How to Prevent & Naturally Treat Harmful Insects In The Garden

by Amanda

Plant varieties that attract beneficial bugs to the garden. These bugs will help destroy harmful insects that damage your plants.

Plant varieties that attract beneficial bugs to the garden. These bugs will help destroy harmful insects that damage your plants.

It’s an age-old struggle, whether you’re gardening in Florida, Maine or California – pests are a challenge to any growing landscape. Instead of using chemicals and pesticides in the garden, we’re here to offer a natural solution to your pest problem. Through prevention, the attraction of beneficial insects and natural remedies, the population of harmful pests hurting your precious plants will be reduced, giving you a stronger, healthier garden.

Preventing Harmful Pests

The easiest way to help keep harmful pests away from your plants is prevention, which means keeping a healthy, happy garden. The foundation of a healthy garden is healthy soil. We recommend using all natural compost, soil and mulch, going organic when possible. This helps give your plants the best chance of healthy growth. Another way to prevent harmful pests is to identify and pull out any plants that may be diseased or weak. Pulling and disposing of diseased plants away from the garden helps keep pests or disease from spreading to other plants nearby in your landscape. Minimize insect habitat by always keeping your garden weeded and clear of unnecessary debris (as much as possible – we know this can be hard). Plant diversity helps deter many harmful insects, especially aphids. If you’re planting vegetables, try rotating crops every year to help avoid re-infestation of pests on your crops. Watering early in the morning so foliage can dry out for most of the day helps keep fungus and other pests that prefer a moist environment out. If you’re gardening in any area that has been infected by pests, remember to disinfect your tools before moving on to another area, as well as properly disposing of clippings and cuttings.

Keep your garden weeded and debris-free to help prevent harmful insects from destroying your plants.

Keep your garden weeded and debris-free to help prevent harmful insects from destroying your plants.

Attracting Beneficial Insects

Beneficial insects, such as ladybugs, praying mantis and nematodes, are a gardeners’ best friend. These helpful insects prey on harmful insects and their larvae. The easiest way to attract beneficial insects to the garden is to plant flowering varieties that they love and need to survive. Plants such as Marigolds, Cilantro, Cosmos, California Poppy, and Sweet Alyssum should be planted throughout the garden to attract beneficial insects. (Tip: we carry a Beneficial Bug Wildflower Mix that contains a variety of these wildflowers). This ‘insect war’ can be one of the most successful, natural ways to help keep harmful pests from your garden.

Non-Toxic Solutions

If you’ve done everything you can to keep your garden healthy and attract beneficial insects to your property, but are still having a pest problem, we recommend trying a natural solution.

  • For aphids and mealybugs, try mixing a spray bottle full of water with a tablespoon of canola or olive oil and a few drops of dish soap. Spray the entire plant from top to bottom, making sure to get the undersides of the leaves. This mixture naturally kills these harmful insects. You can also try simply knocking these small insects from your plants with a blast of the garden hose.
  • For mites and other insects, try mixing a spray bottle full of water with a few tablespoons of cayenne pepper and a few drops of dish soap.  Spray the entire plant from top to bottom, making sure to get the undersides of the leaves. This mixture naturally kills these harmful insects.
  • For fungal diseases on your plants, try mixing a spray bottle full of water with a few tablespoons of baking soda, spraying the problem areas. Spray every few days until the disease goes away.
  • Japanese beetles can be a big nuisance in the garden. The best way to naturally rid your landscape of these pesky critters is to hand-pick the beetles, which are green and brown, and destroy them.
  • Borers, wormlike beetles in a young stage, tunnel into plant stems and can kill the entire plant. To get rid of an infestation, destroy the infested plant parts and remember to keep your garden free of debris to discourage new borers.
  • Protect young plants from cutworms by using ‘cutworm collars’ made out of cardboard tubes or tin cans, which create a barrier around the transplant.

