One of the major challenges that gardeners face is keeping pests away. Certain insects will eat away at flowers, thus canceling out all your effort to grow stunning blossoms. While pesticides are a common way to eliminate bugs, these chemicals also have the potential to be harmful to more than pests. In fact, pesticides can cause a host of health problems in people and pets while also damaging the environment. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to preserve your blooms without contributing to these issues.
Here are some tried-and-true natural methods for warding off any bugs and slugs:
Keep your flowers healthy
Weak, unhealthy flowers are an easier target for bugs. So make sure you regularly water your blossoms and check them for signs of bad health. If you spot any discolored or damaged leaves, remove them immediately. Additionally, ensure that the soil your flowers are growing in has adequate nutrients. These efforts will pay off as your blooms will be less vulnerable to an attack by insects.
Make the soil unfriendly to bugs
One of the best ways to ensure that creeping insects stay away from your precious blossoms is to plant a few sharp objects that make your soil dangerous for them. For example, you could crush up eggshells and distribute them into the dirt around your flowers' roots.
Reach for row covers
By covering your flowers with these lightweight fabric sheets, you can keep out certain insects, such as caterpillars, while also allowing sunlight to pass through. They are best used when flowers are in their early growth stages. As an added bonus, row covers will also protect your blossoms from a light frost.
Concoct your own spray
You can also mix a homemade insect repellant by combining 1 tablespoon of mild dishwashing liquid with 1 tablespoon of cooking oil, and 1 quart of water. Mist your plants once a week, but be sure to do so after watering. This method will work on nearly any blossom except orchids.
Attract and trap
While beer is safe for humans to consume, HGTV Gardens noted that it can be toxic to insects, snails and slugs. In fact, you can use beer as snail bait by pouring some into a shallow container and placing it in your garden. Once they are attracted to the liquid, they won't be able to crawl back out.
Have herbs on hand
Did you know that many aromatic herbs repel pests? HGTV Gardens cited mint, fennel and lemongrass as optimal examples, which can keep a variety of insects from potato beetles to aphids away. Though not an herb, SheKnows pointed out that a sprinkle of chili powder around your flowers can deter ants.