Protecting your plants from pests

Protecting your plants from pests

Growing outdoors for beginners. Check your plants for pests every day. The quicker you spot them, the better. If pests are already present on your plant, you’ll have to handle them in an environmentally friendly way. We don’t want chemicals on our plants, so we need a solid alternative. In some cases, you can do a lot with a non-toxic solution. But it’s better to introduce a natural enemy of the pests.

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Snails really love green leaves. What they really don’t love is garlic! Copper wire is also a good physical barrier to snails, but won’t keep out other insects. Another option is coffee grounds: break open used coffee pads or get the grounds out of filter bags and disperse it around your plants. Snails will avoid crawling through the coffee. You can also buy nematodes: little creatures that prey on snails.


Thrips are small, slender insects with fringed wings. The females lay their eggs in the plant tissue. To do this, they make an opening in the plant tissue in which they lay the kidney-shaped egg. The larvae start eating as soon as they have hatched. Thrips are difficult to fight. The adult bugs don’t have many natural enemies, but you can buy predatory mites that prey on larvae and chrysalis stages. The predatory Orius bug also eats other insects, but their bites can be quite nasty.

Spider mites

Mites measure between 0.2 and 0.5 millimetres and are diffcult to see without a magnifying glass. Mites generally like warm, dry surroundings which is why they mostly target plants weakened by drought. You can spray your plants with a solution of water and rapeseed oil. Spider mites also have natural enemies that you can buy and release, like the predatory mite Amblyseius californicus and the larvae of the Feltiella. The Orius bug is another option.


Aphids are small plant eating insects that look for the growth point in a plant, such as the top of a young stem. They suck the nutrients and sap out of green plants. Every time that an aphid bites into the plant, it forces saliva into the plant cell. This infects the plant with viruses and weakens it. The result is that the leaves discolor, wilt or become sticky. There are natural enemies, like ladybugs, that love to snack on aphids. You can also spray them with a non-toxic spray. Well known recipes are liquid detergent and water or a mixture of 20 ml of methylated spirit, 20 ml of liquid soap and a liter of water. An extract or infusion of onions can work, but this will likely have an effect on the taste and smell of your harvest.

And finally…

Most insects hate aromatic herbs like lavender, hyssop or garlic. Plant these in your garden or spread dried forms throughout your yard.


Grow topics

Grow knowledge: we've got plenty of it. We think these Grow topics may be of interest to you.

How to see if your plant is healthy

Thrips: how to recognise damage?

Spider mites: how to recognise damage?

Slugs and snails: how to recognise damage?


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