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How To Stop Aphids From Destroying Your Vegetable Plants & Flowers

If you have gardened long enough, chances are, you’ve had to deal with the issue of trying to stop aphids from destroying your flowers or vegetable plants.

For us, the problem first came to light a few years back. And it happened in a flash!

It took just two days for aphids to turn what was a gorgeous clematis into a lifeless and leafless vine.

Aphids are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to pests that destroy vegetable gardens, perennials, annuals, and even houseplants.

aphids on a pepper plant leaf
Aphids hanging out on the underside of a pepper plant leaf.

There are over 200 species of aphids that attack plants. And, just like with our clematis vine, they can strike quickly and without warning.

One of the things that make aphids so deadly is how fast they can reproduce. Without any control measures in place, they can triple their colony size in as little as 3 days.

And they can be hard to find until its too late.

But ever since that fateful year we lost the clematis, we have found a few natural and safe remedies that have worked wonders to stop aphids from destroying any of our plants.

Safe And Simple Methods To Stop Aphids From Destroying Plants

#1 Be Aware

First and foremost, you need to be on the lookout for these tiny creatures at all times.

Aphids are nearly invisible to the naked eye, especially when it comes to their tiny offspring. They can go from egg to hatching in just a day or two!

how to stop aphids
Aphids feed by penetrating the outer skin of the plants to get at the sap inside.

They feed on plants by attacking tender new shoots, stems and foliage. Aphids pierce the outer skin of these areas to devour the plant’s sap.

As plants lose the sap, they lose their source of nutrients. And before you know it, their leaves are gone, and the plant’s demise is sealed.

Aphids also carry and spread disease easily among the plants they inhabit. This can be especially devastating to vegetable gardens as disease spreads quickly from plant to plant.

Start by keeping an eye out for any tell-tale signs of damage. Aphids love to hang out on the underside of leaves, so be sure to inspect plants on a regular basis.

The key to controlling them all begins with getting to them before they multiply!

#2 Using Water To Stop Aphids

One of the easiest and most effective ways to stop aphids naturally is with a powerful stream of water.

Their small and frail bodies, along with any eggs of future aphids, can easily be washed off of leaves with a good spray from your garden hose. ( But be sure of course, not to damage plants with too hard of a stream)

As you spray, be sure to hit the underside of leaves where most of the aphids like to to live.

#3 Companion Planting

Believe it or not, one of the best ways to keep aphids away is by planting flowers and vegetable plants they detest. See : The Big Garden Experiment – Companion Planting.

Marigold have long been known to be one of the best choices for repelling aphids. In fact, aphids simply can’t stand to be around them.

using coffee grounds
French marigolds are one of the best choices to repel aphids.

A few pots or plants of these beauties placed strategically in flower and vegetable gardens can do wonders to stop aphids from ever setting up camp.

Nasturtium is another well-known annual flower aphid repellent, as are onions, chives and garlic when planted in the garden.

#4 Hot Pepper / Garlic Oil Spray

If you are in the midst of a serious aphid attack and are looking for a bit more, try using hot pepper and garlic spray.

Puree up 3 or 4 garlic bulbs in a blender. Next, place the mixture into a gallon jug along with four teaspoons of ground cayenne power.

spraying plants
Hot pepper spray can be an effective solution for more serious infestations.

Let the mixture steep for at least 4 to 6 hours, then strain and apply with a pump sprayer to the foliage of the infected plants.

You can also add in a few drop of mild liquid dish soap to help the mixture stick to plants.

There are also commercial available all-natural hot pepper sprays if you prefer not to make your own. See : Neptune’s Natural Hot Pepper Spray

Be sure to reapply after any hard rain or watering for maximum effectiveness.

#5 Attracting Insects To Stop Aphids

Last but not least, attracting beneficial insects to your garden that feast on aphids is a great way to ensure long-term, natural control.

Lady bugs are the best of all when it comes to controlling aphids. They can eat thousands in a single year. In addition, lacewings and butterflies work well to stop aphids too.

stop aphids
Lady bugs are among the best of beneficial insects to help stop aphids.

All of these beneficial insects love to live in gardens and flowerbeds loaded with flowering herbs. Dill, Oregano, Yarrow and Coriander are among their top favorites.

Simply plant a few pots or directly seed into gardens to invite these beneficial insects to camp out. And even better, some of these companion plants can help in the fight against mosquitoes too! ( See : Battling Mosquitoes Naturally)

Here’s to keeping your garden and flowerbeds healthy and free of an aphid invasion! Jim and Mary.

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