Do Marigolds repel insects?
Yes, it is. Marigolds are considered to be the best repellent to control insects.
Marigold is one of the most commonly grown plants in residential gardens. Additionally, the plant is also grown in many commercial setups due to its ability to repel insects.
It’s true that to date no scientific study has confirmed that marigolds contain compounds boasting the ability to repel pests and other insects. However, that has not made them less popular among vegetable gardeners.
Another great thing about marigold is that it not only repels pests but also attract beneficial insects. Examples include parasitic wasps, lady bugs, and hove flies.
These beneficial insects pollinate and also often play major role in controlling bad bugs.
If you want your garden to be pest-free, or if you are struggling with mosquito attacks every evening, it would be a good idea to use marigold insect repellent.
The market is filled with a number of bug sprays that claim to contain marigold as one of their active ingredients. However, the fact is that they contain more harmful chemicals than marigold extracts.
The good news is that you can easily prepare your own pack of organic marigold bug spray at home.
Read on to find out how.
Marigold Pest Spray: Things You Must Know Before You Prepare It
If you have plans of making marigold pest spray at home, it would be a good decision to grow your own flowers.
This will help you in two ways. The plants will stop pests from damaging your vegetation and you will get to use the flower for preparing your own bug spray.
Other than all these, they will also enhance the appearance of your garden. The flowers grow in a variety of colors ranging from bright orange to pale ivory. You will also come across marigolds with rust colored petals.
To date, researchers have discovered over 50 species of the plant. However, all of them don’t possess the ability to eradicate pests.
The species that are mostly used as bug repellents have flowers resembling the appearance of carnations. To be more precise, to prepare bug spray, you will need to grow common marigold i.e. Tagetes and not pot marigold or Calendula.
We are mentioning this primarily because most of us are more acquainted with Calendula’s medicinal properties.
These flowers and their extracts are widely popular due to their skin care properties. You will come across various soaps, creams, and lotions containing Calendula as their main ingredients. In addition, the flower is also used for preparing detox herbal teas.
However, Calendula is unlikely to be effective as an insect repellent. For this purpose, you will need to grow the regular marigold, which you will get at almost every plant nursery in your area.
How to Grow Marigolds?
Growing marigold is pretty easy.
Once you manage to grow the plants, you will see them blooming throughout the summer months. To be more precise, you will see flowers blooming till the first frost of fall.
If you are looking to deter nematodes, you can grow the plants near the tomato plants in your garden.
Marigolds usually don’t get attacked by pests; however, on rare occasions, they may become victims of aphids or mites.
Expert gardeners believe that insects are not very fond of the pungent aroma of these flowers. And that stops them from staying in the garden marigolds are grown in.
The flowers are also known to repel bigger creatures like rabbits and deer.
This is good news as these animals often eat up small plants and shrubs and destroy gardens.
However, as mentioned above, the bright colored marigolds often attract pollinators into the garden and help in increasing production of fruits and veggies.
Marigolds, irrespective of the species they belong to, need full sun for growing to their full potential.
As a result of being heat-resistant, the flowers don’t dry up even after remaining exposed to scorching summer heat for hours.
You will not need to worry about the soil type of your garden when growing these plants.
Marigolds grow easily on all kinds of soil. However, they will grow better if the soil in your garden is well-drained.
You should ideally grow plants with marigolds featuring big flower heads.
However, those plants are usually quite pricey if you buy them from nurseries.
To avoid such investments, you can grow the plants from seeds. That’s because the prices of seeds usually don’t vary much.
What’s more, marigolds take very little time and effort to germinate; so, you will not need to wait for months to see your plants grow.
Ideally, you should grow them around 8-10 inches away from adjacent plants.
Here are a few things you must keep in mind when growing marigold in your garden:
- You should never water these plants from above. Always water the base of the plants.
- Never over fertilize these plants. If you do so, you will see big bushy plants grow in your garden but all of them will have just a few flowers.
- When your marigold plants are still small, mulch around their base. This will keep the soil moist and allow the plants to grow more easily.
- These plants don’t need deadheading. However, if you want you can surely remove the dead and faded flowers from time to time.
How to Prepare Marigold Bug Spray?
A bug spray prepared using marigold will help you in keeping mosquitoes, flies, tomato hornworms, asparagus beetles, various leaf cutting bugs at bay.
You can apply this homemade insect repellent to your plants and properties without worrying about any adverse effect.
The ingredients you will need for preparing this insecticide spray include:
- 1 cup of marigold leaves, stems, and flowers
- 2+6 cups of plain water
Using stems, flowers, and leaves together will make the spray more fragrant and increase its insect-repelling ability.
Here are the steps you should follow to prepare marigold bug spray –
You will need a blender in this step.
Fill the blender with marigold leaves, stems, and flowers and pour in the water.
Switch on the blender and pulse the ingredients for 10 to 15 seconds or until you get a chunky mixture.
Pour the mixture into a mason jar and cover it tightly with its lid. You should allow the mixture to sit for a couple of days.
For best results, you should keep the jar in a dry, cool, and dark place. Don’t forget to shake the jar from time to time.
After 48 hours, strain the marigold mix using a cheesecloth.
Squeeze the cheesecloth well so that you manage to gather even the last drop of the aromatic liquid.
The mixture you obtained after completing the above steps is the concentrated version of the bug repellent.
You will have to dilute the mix by adding some more water to use it as a bug spray.
Ideally, you should add 6 more cups of plain water to the concentrated mixture.
This step is optional.
If you want the bug spray to stick to your plants, you can add ¼ teaspoon Castile soap to the mixture.
Next, you will have to transfer the diluted mix into plant sprayers. You can divide it into one or two sprayers depending on their size.
You should store this homemade marigold bug spray in your refrigerator. The spray will remain effective for a minimum of two weeks.
If you don’t have fresh marigolds but need the spray, you can prepare it even by using dried petals of the flower.
You will get dried marigold petals easily at all the top ecommerce websites.
You can also dry and store some petals yourself for future use. This will allow you to prepare your own bug spray without any extra expense even during off seasons.
The process is extremely easy. You will just need a dehydrator for drying the flowers. On low, the process will take just a couple of hours to finish.
However, if you are making the spray using dehydrated flowers, you will need to add some fresh cilantro when making the mixture.
Cilantro is available at all grocery stores throughout the year.
One word of caution: the marigold insect repellent is slightly tinted. So, avoid using it wearing light colored clothes.
You should also be careful when spraying the mix around any light-colored wall, furniture, or object.
Ideally, you should spray the marigold insect repellent all over your garden once every week. However, you should increase the frequency slightly during the rainy season.
As the spray is devoid of any harmful chemical, you can safely use it around vegetable and fruit plants without worrying about contaminating them.
The spray beats store-bought insect repellents in many more departments.
It will reduce you gardening expenses as you will need to spend just for buying the marigold seeds for preparing the spray.
What’s more, the spray also smells much better than the chemical-based bug repellents.