avoid using this repellent on sunny days. It is best sprayed around evenings.
But more importantly, soap Spray will work on any insect that eats your plants, including aphids, caterpillars, and beetles.
This homemade recipe only needs regular liquid soap and 100ml of water. That is all!
Although some gardeners (though rarely) use a solution made of soap, water, and lemon juice.
The soap kills the insects by clogging their respiratory system, while the lemon juice attracts them to its smell, and they eat it instead of your plants.
2. Neem Oil Spray
Neem oil is a liquid extract from the seeds of the neem tree. It is extracted by cold-pressing, meaning that it doesn’t use heat or chemicals to extract the oil from the seeds. This makes it 10X effective.
Furthermore, it has been used for centuries as a natural insecticide because it has multiple properties, making it an ideal pest control choice.
First, insects don’t like smelling it or being near it because they associate the smell with predators (like birds). This makes them less likely to stay around your plants and eat them.
Sounds funny, but it’s true!
Secondly, it contains compounds called azadirachtin A and B, which are toxic to many insects, including aphids, caterpillars, mites, mealybugs, scale, thrips, whiteflies, and other pests.
The concentration of these compounds varies depending on how much neem oil you use per application; if you want more protection against bugs, use more neem oil!
This solution is non-toxic to humans, so you can spray it directly on your plants without provoking any allergies for you and your pet.
To forge this weapon, this concoction must be cooked right.
You need to get neem oil from a nearby grocery store. Mix two spoons of it with one spoon of liquid soap. And then, dilute in 100ml water.
Shake thoroughly and pour it into a bottle spray, and you are good to go.
3. Salt Spray
Salt spray is a prevalent way to deter insects from eating plant leaves. It works by creating a harsh environment for insects.
It works by drying out the insect’s exoskeleton and suffocating them. This method is entirely natural, and it’s easy to make at home.
First, you’ll need to obtain some table salt. You can find it at any grocery store or big box retailer, but we recommend using Himalayan pink salt because it has higher mineral content than regular table salt.
You’ll also need water and a spray bottle (available at any drugstore).
Mix one part salt with three parts water in your spray bottle. Shake well so that all of the salt dissolves in the water, then fill up the rest of the bottle with clean water until it reaches the top line on your label (this will ensure proper dilution). Shake again before using.
Spray any plants that insects have attacked, like caterpillars or aphids; this will dry out their exoskeletons, preventing further attacks.
Aside from that, salt help plants absorb nutrients such as phosphorus, magnesium, and sulfur.
NOTE: the spray will only last about two days, so reapply after 48 hours if necessary!
4. Pepper Spray
The active ingredient in pepper spray is capsaicin. Capsaicin is found in all peppers, including bell peppers and jalapenos.
It causes a burning sensation when it comes into contact with mucus membranes, such as the eyes and mouth.
Insects have sensory organs that detect carbon dioxide and block out smells they don’t like (such as the smell of humans).
When you use pepper spray on your plants, it releases capsaicin into the air around them, which blocks out the smell of humans and makes them think something is wrong with their surroundings.
This causes them to flee before they can damage your plants by eating them or laying eggs on them.
And there are two variants to this solution.
First is with powder, mixing 2 tbsp pepper powder in 100 ml water and 1 tbsp liquid soap. Stir well, then use to spray affected areas.
The second is to prepare it using fresh chilies. Mix one cup of chilies with 100 milliliters of water using a blender. Bring this mixture to a boil and let it sit overnight, then add one tablespoon of liquid soap.
When spraying, be careful not to touch your eyes with the mixture.
5. Garlic And Onion Spray
As basic as it sounds —with just common everyday ingredients in the pantry —it works wonderfully in knocking out bugs.
There are several reasons why this is true.
First, garlic and onion contain a compound called thiosulfate that is toxic to insects. This means spraying it on your plants essentially poisons the yet-to-be-eaten meal.
Moreover, the peculiar smell of these ingredients is repellent on its own.
Blend these two ingredients and strain the juice into a separate container. Mix in 100 milliliters of water, then let it sit overnight so that the mixture can release its repellent properties. Spray your plants with this solution—the insects won’t stay around long!
On top on, garlic and onion have been shown to have antimicrobial properties that can kill the bacteria, fungi, or viruses present in their leaves.
6. Essential Oil Spray
Essential oils are natural compounds in plants with a strong aroma and flavor.
These oils are not only good for your health but also another easy and effective way to ward off pests that are munching on your plants.
They are unsung heroes. But they are the main ingredient in most insect repellents.
Peppermint, lavender, and lemongrass are known to repel insects. Mix two tablespoons of any one or more of these oils with 100 ml water and a tablespoonful of liquid soap.
Stir well, then spray your plants—but not before testing the mixture on a small part hidden from view first!
And the reason why these oils work so well is that they contain terpenes.
These terpenes are known to affect insects’ sense of smell and taste, which can make them dislike the smell and taste of certain plants.
They come in a few different forms, including spray bottles and foggers.
7. Plant Herbs
Lastly, planting herbs in your yard can keep insects away because the strong scent of the plants makes bugs think twice before approaching them.
Planting certain herbs around your garden will work, whether it is basil, sage, thyme, peppermint, lemon balm, or lemongrass.
While protecting your plants from destructive pests can prove to be an uphill battle, the use of Mother Nature can naturally combat harmful bugs that feast on leaves.
Moreover, you aren’t send much on expensive chemicals —just random everyday ingredients.
Although there are many organic solutions that you can use as well, but these few are just as effective and pocket friendly.