How To Get Rid Of Aphids On Your Plants Naturally

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July 24, 2020

They say observation is critical to any successful garden. Watching your plants grow will help you learn how they respond to various techniques and environmental conditions. It’ll also help you get ahead of pests and diseases. Critters like aphids, for example.

what are aphids

The other morning as I enjoyed my coffee in the greenhouse, I noticed tiny white and green specs all over my eggplant leaves. I touched them, and it felt sticky. A closer look and I saw they were moving. Yup, my plant was covered in aphids.

Oh Hell No

First, I had a minor meltdown. After collecting myself, I got to work. I noticed the foliage of one eggplant covered with the tiny bugs, and a neighboring tomato plant was starting with them.

These guys had to go.

What Are Aphids?

Aphids come in a whole slew of colors, shapes, and sizes. They love flowers, herbs, vegetable crops, shrubs, and trees; no discrimination here. 

They suck sap from plants and excrete a sugar liquid called ‘honeydew,’ which is why my fingers felt sticky after touching the leaves. 

Aphids breed quickly without a mate and can take over an entire plant in the blink of an eye. 

aphids on cloth container

Foliage may react by puckering or wilting. A severe infestation sucks all of the energy away from fruit production. 

Eviction Notices

If you notice a few aphids, chances are you’re not in trouble. 

One of my favorite gardening books, Garden Alchemy: 80 Recipes and Concoctions for Organic Fertilizers, Plant Elixers, Potting Mixes, Pest Deterrents, and More, offers some excellent advice.

Author Stephanie Rose says if 20% of the plant is infested, you need to take matters into your own hands.

I’m no mathematician, but this looked like it was time for me to intervene.

Natural Methods

Planting marigolds close to fruit and veggie crops repels aphids and other insects. 

There are a few helpful predators that will do their best to control aphid infestations outdoors. Chickadees, wasps, hoverflies, and ladybugs love to snack on these creepy crawlers. 

lady bugs munching on aphids

Indoor growing presents its challenges, as many of these predators can’t access the plant. I did notice a ladybug doing some good work, but she had a long road ahead of her.

In situations like these, you can move the affected plant outdoors to let the birds and bugs do their work. This method works beautifully! minutes after I moved my plant outside, wasps and hoverflies were happily eating. 

But if you’re unwilling to wait, or if the problem is too severe, Rose recommends a super simple method: the garden hose. 

Shower Time

Using the jet spray, gently shower down the entire plant from top to bottom. Make sure you get both sides of the leaves and the stem. 

spray your plant down

I had aphids collecting on my fabric pot like a bad dandruff case, so I also showered that down. 

Spraying the plant not only sends the aphids flying, but it also creates an environment for them that they don’t like. Most of them won’t be able to make it back up the wet stem. 

All clean!

FYI, this trick also works for spider mites and spittlebugs.

So, after a good shower, my eggplant is now back to looking pristine. It got a good drink at the same time too. Be sure to check the plant regularly to give it another hose down if need be.

healthy eggplant

Now, back to my coffee in the greenhouse. 

Catherine Sherriffs
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Catherine Sherriffs

Catherine is a Canadian award-winning journalist who worked as a reporter and news anchor in Montreal’s radio and television scene for 10 years. A graduate of Concordia University, she left the hustle and bustle of the business after starting a family. Now, she’s the editor and a writer for Garden Culture Magazine while also enjoying being a mom to her two young kids. Her interests include great food, gardening, fitness, animals, and anything outdoors.
Catherine Sherriffs
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