Organic Plant Remedies

This is exactly what the plant lice on my plants
looked like (except there weren't this many of
them on each plant)
My plants, which I love dearly, recently got sick and I can't even begin to describe how painful this was for me. Some of them have really grown on me since I didn't just buy them; a few of them I even grew from seeds while others were brought from the countryside (and it's a miracle they even adjusted to the new climate).

Since I use these plants from my "garden" (actually just a balcony so the plants are potted) for medical and culinary purposes as well as to make aromatic oils, I can't poison them with pesticides nor do I want to. I wanted to find organic ways to cure them but this turned out to be much more difficult than I expected.

In the process of searching for remedies, I searched the books I have at home as well as the Internet. I even went to a nearby agricultural shop where the saleswoman told me that she doesn't know a single organic method for healing plants and that they only sell pesticides there. As if that wasn't bad enough, she couldn't even tell me what was causing this illness; all she said was that she guessed it was some sort of bug. Well I could have guessed that but never mind. It was up to me to solve this mystery and, by some miracle, I managed to find a cure and even find out what the cause was!

It turned that plant had gotten plant lice and that grasshoppers had decided to feast on the leaves as well (although I found out about the grasshoppers a bit later). I guess animals like plants with no pesticides...what a shocker. 

He might look cute, but he almost
destroyed my peppermint and
frankincense plant and succeeded in
eating up my whole marigold plant!
There are several kinds of plant lice that differ by color, among other things, and mine were black. They just looked like tiny little black dots on the bottom parts of the leaves. I came to the conclusion that it must be some sort of smaller bug when I figured out that something was eating the leaves from inside (grasshoppers start eating the leaf from the outer parts). It helped me out when I noticed that small groups of these black dots liked to gather around the holes in the leaves. I noticed the grasshopper on my peppermint plant after he had been sedated by the first cure I used to kill the plant lice, but it wasn't until the next day that I found out he was also eating the plants; I caught him red-handed...frantically biting and throwing around bits of my frankincense plant!

Thanks to the all-knowing Google, I managed to find a preparation which was supposed to kill all the plant lice while I used nettle tea to keep the lice from coming back as well as better the growth of the plants.

I bring you the "recipes" for both remedies in this post. But before you read them, have a look at the "before and after" pictures:

Peppermint plant before the cure (the very beginning of the lice terror)
Peppermint plant 2 months after the finished cure
Sage plant before cure - you can see very well exactly how the plant lice eat the leaves
Sage plant 2 months after the finished cure
I don't know about you, but I definitely see a difference and I hope you can see it too even though a photo isn't even close to seeing the plant in person.

Anyway, here are the two miracles that saved my plants! :)

All-Purpose Insect Pest Spray

  1. Cut up or grind one whole onion and one garlic bulb. (I used a kitchen blender)
  2. Add one teaspoon of powdered chili and one liter of water.
  3. Let the mixture sit for an hour, strain it through a cheesecloth or any other type of filter and add one tablespoon of any liquid dish soap. Mix well.
  4. Pour the liquid into a bottle with a spray ending.
  5. When spraying your plants, pay attention to the undersides of the leaves since this is where you'll find the most lice.
Note: keep the liquid in the refrigerator so it will last longer. It can be used up to a week (if it stays longer, even in the fridge, it is best to throw it away because it is potentially harmful). Always keep the bottle shut (the liquid can go spoiled and it can stink up your fridge). After using it, wash your hands (or use gloves while spraying) and take care not to let the liquid come in contact with any sensitive skin areas or the eyes. 

This amount lasted 4-5 days for me, but I sprayed 6-7 plants with it so take that into consideration. 

Nettle Tea

Ratio: 20g of dried nettles on 1l (liter) of water
  1. Leave the dried nettles to sit in the water at room temperature for 24 hours in a covered container.
  2. Strain the mixture through any sort of filter and pour the "tea" into a bottle with a spray ending.
  3. When spraying your plants, pay attention to the undersides of the leaves since this is where you'll find the most lice.
If you want to use this tea as a fertilizer, then leave the nettles in for 3 days. The smell will be very intense and a bit unpleasant, but it's worth it.

As for the nettle, if you can't go picking it in the countryside and don't already have it at home, you can by dried nettles in any tea house (I bought mine for about 2 euros).

I didn't use these two remedies at the same time, mind you. I used the first remedy for 4-5 days and then I let my plants rest for 2 days. After that, I started treating them with the nettle tea for 4-5 days. It took them a long time to regain their strength and grow new stems, but I succeeded! :D

I sincerely hope that you won't have these problems, but if you do, I wish you the best of luck!
Until next time. Yours,
Witch's Cat

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