How to Make and Use Garlic Water Pesticide for Plants

Updated on January 15, 2018
Joe Macho profile image

I've successfully used garlic water to remove spider mites, aphids, powdery mildew, and even fungus gnats from my own gardens.

Nature's Gift

Without the use of chemical pesticides, organic gardeners look solely to nature for ways to stop and prevent pest infestations. Luckily, nature is always willing to comply and gives garlic as a cure. It may come as a surprise, but yes, this small ground-dwelling bulb has a wide array of uses in the garden. The active sulfur compounds in garlic not only act as a powerful pesticide, they also eliminate fungus and deter grazing vermin. Best of all, you'll be able to free your plants of pests without leaving behind harmful chemicals or residues. Keep reading to learn how to make and use "garlic tea" to protect your plants.

Benefits of Garlic Water for Plants

A homemade garlic spray has many uses and can be applied to vegetable, fruit, ornamental, and indoor plants.

  • Natural Pesticide/Insecticide – When used as a foliage spray, garlic is effective against aphids, Colorado potato beetles, whiteflies, bean beetles, cabbage worms, spider mites, moths (including the diamondback moth), ants, and termites. If used as a soil treatment, garlic water is a recognized treatment for nematodes and fungus gnats.
  • Natural Fungicide – The active sulfur compounds will terminate a variety of fungal and mildew infestations. It is a very effective treatment and preventative measure for powdery mildew.
  • Natural Deterrent – When used in combination with chilis, garlic works well as a deterrent against mice, rats, rabbits, voles, elk, and deer.

Recipe for Garlic-Based Fungicide/Pesticide Spray

Makes: 1 gallon

Costs: $0.50—what a deal!

Ingredients:

  • 1 small head of garlic—you can try substituting with garlic powder, but since it has been processed and dried, it may have lost a lot of potency. I've never tried it, but I feel that it won't be the same as fresh garlic.
  • 2 cups of water

Instructions:

  1. Process the head of garlic in a blender. Get the consistency as smooth as possible.
  2. Add two cups of water to the blender and pulse a couple of times.
  3. Pour the mixture into a glass container and let it sit in a covered, dark space for one day.
  4. When ready to apply, strain off all the solids and dilute with enough water to get a total of one gallon of solution.
  5. Store in the fridge when not in use.

To Apply:

Use a spray bottle to soak the tops and bottoms of each leaf in the infested area once every week until the problem ceases.

When using as a preventative measure, apply the garlic water only once every two weeks or after it rains.

Soak the infected soil thoroughly once a week to get rid of fungus gnats and nematodes.

Recipe for Garlic-Based Deterrent

Makes: 1 gallon

Cost: $1.00

Ingredients:

  • 1 small head of garlic
  • 1 jalapeno, or 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper

Instructions:

  1. Process the head of garlic in a blender until you get a smooth consistency.
  2. Add the jalapeno or tablespoon of cayenne pepper and blend a bit more.
  3. Add two cups of water to the blender and pulse a couple of times.
  4. Pour the mixture into a glass container and let it sit in a covered, dark space for one day.
  5. When ready to apply, strain off all the solids and dilute with enough water to get a total of one gallon of solution.
  6. Store in the fridge when not in use.

To Apply:

Thoroughly apply the solution to plants targeted by mice, rats, rabbits, deer, and elk once every two weeks or after it rains.

For prevention against voles, pour a barrier of the solution around your garden plants. Make sure there are no gaps in your barrier. Re-apply to the soil once every two weeks.

Precautionary Advice

The key to using a garlic water solution for plants is to use it in moderation! While the solution effectively eliminates pesky garden infestations, it can also negatively affect beneficial soil microbes if used too often. Through my own experiences, I've found that it should not be applied more than twice a week as a foliage spray or once a week as a soil treatment.

Final Word

Garlic water is seriously an effective treatment! I've used garlic water on a variety of house, garden, and ornamental plants with no damage at all (other than what the insects had already done). Even the most tender of plants showed no ill effects. Garlic is not a strong chemical and should not interfere or stunt your plants' growth or vigor. Overall, you'll be doing yourself and your plants a lot of good by using a homemade, natural, and organic garlic pesticide.

© 2012 Zach

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    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 4 months ago from United States

      How did I miss this article before? Love it! Am going to try it. Much cheaper than the stinky mix we've been purchasing to deter deer. Thank you!

    • profile image

      Sherry faram 11 months ago

      I make garlic water to keep the possums out of my yard. It works a treat. Touchwood my yard has been possum free for about 2mths now.

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 18 months ago from Victoria, Australia

      Have been using garlic spray for years, and have found it very good, especially against aphids.

    • Joe Macho profile image
      Author

      Zach 2 years ago from Colorado

      Geri - Since garlic powder has been processed and dried, it will have lost a lot of its potency. I've never tried it, but I feel that it won't be the same as fresh garlic.

