Dealing with pests is part of gardening that everyone faces sooner or later. It is a fact of life. Gardeners fall into two schools. Some opt to use chemical pesticides, while others practice organic gardening without any chemicals. No matter how you pick to garden, there is a pesticide recommended for container gardening for you!
Container gardens tend to have fewer pests than plants in the ground. If planted in high-quality soil and inspected regularly, most gardeners won’t struggle with pests. However, you never know what might decide that your container garden looks like a delicious snack. Insects make their way into any gardening, so take precautions and have pesticides on hand just in case.
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Pesticides for Container Gardens
1. Homemade Sprays
If you are an organic gardener, you may decide to try a homemade spray first. There are endless choices for you to try. Pinterest is a great place to search homemade pesticide sprays.
A common recipe uses garlic, onions, and cayenne pepper. Mash together garlic and onion. Put into a quart of water and add a teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Let soak for at least 24 hours, and spray all those pests down!
Okay, so you don’t want to make your pesticides. That’s fine! We are all busy people, and we want something that we know will be effective without trial and error. Here are some recommended pesticides by experienced gardeners.
2. Organocide 3-in-1 Garden Spray
Those who want a safe, organic insecticide and fungicide love Organocide. It is effective against a variety of insects, mites, armored pests, and soft scales. Organocide works against fungal diseases as well, such as powdery mildew.
One great thing about this product is that there is no re-entry time. You can spray at any time, even on indoor plants, without worry that it might harm other animals or humans. It is an OMRI listed organic product so that you can trust Organocide.
3. Southern AG 08722 Triple Action Neem Oil
Neem oil is extracted from the tree Azadirachta indica. The oil comes from all parts of the tree, but the seeds contain the highest concentration. While neem oil has dozens of uses, gardeners love it for its anti-fungal and pesticide properties.
Southern AG is the most popular brand for neem oil. It is an OMRI certified organic pesticide. Gardeners can use the neem oil on all fruits, nuts and vegetable plants. It treats and controls black spots, powdery mildew. Neem oil controls:
- spider mites
- soft scales
You can use it to kill eggs, larvae, and adult insects.
Neem oil is one of the most effective, organic pesticides you can use for your container gardener. It is even safe for indoor use. Southern AG sells their neem oil in a concentrated formula, so you have to mix one tablespoon per one gallon of water. However, that is going to last for a very long time!
4. Garden Safe Houseplant and Garden Insect Killer
Another popular pesticide is the Garden Safe spray. You can purchase it as a single bottle or in cases, depending on how much you think that you will need. Each bottle is 24oz and comes ready-to-use. You can use on vegetable and fruit plants up to the day of harvest.
Garden Safe is very effective against a variety of pests. It kills all stages of insects, including eggs and larvae. Garden Safe starts to work as soon as it comes in contact with the bugs. You can use this pesticide against:
- Soft scale
- fungus gnats
It also kills sawfly larvae, psyllids, spittlebugs, phylloxera, and other pests. As you can tell, it is quite a versatile and useful pesticide for container gardens.
5. Bonide Chemical 803 Bacillus Thuricide Liquid
Bacillus thuringiensis is an insecticide that properties make it an effective choice in certain situations. BT is a naturally occurring bacteria, commonly found in soils. Different strains infect and kill insects.
Bonide is a liquid formulation of this bacteria. Gardeners love BT because it doesn’t harm beneficial insects. Yes, seriously! Most pesticides kill ALL insects that come in contact with the products, but many insects are beneficial and help your plants. BT is effective against:
- cabbage loopers
- cabbage worms
- leaf folders
- leaf rollers.
Prevention is Key
All gardeners need to have pesticides on hand because the time will come when it is needed. However, prevention is key. Here are some tips to remember for pest control.
- Inspect foliage, blooms, and fruit for any signs of insects or damage.
- Remove infected leaves or plant material. That includes yellowed or dying foliage.
- Separate infected plants from healthy plants for two weeks.
- Use high-quality soil for healthy plants.
- Plant heirloom seeds or seedlings that are pest-resistant in your region.
If you do encounter a pest problem in your container garden, don’t panic! Try to remove the pests by hand, if possible, and purchase one of these pesticides recommended for container gardens. Your problems will be gone before you know it!