If you want to learn how to use essential oils in the garden, this article is for you.
Here’s how to use essential oils for gardening — to help prevent the growth of fungus, keep bugs off plants, and more.
1. Repel Garden Insects
Insect pests are some of the gardener’s greatest enemies. Using essential oils for garden pest control is an effective organic method .
Oils such as rosemary, peppermint, lemongrass, clove, lavender, cedarwood, thyme, sage, tea tree, and citronella repel certain plant pests.
To make an essential oil pesticide, start by combining peppermint, tea tree, cedarwood, and thyme oil in a 4 oz. spray bottle of water. Using a dropper, 15 drops of each oil is good enough.
Shake well and use it to spray your plants. You can also try out various combinations to find the most effective for your garden.
2. Fight Fungus
Another benefit of using essential oils on plants is that some fight fungus. Oils like orange and lemongrass are useful in controlling fungal infections . Tea tree oil also has a dual action of killing and preventing fungal problems.
Use about 25 drops for this purpose and top up with water in a 4 oz spray bottle. Additionally, neem oil is an all-purpose natural fungicide and insecticide. Clove, cinnamon, thyme, peppermint, and oregano are also useful alternatives.
Whichever one you choose, be careful to avoid hot sun which may react with the oil and burn leaves. Mix up the water and oil solution and spray on plants and soil early morning or, preferably, in the evening. Apply once a week.
3. Attract Pollinators
Some oils like lavender, orange, and sage will attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.
A solution of 6 drops of oil in 4 oz. of water sprayed onto flowers and buds should do the trick. The floral scent will attract these useful insects.
Other useful ones are neroli and helichrysum and aromatic oils like rosemary, basil, lemongrass, hyssop, and marjoram.
4. Kill Weeds
Cinnamon oil and clove oil are both good at suppressing weeds. However, you can also add other oils like peppermint or eucalyptus.
To make a simple essential oil herbicide, put a tablespoon of organic liquid soap in a spray bottle, mix in 15-20 drops of each oil, and add some white vinegar (about 6 cups).
Next, shake well and spray directly on persistent weeds. Shake the solution frequently to keep the oil well distributed.
5. Keep Away Rodents
Cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil fit this purpose. Place near squirrel nests, mice holes, and other places where rodents hang out.
Peppermint oil is especially disliked by rodents. Therefore, it is really useful in repelling them but needs replacing frequently as the smell wears off.
Additionally, you can also hang strips of rag soaked in peppermint oil nearby crops as a deterrent for vermin.
6. Keep Away Pets
Much as we love our pets, they can be a nuisance around plants. Next door’s cat can also be an uninvited guest using the flowerbed as a litter tray.
Try relocating them by spaying your plants and mulch with essential oil. Rosemary is an old remedy against cats. They detest the pungent smell. Additionally, dogs are offended by black pepper essential oil near their sensitive noses.
7. Treat Insect Bites and Stings
This is one of the perils of the garden in spring and summer but one that essential oils can alleviate.
For a DIY remedy for insect bites and stings, combine a teaspoon of apple cider with essential oils like lavender, basil, and chamomile (2 drops of each). Apply to affected areas with a cotton ball to stop bites from itching.
Keep this handy when weeding or working in the garden and swab any bites or stings as soon as they occur.
8. Repel Mosquitos
Most people are familiar with the use of citronella in combating gnats and mosquitos on the beach and in the garden.
Candles, sprays, and other citronella repellents are familiar items in the summer months but there are others to try out.
Add 10 drops of strong-smelling eucalyptus, citronella, lemongrass, peppermint, jojoba, or garlic oil to 2 ounces of water in a small spray bottle.
Additionally, add 1 ounce of witch hazel to the mixture. Moreover, you can use any or a combination of oils.
Shake well and spray around your home. You can also use it on your clothes.
9. Disinfecting Spray
Some plants produce oils with disinfectant properties. Tea tree oil is one of the best known for this purpose.
Lavender oil also has natural disinfecting properties as do citrus oils like orange and lemon.
For a disinfecting spray, add 10-15 drops of oil of choice to one cup of water. Next, add 1/4 cup of white vinegar.
Shake well and spray on surfaces to minimize germs and bacteria.
10. Set the Mood
Some essential oils can create a good mood in the garden. A lovely evening can be enhanced by the introduction of aromatic oils in a burner.
The choice is wide with essential oils that enhance mood and can be just whatever shifts your emotions, brings peace, and relieves stress.
Neroli, lavender, orange, lemongrass, and bergamot all have calming effects.
Best Essential Oils for Gardening
Many essential oils are multi-functional but are particularly good for a sole purpose.
Pungent oils like lavender, peppermint, rosemary, lemongrass, and cinnamon are best at repelling flying insects like gnats and mosquitos. Moreover, cedarwood, pine, and hyssop essential oils work against slugs and snails.
Tea tree oil, lavender, and orange attract pollinators and have disinfecting and anti-fungal benefits. Additionally, peppermint, cinnamon, and clove oils are great for killing weeds.
Following the recipes above, combined with other ingredients, all of these oils can be made into a spray or solution to benefit the garden in one way or another.