Aphids attack almost all plant species. Nearly! They consistently avoid plants that produce fragrant essential oils. For example lavender. But its purple flowers don’t just stay lice-free themselves. You can also effectively support us in the fight against these sucking pests. Such a wonderfully smelling and natural control agent is always welcome in our garden kingdom. It can even be used preventively.
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The scent of lavender
Lavender plants produce essential oils that are easy for everyone to recognize by their distinctive scent. But while we find this scent pleasant and calming, its effect on some insect species is the opposite. Aphids, for example, avoid any location where the scent of lavender can be heard.
- most lavender plants remain lice-free as a result
- however, some specimens do not
- it depends on their fragrance intensity
The real lavender, which we often plant, bot. Lavandula angustifolia, spreads a clearly perceptible scent, but it can be even stronger. The equally popular French lavender, for example, has a stronger scent. But the fragrance winner is the spike lavender, whose ingredients are most noticeable in the nose. In between there are countless scent nuances, just as there are countless lavender varieties.
Other influencing factors
Not only the variety determines the composition of the essential oils and their odor strength. The extent to which a specimen exhausts its fragrance potential also depends on external conditions.
Lavandula angustifolia, which thrives in a sunny location, will produce much more fragrance than its shady relatives. Even an ailing plant that doesn’t get the ideal care will produce fewer buds and consequently emit a weaker scent.
Lavender as a living plant protection
Lavender offers us not only its scent as a biological control agent. The plant itself makes a great flowering addition to any garden or balcony. Its fragrant flowers can also be used in many ways. Anyone who plants lavender will enjoy it, even in times when lice are not an issue. Therefore use lavender as the most beautiful living plant protection. Its presence has a preventive effect against aphid infestation. For yourself and all other plants in the immediate vicinity.
- Plant lavender as a bed border
- also as ground cover under higher growing plants
- take into account the species-specific needs
- pay attention to favorable neighborhoods
lavender and roses
Roses are among the first victims of aphids. Their own intoxicating scent doesn’t seem to have a deterrent effect on the aphids like lavender does. That’s why Lavandula angustifolia is welcome to serve the queen in the flower bed with its own fragrance. These two plants have been successfully combined with each other for decades. Because the lavender grows lower than the rose, the two plants don’t get in each other’s way as they grow.
Lavender drives away ants
The scent of Lavandula angustifolia is also avoided by ants. This fact helps us in the fight against aphids. Namely, aphids can be called the pets of ants. They are nurtured and cared for by them and defended from predators. In return, the ants are allowed to harvest the sticky honeydew excreted by lice. Ants will not “breed lice” where there is a scent of lavender. If, in the case of an acute infestation with aphids, the ants are chased away with lavender, the predators of the aphids will quickly approach and begin to decimate them.
Lavender active ingredients against acute infestation
The essential oils of lavender can be used specifically against aphid infestation. For this purpose, a water extract is prepared and sprayed onto the affected plant.
These are the individual steps:
- Pick two handfuls of fragrant lavender flowers, more if needed.
- Place the flowers in a heatproof container and pour 1 liter of hot water over them.
- Let the mixture infuse for several hours.
- Strain the tea to remove any lavender residue.
- Pour the cold liquid into a spray bottle.
- Spray it all over the affected plant. The soil can also be generously poured with it.
- Repeat the application at short intervals. Until all lice are gone.
Lavender oil solution against aphids
If you don’t have lavender in your garden or it hasn’t bloomed yet, you still don’t have to do without the helpful effects of its scent. In the trade, pure lavender oil is offered cheaply all year round. A solution can be prepared from it in no time at all, which can be used both for acute infestation and as a preventive measure against aphids. For this you need:
- 1 liter of rainwater or other lime-free water
- 10 drops of natural lavender oil
- 1 squirt of dish soap
Mix all the ingredients together and then shake the mixture vigorously. Put the solution in a spray bottle and spray the plant with it.
The lavender oil solution can be sprayed preventively from April. This is particularly recommended for plants that have suffered from aphids more frequently in previous years.
- spray every two weeks
- until August
The advantage of this lavender solution is that it does not deter the predators of the aphids. Ladybugs and tits therefore continue to work diligently to destroy the lice.
Mulch with lavender trimmings
Lavender plants are cut back every year after flowering . The cut plant material is ideal for mulching. Let the lavender cut dry first. Then shred the resulting mulch material a little before spreading it around endangered plants and working it into the soil. When decomposed, this mulch material not only provides valuable ingredients for new growth. It also keeps ants and lice away.