Wondering why it’s highly recommended to learn how to apply diatomaceous earth on houseplants? Diatomaceous earth, or also commonly known as DE, is a type of non-toxic insect repellent for plants that gardeners have been using for a long time. Although it says non-toxic, plant growers still shouldn’t let their guard down when using this type of insecticide and should proceed to use the treatment with caution.
DE comes in a powder form and works by cutting the insects that pass through the treated plants. The sharp microscopic edges of the substance wound the insects and as the fluid leaks out of the bugs’ bodies, it could lead to dehydration, thus killing them eventually. It’s because of this ability that many gardeners – both novice and experts – continue to use it in their plants to this day.
What is Diatomaceous Earth Made Of?
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is made from the fossilized exoskeletons of diatoms – a microscopic aquatic organism. Their exoskeletons are made of silica and which are a naturally occurring component of the Earth’s crust. These silica sediments have very sharp edges (like broken glass) and have the ability to cut the pests.
2 Methods of Using Diatomaceous Earth on Houseplants
Diatomaceous Earth kills a wide range of plant bugs and insects including aphids, millipedes, slugs, ants, centipedes, and squash bugs. If you find yourself experiencing these types of infestations on your houseplants, be sure to treat it immediately. Here are 3 ways on how you can treat insect infestations in your houseplants with Diatomaceous Earth.
Method #1. Dust application
One of the easiest ways to apply diatomaceous earth on houseplants is through dusting. Using a dust applicator approved for such use spread your DE powder on the affected houseplant. One thing to remember when applying DE via dusting is that you have to keep your masks on to keep the powder from entering through your nose and may cause irritation or shortness of breath.
The best time to dust DE into your plants is after a light rain or early in the morning where dews are fresh. The moisture will help the dust settle and stick better to the plant’s surface. It’s also important to keep children and pets away from the treated area until the dust has settled to protect them from the dangers of them coming in contact with the DE powder.
Method #2. Wet application
Another way to apply DE is through a wet application. This is especially helpful for indoor plants where they don’t get water from the rain that often or when there are no morning dews and you have to treat your plant as soon as possible. With the wet application method, you only have to mix four tablespoons of DE in 1 gallon of water and apply a few coats on the top or underside of your plants where pest or insect infestations commonly appear.
The drawback of this method is that when DE has been mixed in water, it’s rendered less effective. However, if you’re using this method of applying DE in your house plants, you may need to reapply the mixture on your plants a few times to speed up the killing of the insects or pests.
Important Thing to Remember When Applying DE
It’s worth noting that DE can kill all types of plant insects or bugs – including beneficial ones. That is why when dealing with unwanted pests and insect infestations, it’s recommended to cover the treated plant with burlap or a plastic sheet to keep the beneficial bugs from getting killed. You can remove the covering after a day or two and water the plant to keep the remaining diatomaceous earth off the surfaces of the plant.
Greenhouses for Plants Benefits
If you’re an avid fan of growing plants, then you may have come across a lot of people telling you that you should use a greenhouse and you might want to consider following their advice. Greenhouses offer a lot of benefits for plants. Here are some of them:
Advantage #1. Pest control
One of the best benefits greenhouses provide is pest control and prevention. Being an enclosed structure, aphids, mealybugs, caterpillars, slugs, and other unwanted pests won’t be able to attack and eat your plants. This reduces your need to use pesticides like diatomaceous earth to ward off insects and pests.
Advantage #2. More plant choices
Thinking of planting a warm-weather plant during the cold season of the year? You can do that with a greenhouse. A greenhouse is more humid and warmer than the outside which makes it a perfect place for you to grow warm-season vegetables and fruits like sweet potatoes, zucchinis, hot peppers, lemons, winter squash, guavas, and more.
Advantage #3. Weather protection
Aside from pests, greenhouses also protect from tough weather like strong winds or heavy rains. The structure of the greenhouse offers enough protection against winds or extreme changes in the temperature during the winter or summer. With that, you can preserve the integrity of your plant and ensure that they will survive the tough season.
Learning How to Apply Diatomaceous Earth on Houseplants
At some point in your gardening journey, you will eventually experience pests and insect infestations that will endanger the health and integrity of your plants. If you find yourself with that issue on your indoor plants, learning how to apply diatomaceous earth on houseplants will make the difference between plant death and survival. Now that you have an idea on how to do that, you can immediately address any insect problem and ensure that your plant will live a long and productive life.