Basil is an aromatic annual herb that can be grown in the garden or in a pot. It originated from India but today it is grown everywhere in the world. Basil is highly praised for its taste and aroma and is an essential condiment in any international cuisines, especially in the Mediterranean region.
Basil is relatively easy to grow at home, both indoor and outdoor. However, it is susceptible to certain pests which is why it is necessary to protect it. The best way to do so is to use natural insecticides that are safe for humans.
Interestingly, basil itself is an insect repellent herb and it is used to ward off various insects, for example mosquitoes. However, there are pests that attack basil, in which case the plant should be protected.
The greatest threat to basil plants are aphids. Aphids are plant lice that usually attack indoor plants. They are very harmful for basil because they destroy the phloem cells of plants, responsible for the transportation of nutrients. When attacked by aphids, a basil plant becomes ill and eventually dries off and dies.
Natural insecticides for basil
Fortunately, aphides can be repelled from basil plants using several efficient and natural repellents. Garlic spray is one of the best for this purpose. It is made by grinding one whole peeled bulb of garlic with two cups of water. The mixture should be strained through a fine cheesecloth or gauze to obtain the clear liquid. The liquid is stored in a clean spray bottle and sprayed onto the entire basil plant every day for one week, until the lice are all gone.
There is another, even easier way to repel aphids from basil. These pests cannot stand banana peels, which should be arranged on the ground around each basil plant. This remedy is particularly suitable for outdoor plants.
In case aphids are very persistent, basil can be sprayed with the mixture of one cup of white mineral oil, two spoons of dish soap and two cups of water. This remedy is very efficient, the only problem is that if it is used, the basil leaves must be washed in running water very carefully before consumption.
Another efficient way to repel aphids on outdoor basil plants is to plant marigolds. Marigolds are not only very attractive and decorative, they also repel many different kinds of insects, including aphids. Planting as much marigolds as possible in the garden, next to the basil, is a great way to protect the plants from pests. In addition, marigolds and basil will repel mosquitoes as well.