If you’re into organics, you may already use essential oils or at least you’re curious about them. While these plant essences are useful for so many different purposes from wound care to cleaning to just making your home smell nice, you can also use these essences of herbs and plants to help… your plants and keep your garden organic! These are just a few of the handy things you can do with essential oils to help your garden thrive the organic way!
1. Discourage Critters
Whether you have snails, slugs, vermin or even the neighborhood cats and dogs pestering your yard, you can use oils to keep them away. Cats, for instance, don’t like the smell of rosemary. Try putting a few drops into a spray bottle with water and giving your mulch a nice coating. You can do the same thing with any black pepper oil to keep away dogs or other larger mammals.
For rodents and mice, using peppermint will keep them away. Take a few cotton balls and drop on 1-2 drops of peppermint oil. Tuck them anywhere you see mice or squirrel activity, and it will encourage them to go elsewhere.
For gastropods like snails and slugs, pine, hyssop and cedarwood oils work well. Put about a teaspoon into a water-filled spray bottle and spray it around plants where you’ve seen these little guys.
2. Attract Pollinating Insects
Did you know bees love the scent of orange blossom oil? They also like marjoram, hyssop, basil, helichrysum, lavender, sage, rosemary and basil. If you’d like to attract butterflies, use oils like yarrow, fennel, sage, lavender, catmint or helichrysum. Put a few drops of any of these in a spray bottle and give the garden a good mist to attract these pollinators.
3. Get Rid of Fungus
Fungus in the garden can be a big problem, but sometimes using commercial chemicals to treat it can do more harm than good (both to you and the plants). Tea tree oil is one of the best cures for fungus, and not just in the garden. It prevents the growth of fungus and kills any existing spores. You can use it as a preventative in your garden or use it to treat an existing problem.
Mix one tablespoon for each cup of water, and spray it directly on the plants 1-2 times per week. Just avoid spraying when the weather is really hot and sunny, or the oil can burn delicate plant leaves.
Citronella is another oil that works well for fungus, as it inhibits the growth of many different species. Rosemary, thyme, peppermint, cinnamon, clove, oregano, onion and garlic oils are also effective. To use any of these, add about ten drops into a spray bottle filled with water. Shake it up before using, and spray it around or on your plants.
4. Repel Insects
If you’d like to relax and enjoy your garden instead of swatting away mosquitoes and flies, rosemary is the go-to oil to keep them away. It also deters cabbage caterpillars which can do a lot of damage. If you have chiggers or ticks, thyme oil works well to keep them away. Peppermint oil keeps away spiders, whiteflies, beetles, aphids and many other garden pests.
5. Get Rid of Mosquitos
Speaking of nasty flying insects, making your own natural mosquito repellent with essential oils is easy. Mix an ounce of witch hazel with ten drops of jojoba oil and about two ounces of water. Then you can add in 1-2 drops of eucalyptus, lemongrass or peppermint before spraying it on to deter these little biters.
As you can see, there’s no reason to use harmful chemicals to keep bugs and pests away from the plants in your garden if you use essential oils. They not only repel bugs but also kill fungus and attract the types of insects that are beneficial. Using essential oils in your garden will ensure you’ll have a beautiful space to grow food and flowers and just relax when you’re in the mood.
Alex Thorbens of homeandyards.com/ is a professional blogger and an expert on all things home and garden. In his spare time, you’ll find him puttering around in his landscape or working on the many remodeling and home improvement projects that are always in his queue.