    • profile image

      Geri 2 years ago

      Will garlic powder work as well as a clove of garlic?

    • profile image

      Jennifer Attwell 3 years ago

      Will definitely be trying this

    • iguidenetwork profile image

      iguidenetwork 4 years ago from Austin, TX

      I've bookmarked this hub. I've been wondering how to make a pesticide which is also safe for my tomato plants. Thanks for the hub and for your added information you posted on the comments. Up and useful.

    • Kaili Bisson profile image

      Kaili Bisson 4 years ago from Canada

      Fantastic tip...thank you! I wonder if it works on slugs?

    • Joe Macho profile image
      Author

      Zach 4 years ago from Colorado

      Jennsinkona - Store it in the fridge.

    • Kevin Peter profile image

      Kevin Peter 4 years ago from Global Citizen

      The natural pesticide explained in the hub sounds great. never thought of garlic to be so useful. Thanks for your hub and the useful information.

    • profile image

      Jennsinkona 4 years ago

      Aloha! Just made my first batch and I was wondering where would be best to store the gallon?

    • liesl5858 profile image

      Linda Bryen 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      I've heard of washing up liquid is useful for watering plants to kill insects but I haven't heard of this one so I will give it a try. Thank you Joe Macho for sharing a fantastic hub.

    • idigwebsites profile image

      idigwebsites 4 years ago from United States

      Wow, that's an organic and natural pesticide indeed! I don't like to use chemicals too for my plants, and I'm quite excited to try this one -- and it's totally easy to make. thank you! :)

    • profile image

      Smith Rex 4 years ago

      Amazing!! i am certainly going to try it and will save money too. I hope it is slug deterrent as well.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

      Great article. I´ll be making it tomorrow. I´ve heard a lot about the benefits of using garlic in the garden. Thanks for this very easy recipe. Have a nice day!

    • Gina145 profile image

      Gina145 4 years ago from South Africa

      I don't like to use chemicals, so this sounds worth a try.

      I've been using fish emulsion to feed my plants and it attracts flies something awful. I wonder whether adding a bit of garlic water would help keep them away.

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 5 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Thank you Joe, I will give garlic water a try. It's good to know it won't alter the flavor of any veggie. I have tons of garlic this year, so this will be a very good use for the extras! Thanks.

    • Joe Macho profile image
      Author

      Zach 5 years ago from Colorado

      grandmapearl - Thanks for stopping by! Choosing a natural means of pest deterrent really depends on what type of pests you're dealing with. Though garlic works to stop a wide range of pests, it might not cover the particular pests you're dealing with on your melons and cucumbers. The good news is that it never hurts to try. Garlic won't alter the flavor of either melons, cucumbers or any veggie for that matter.

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 5 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Very good information that I am going to use. Do you have any advice for pests on melons and cucumbers? Would garlic water work without flavoring the melons and cukes? I'd very much appreciate your help on this. Thanks! Voted Up, Useful, Shared and Pinned.

    • Patsybell profile image

      Patsy Bell Hobson 5 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

      Voted up and tweeted. I will try your garlic water and pepper in a couple of days when the pepper is ready to pick.

    • profile image

      mcstagra 5 years ago

      besides being economical its non toxic to human, definitely i'll try this in my garden. thanks a lot

    • Jojosi profile image

      Gillian Namele 5 years ago from Complicated

      For sure garlic is a real winner in many areas. While I have followed the medicinal benefits of garlic for all these years, I have never used it in the garden before. This information has come in handy for my battle with aphids.

    • Joe Macho profile image
      Author

      Zach 5 years ago from Colorado

      sloopyjo - Let me be the first to admit that I am greatly unfamiliar with Awabuki plants. On the upside, I've used garlic water on a variety of house, garden and ornamental plants with no damage at all (other than what the insects had already done). Even the most tender of plants showed no ill effects. Garlic is not a strong chemical and should not interfere or stunt your plants' growth or vigor. Applying an application of garlic water will most likely be very appreciated by your Awabuki plants! Good luck to you, aphids can be quite the pain.

    • profile image

      sloopyjo 5 years ago

      We are using ladybugs to wage war with our aphids, but it's a long drawn out battle. If I give the awabuki plants (in central FL) a mist with garlic water, will I lose my ladies?

    • Joe Macho profile image
      Author

      Zach 5 years ago from Colorado

      TMHughes - Hey, thanks for the comment. Garlic is good stuff. I'll be sure to check out your hub.

    • TMHughes profile image

      TMHughes 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Great article, I'm going to use these techniques. Check out my hub on growing garlic.

      https://hubpages.com/food/Garlic-is-delicious-and-...

    • Joe Macho profile image
      Author

      Zach 5 years ago from Colorado

      Simone Smith - I'm glad that you've at least heard of garlic in the garden before! Always appreciate your feedback.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Only recently have I learned that garlic had such usefulness in the gardening realm! This is so cool. Thanks for the guide!