Natural Mosquito Repellants

Few enjoy the smell of citronella or bug spray in the summer months, so why not plant varieties in your garden that help to naturally repel mosquitoes?

Plants that Naturally Repel Mosquitos:

We know that natural remedies will never completely rid harmful pests from the garden, but that is the beauty of nature, it can’t be completely controlled. By keeping a clean, healthy garden and attracting beneficial insects, you’ll be on your way to a stronger, more vibrant garden without harmful chemicals or pesticides.

Lavender helps naturally repel Mosquitoes from your garden.

Lavender helps naturally repel Mosquitoes from your garden.

  1. Pink Echinacea Magnus, Echinacea purpurea, Coneflower

    'Magnus' Coneflower has vibrant pink, ray-like flowers that surround deep-orange center cones, attracting plentiful pollinators to the garden throughout the summer. Leaving the spent...

    Learn More
    Magnus Echinacea Purple Coneflower Magnus Echinacea purpurea Magnus
    As low as $8.98 Sale $5.39
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    'Magnus' Coneflower has vibrant pink, ray-like flowers that surround deep-orange center cones, attracting plentiful pollinators to the garden throughout the summer. Leaving the spent stems and flowerheads in place to overwinter will also attract birds. Coneflowers are notably tough native plants and 'Magnus' is no exception, withstanding drought, clay, humidity and harsh winter conditions without complaint. Easy to grow, this plant is a great choice for beginner and experienced gardeners alike. (Echinacea purpurea)
    Learn More
  2. Soulmate Swamp Milkweed, Asclepias incarnata

    'Soulmate' Swamp Milkweed is an essential North American native that provides vital food for developing Monarch butterflies. Cherry pink flowers with white centers emanate a sweet va...

    Learn More
    Soulmate Swamp Milkweed Swamp Milkweed Soulmate Asclepias incarnata Soulmate
    As low as $16.98 Sale $8.49
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    'Soulmate' Swamp Milkweed is an essential North American native that provides vital food for developing Monarch butterflies. Cherry pink flowers with white centers emanate a sweet vanilla fragrance that calls in countless other pollinators. Beyond its beautiful color and sweet scent, this compact milkweed tolerates moist soils and is a great choice for small-space gardens. Deer resistant. (Asclepias incarnata)
    Learn More
  3. Pink Sedum Autumn Joy, Sedum, Stonecrop

    'Autumn Joy' Sedum produces delicate bright-pink flowers on large heads that age into a beautiful copper color as fall approaches. 'Autumn Joy' is a stout, spreading plant with succu...

    Learn More
    Autumn Joy Sedum Stonecrop Autumn Joy Sedum spectabile Autumn Joy
    $9.98 Sale $4.99
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    'Autumn Joy' Sedum produces delicate bright-pink flowers on large heads that age into a beautiful copper color as fall approaches. 'Autumn Joy' is a stout, spreading plant with succulent foliage that pairs well with ornamental grasses and against the deep-green leaves of summer perennials. Easy to care for, very adaptable, and a popular stand-in for shrubs, this sedum lasts and lasts when other plants begin to wane. (Stonecrop)
    Learn More
  4. Penstemon Red Riding Hood, Bearded Tongue

    'Red Riding Hood' Penstemon has bold, cherry-red spikes that form on compact, upright foliage and act as a magnet for hummingbirds and butterflies. This easy-to-grow perennial makes ...

    Learn More
    Red Riding Hood Penstemon Red Riding Hood Beardtongue PP#18950 Penstemon Red Riding Hood PP#18950
    $12.98 Sale $6.49
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    'Red Riding Hood' Penstemon has bold, cherry-red spikes that form on compact, upright foliage and act as a magnet for hummingbirds and butterflies. This easy-to-grow perennial makes a unique, vibrant statement in the garden and is lovely when cut for bouquets. Drought-tolerant. (Penstemon) PP#18950
    Learn More
© 2019 AmericanMeadows.com All rights reserved