Essential oils are essentially (pun intended) the essence of plants. You can extract a plant’s natural oils from its flowers, leaves, stem, and even bark. These oils contain the constituents and components that make up a plant, which all have their own benefits and uses. As plants need to have a way to protect themselves from insects and disease, many essential oil components have insecticidal and antifungal properties. Our list of the best essential oils for gardening contains oils that can naturally help to protect your garden, keeping it pest-free and healthy!
The 5 Best Essential Oils for Gardening
Peppermint essential oil is one of the best essential oils for gardening as it can help keep your garden free and clear of insects! The strong scent of mint is capable of repelling wasps, spiders, mites, beetles, and even aphids. You can also use it to chase off larger critters, such as moles, gophers, and mice. You can soak cotton balls in peppermint oil and place them around gopher holes and other areas of the garden, or else create the following spray:
- 1c Water
- 15 Drops of Peppermint Essential Oil
Mix together in a spray bottle and spray the edges of planter boxes. If you wish to spray the plants themselves, use only 3 drops of oil per gallon
Every gardener knows what a pain it is to deal with weeds. Thankfully, cinnamon essential oil makes our list of the best essential oils for gardening for this particular reason! Use the following recipe, and spray any pesky weeds you see. Be careful to avoid spraying your plants, as cinnamon oil is very strong and can cause harm to them. As an added bonus, cinnamon oil is also great at repelling certain insects!
- 1 Gallon of White Vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Liquid Dish Soap
- 15-20 Drops of Cinnamon Essential Oil
Combine all ingredients into a spray bottle and shake. Spray weeds as needed, avoiding plants!
One of the best smelling oils around, rosemary essential oil is also great for repelling pests in the garden. Scientific studies indicate that rosemary oil is capable of killing both spider mites and greenhouse whiteflies, two common garden pests. Anecdotal evidence also indicates that the scent of rosemary is highly disagreeable to felines, which means it can also keep curious cats out of your garden!
Sweet orange essential oil is one of the best essential oils for gardening because it attracts butterflies and bees! If you want to draw in the master pollinators, then using orange oil is an easy and natural way to do so. Simply add a few drops of sweet orange to the side of your pots to attract friendly guests. Orange oil can also help repel insects, as it contains limonene which can kill ants and flies.
Native to Australia, tea tree oil (or melaleuca oil) can be a great way to protect your plants from common fungus. To help protect the plants in your garden, you can spray them with a dilution of tea tree oil and water. Be careful to do so in the morning, as this will prevent burning from the sun. Also, note that tea tree oil is toxic if ingested, so be sure to thoroughly wash any edible plants and to keep small children and insects well away.
- 2 Cups of Water
- 2 Tbsp of Tea Tree Oil
Best Essential Oils for Gardening: Methods Of Use
Essential Oil Sprays
One of the major benefits of using essential oils is that you don’t need to use very much of them! This makes it a very affordable way to create natural garden sprays. Use 15-20 drops of oil per full spray bottle for spraying weeds or around planters, while only 1-3 drops if spraying the plants themselves.
Cotton balls are a great way to deter larger garden critters such as mice and moles. To use this method all you have to do is soak a cotton ball or pad with essential oil, and leave it in rodent nests or burrows.
When using essential oils for gardening, it is still important to take the necessary precautions. Avoid direct skin contact with oils, as due to their potency they can burn or otherwise irritate your skin. You need to also be careful of pets and small children, as many oils (particularly tea tree) can be toxic. If you are using these oils in and around your garden you need to be sure that no one curious can get their hands or mouths on them! Be very careful to wash any edible plants carefully before eating them.
There are many different ways to help control pests and diseases in the garden, but using essential oils is one of the most natural. As they come from the essence of plants, this makes a lot of sense! Plants need to protect themselves from these same threats, so they each contain components that will help. Using essential oils is basically using a concentrated version of their own defense mechanisms. You can use this list of the best essential oils to help keep your garden thriving without having to worry about chemicals and pesticides!