How to make cheap and effective pest repellents for the garden

There are cheap, effective, environmental-friendly homemade remedies for plant pests. Learn how to use things available in the house to drive away pests from your garden, in this DIY project. Did you know that vinegar, chillies and garlic make wonderful bug repellants and can also improve the health of your plants?

I love the little green space that I maintain in one corner of my balcony; the plants are lush, for the most part of the year and the potted bougainvillea creates vibrant blooms, all year around. The irony though is that pests love the plants in my balcony, as much as I do. I ever so often have to deal with pests – mealybugs, aphids and scale. I live on the seventh floor – and yet these tiny creatures find their way to my balcony and make my plants their home.

These tiny pests form large colonies on the underside of leaves, of healthy plants. They live off the sap of the leaves and grow in numbers, quite unnoticed, rather quickly. The problem is that they can totally destroy a plant, within a couple of days. And since they conceal themselves under the leaves they often go undetected, unless I physically examine the underside of the leaves of the plants in my potted garden.

If you notice the leaves on a hitherto healthy plant, suddenly turning yellow and shedding in large numbers, it could be a sign that the plant is, most likely, infested with one of these pests.

How do pests like mealy bugs, aphids and scales get to the plants

Aphids, mealy bugs and scales are tiny insects that are transported to healthy plants by ants. They excrete a sticky sugary substance that ants love to eat. If you notice ants moving around your potted plants it could because they have farmed these pests on your plants, so they can get a steady supply of food for themselves. Ants transport mealy bugs and aphids to healthy plants and live off the sugary substance that the former excrete. It's a, "you scratch my back, I scratch your back" situation for the creatures, but not a pleasant one for you and your plants.

Commercially available pest repellents

If you go shopping for pesticides you'll surely be spoilt for choice – there's a huge variety available in the market, from chemical-based pest repellents to organic insecticides. I won't deny the fact that most commercially available pesticides are effective, but you cannot ignore the fact that they can be quite expensive and come with risks - their use is not advised on plants in close proximity to your living space. It is best to avoid chemical-based pesticides and fertilizers on plants that you grow in and around your home. The residue from chemical based products can have harmful effects on humans and pets.

You have eco-friendly alternatives sitting in your home, which can be turned into effective fertilisers and pesticides. Here are a few easily available natural pesticides for your plants that will destroy most bugs and prevent further infestation.


Most Indian kitchens have a bottle of vinegar sitting in one of the shelves – it is wonderful additive to a desi style salad, and adds a certain sharpness and zing to humble onions. Vinegar is used in the laundry, as well. And many homemakers swear by vinegar for its stain-removing property.

It is an incredible aqueous solution with more properties than we can imagine. Did you know that vinegar also makes a superb bug repellent and can help keep your plants pest free?

Vinegar diluted in water makes an excellent bug repellent that can be safely sprayed on houseplants. Mix water and vinegar in a 2:1 ratio, transfer into a spray bottle and spray the liquid on pest infested plants. The solution will stop ants from frequenting your garden and kill most bugs, even beneficial ones. So, spray on areas where you find pests harbouring – especially under the leaves. Remember ladybugs are friendly bugs.

Vinegar also turns the soil acidic and is good for plants that thrive in acidic soil. The solution can be safely used on indoor and outdoor plants, without worry of it affecting the environment or the health of your loved ones. The solution stores well in a cool, shaded place. Spray the plants twice a week, when you find an infestation and once a month, to ensure the pests stay away.


Garlic has medicinal properties and is recommended as a cure for various illnesses, is an established fact. But, have you heard of garlic keeping the vampire away? I don't know how far that is true, but I can vouch for it being a good plant pest controller. Garlic pods have the ability to drive away most garden pests.

All you need to do is prepare a concoction of garlic and water and spray it on your plants. Drop a garlic bulb in 2 litres of water and let it stand overnight. For best results smash the bulb, before dunking it in water. The next morning, bring the water to a rolling boil, with the garlic pods still in it. Cool, strain and transfer the liquid into a spray bottle.

Use the spray on your pest infested plants. Incidentally, garlic will also keep mosquitoes away. Spray the plants once a month and you can say goodbye to pests forever. The crushed garlic pods can be thrown in the soil for better effect. If you are worried that the powerful garlicky odour taking over your living space, worry not. The smell dissipates without a trace.

Chilli peppers

Break around 10 red chillies and drop them in a litre of water. Let them stand in the water overnight. The next morning, boil the water with the chillies still in it. Cool, strain and store the liquid in a spray bottle.

Use on plants, once a month, to destroy pests and keep them from returning. Be careful using this solution as the cayenne in the chillies can burn.

Neem leaves

Neem leaves are great for your garden. I suggest adding some dried leaves to the topsoil. It doubles up as a natural fungicide, fertiliser and pesticide. Alternatively, boil neem leaves in water, cool, strain and use the water to spray on the plants.

Try these natural remedies in your garden, instead of turning to commercially available pest repellents. And, in doing so you will protect the environment and yourself.

How do you keep pests from attacking your plants? What kind of pesticide/insecticides do you use for your plants? Do you have any tips that you'd like to share? Please leave them in the comment section.

Related Articles

How to prevent acne scars?

This article explains various measures which keep acne under control. This decreases inflammation and consequently chances of formation of acne scars too decreases. Actions like not picking at skin, proper hydration, using sunscreen lotions, proper skin care regime etc prevent formation of acne scars.

How To Control Anger?

Have you ever been angry and later on felt sad for being angry on some one or something? Do you want to control your anger ? Is anger good or not ? The following article will discuss about anger and measures through which we can control our anger.

How to remove blood stains from delicate fabrics and specific surfaces?

This article explains various tips and methods to get rid of blood stains from delicate fabrics like silk, satin, woolen, linen etc and from specific surfaces like concrete, hardwood floors, mattress, quilt, leather, carpets etc. These methods used can make them free from blood stains.

Top 9 tips and exercises to sharpen the mind and boost brainpower

The brain needs constant stimulation to remain alert and active. Practice good habits that can sharpen your memory and help you stay alert and on top of your game at all times. Simple lifestyle changes that involve the number of you sleep or what you eat or how you relax can play a great role in how your brain functions. Find out what you need to do right, to get the best out of your grey cells.

How to become a pathologist with top hospitals in India

Are you looking for a career in medicine as a clinical pathologist? Need to know how to start a pathology lab? This article provides complete information on the different specializations in pathology and a career guide on starting a career as a pathologist. You will also get a general idea on the approximate costs of setting up your own path lab.

More articles: How to


Author: Natarajan04 Jan 2018 Member Level: Gold   Points : 1

Turmeric powder in water roughly 1 tablespoon (around 15 gm) in 1 liter of water, used as a spray is a good natural insecticide for the home garden/plants.
Baking soda and vegetable oil (2:1) in 2 liters warm water as a spray is good for mildew too.

Author: Anauj19 Jan 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 2

I have seen turmeric being used to deter ants. It is no doubt a cheap remedy for houseplants, but my only concern is whether it will stain the surroundings, for instance, the walls in the balcony or the pathways in a garden.

I have used baking soda and vegetable oil on tomato plants that were prone to blight and killing my plants. The effect was quite amazing. Though I thought I would lose the plants, they recovered completely and went to provide me crop after crop of plum tomatoes.

  • Do not include your name, "with regards" etc in the comment. Write detailed comment, relevant to the topic.
  • No HTML formatting and links to other web sites are allowed.
  • This is a strictly moderated site. Absolutely no spam allowed.
  • Name: