Whether you have pets or children and are concerned about potential exposure to toxic pesticides or you just want a green alternative to keeping your garden bug-free, you may make your own homemade organic bug spray for plants. Several different recipes may be used. The formulation is typically dependent on the types of bugs you are trying to repel. The following recipes may be used on a wide variety of pests and are typically quite safe for plants as well as the environment.
Things You'll Need
- Rubbing alcohol
- Spray bottle
- Garlic cloves
- Mineral oil
- Dish soap
Alcohol-Based Natural Spray
Select rubbing alcohol that is at least 70 percent isopropyl alcohol, which is available in most drug or grocery stores.
Mix the rubbing alcohol with water. For a slight pest problem, mix 1 cup of rubbing alcohol with 1 quart of water. For severe pest issues, increase the mixture to 2 cups of rubbing alcohol and 1 quart of water. Pour this mixture into a spray bottle.
Spray the solution on plants. Coat both the underside and topside of leaves for the best pest control. Apply weekly as necessary for stubborn pest infestations. Do not use this spray on new seedlings, on apple leaves or on African violets. The mixture is too harsh for these plants and will burn the leaves and kill the plants.
Garlic-Based Organic Spray
Remove the outer layers of two or three cloves of fresh garlic and finely chop the cloves. Canned garlic may be used—with mixed results—if you do not have any fresh garlic on hand.
Mix the garlic into 2 tsp. of mineral oil. Place the mixture in a small glass sealable container.
Refrigerate the mixture for 24 hours.
Mix 1/4 tsp. of dye-free, fragrance-free dish soap with 1 pint of water.
Pour the garlic-and-oil mixture into the spray bottle and mix thoroughly.
Spray the mixture on the tops and bottoms of the leaves. The spray is effective against most garden pests and will not harm beneficial insects, such as ladybugs. Gardeners have reported mixed results after using this spray to deter grasshoppers, but the vast majority of other garden pests do not like this spray.