Using Essential Oils in the Garden

When it comes to gardening, you may not choose to use various harmful pesticides that are commonly used to help with fertilizing and keeping pests out. Some of the most plant savvy gardeners know that planting certain things like garlic or marigolds around the edges or next to certain plants can naturally help to get rid of pests. These different techniques work so well because pests don’t like certain smells and the different plants – natural aroma helps to keep them away from your garden’s vegetables and fruits. This is the same basic tactic that is used when you combine essential oils into your gardening. Some oils can be more effective for this purpose in your garden. Here are some of the basic oils that can work very well to keep your garden pest free.


Peppermint oil is widely used because of its strong scent to most humans, and especially to bugs. In the past, peppermint oil has been used for getting rid of rats, as well as deterring other pests like insects. Specifically, peppermint oil will deter ants, aphids, bean beetles, moths, flies, caterpillars and even mice.


Citronella and lemongrass can be added to the peppermint to make oil that is referred to as purification. This mixture can deter insects like ticks, nematodes, fleas, carrot flies, gnats, mosquitoes and more. It also holds some powerful anti-fungal properties and can be used to maintain your garden.

Oregano and Thieves

Oregano and Thieves are similar to purification in that they also possess

properties that can help fight many different varieties of fungus. These two oils also contain an additional power when it comes to viruses and bacteria. Why is this helpful? Beginning gardeners may not understand that those same problems can come into a garden and have a negative effect on the plants and their growth. They can also attack vegetables and fruits which can cause disease.

Cedarwood Oil

One of the lesser known oils is called Cedarwood and it is also helpful in the garden. While snails and slugs may not always cause problems, in large amounts they can be a gardener’s worst nightmare. Cedarwood oil is great at naturally deterring snails and slugs from your plants.

Applying the Oil

There are many different ways that people choose to apply the essential oils into their gardens, and it is usually just a matter of preference. You can make a spray with a mixture of water and essential oils. All you have to do is take the essential oils that you want to use and add four to eight drops into a single gallon of water. Put the liquid into a sprayer and then apply it to your flowers, fruit and vegetable plants and if needed, directly on the fruit and vegetables.

To target specific insects in large numbers, take some cotton balls and add a few drops of the oil to them. This works best with peppermint oil or the purification blend. Next, place the cotton ball right onto the ant hill, burrow or other insect grouping to cause them to relocate immediately. If that doesn’t work at first, you should repeat this same process.

Yogurt containers are good to keep and recycle as well by burying them in the ground with the rim of the cup even with the dirt level. Simply place a few drops in each cup and the scent from the containers will repel anything you don’t want to come around. You can also soak strings and place them in the rows of your garden between the different plants.

If you prefer to keep your homemade repellants out of the dirt and away from your plants, you can always soak or spray strips of fabric and hang them from trees or above your garden. These can be easily added to or, if needed, taken away if you feel the scents may be too strong. It is also easy to go out and re-apply any oil if you feel like the effect has worn off.

Know Your Garden

The last bit of advice is to just give different oils a try. You may find that one type of oil works better than others in the different areas of your garden. With a little patience and gardening, you will find something natural and non-toxic that suits you and your plants.

Joel Halstead writes about natural living, essential oils and organic health products for Bulk Apothecary. When he isn’t hunting down essential oil recipes or researching aromatherapy, you can find him on the trail or on the water, bike, foot or boat.

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