Updated November 30, 2021 by Mark Marino
You have fallen in love with your plants. It’s only natural to bond with them because they are living, and you do take care of them. You realize how much you love them when you start to notice an infestation of bugs.
You are probably wondering how to keep bugs out of indoor plants. There are several things you can do, including treating them with castile soap, neem oil, diatomaceous earth, and apple cider vinegar.
Finding bugs and pests in your plants can be quite upsetting- but it can be stopped. In this article, we will explain how to use the above methods as well as a few others to stop an infestation in your beloved plants.
You can make a solution from castile soap- do not use dish detergent. The dish detergent will kill your plants. However, castile soap is a pure soap with no additives. This is a very simple process:
- Get a clean spray bottle.
- Mix 1 Tablespoon of castile soap per 1 quart of water.
- Shake/mix it well.
While the solution is safe, you might want to test it on one leaf and allow to sit for 24 hours. If there’s no damage, spray the whole plant. If there is damage, try one of these other methods.
Bugs hate this oil because it kills them. However, it’s perfectly safe for use around humans and pets. Here’s what you need to make 1 liter of neem oil spray:
- Clean spray bottle
- 1 liter of water
- 20 ml neem oil
- 3 ml castile soap (liquid)
You need castile soap as an emulsifier. Heat the water and then slowly add the castile soap. Slowly add neem oil, constantly stirring so that it mixes well.
Once dissolved, pour in a spray bottle and shake well. Drench the plant and keep in mind that it’s only good for 8 hours. After that, it’s not as potent.
If you have kids and/or pets, you’ll want to make sure you get food-grade diatomaceous earth. While safe for humans and pets, it is lethal for insects. The easiest way to apply it is with a shaker. You can put some in a plastic soda bottle, put a few holes in the lid, and when you squeeze it, the powder will puff out onto your plants.
If you plan to repot your plant, you can put some on the new pot, and then every time you water, add some to the topsoil. This will kill any eggs and/or larvae before they develop into adult bugs.
Apple Cider Vinegar
This is the perfect solution if you have a gnat problem. The adults are attracted to the scent of apple cider vinegar. Simply place some in a container, cover with plastic wrap and poke tiny holes in it. They’ll get in, but they won’t get back out and will end up drowning in it.
While it may seem like it’s the same, pyrethrum is not the same as permethrin spray, which is another insect control spray. Pyrethrum is for plants, permethrin is for your home. This is a poison that attacks the bugs’ nervous system, which causes them to die. You will want to spray this at night when the temps are cooler. It is organic, but not long-lasting. The higher temps and UV exposure decreases its potency. You cannot use this in your outdoor garden.
This poison is not discriminatory, it will kill all of the insects that come into contact with it- even the beneficial ones.
Garlic/Hot Pepper Spray
You can use either of these to get rid of your bug infestation- or you can combine the two for maximum power.
You can spray the foliage of the plant with garlic spray to get rid of the bugs or you can put garlic in the water that you use to water the plant. Either way is effective. You’ll need the following to make it:
- Food processor
- 1 head garlic
- Large jar (should be able to hold 2 cups of water)
- Container (large enough to hold 1 gallon of water)
- Clean spray bottle
Here’s how to do it:
- Put garlic in food processor and blend.
- Pour in 2 cups water.
- Pulse twice.
- Pour into jar, cover, and set in dark room/closet for 1 day.
- Pour into bigger container and add water until amount is 1 gallon.
- Fill spray bottle and spray plants.
- Apply garlic once a week until bugs are gone.
You can add some spicy herbs, such as jalapenos or habanero peppers, and a teaspoon of cayenne to the mixture. However, don’t let it get into your eyes, mouth, or nose because it will be highly uncomfortable.
When treating your plants, you’ll want to make sure you’re wearing gloves and you cover your mouth with something.
Herbs As Bug Repellants
There are some herbs that are natural bug repellants.
- Peppermint repels spiders and other bugs.
- Rosemary repels flies and mosquitoes.
While both of these can run rampant if planted outdoors, you can pot them and bring them inside. Another great herb to use for repelling bugs is catnip- but you will need to alternate bringing it in and putting it outside because it needs lots of sun.
Of course, these options are not going to work as quickly as some of the other ones, they will last longer. You may want to start out with one of the other options if you already have an infestation and get these herbs to keep them away.
You love your plants. They have become like members of the family, and it can be hard to watch your loved one get sick- that is, infested by bugs. However, you can prevent an infestation by trying some of these tricks.