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  • Sara Fotheringham

Herbal Pesticides

Whether you’re an experienced gardener or are just starting your garden, you know that bugs can be the bane of every gardener’s experience. Finding safe ways to keep pests out of your garden can be an increasingly more difficult challenge as new pesticides hit the market every year, filled with more and more chemicals. Luckily, there are tons of natural herbal pesticides that you can make for your garden that are 100% natural and safe for you and your family. Planting a few of these plants in your garden will also serve to keep numerous harmful insects without chemicals. A few of these fantastic herbs that you can easily grow in southern Ontario are:

  1. Neem

  2. Basil

  3. Borage

  4. Lavender

  5. Sage


If this herb is familiar to you it’s probably because of its frequent use in pesticides that are on the market. It’s one of the most powerful herbs that has been used for centuries and is highly revered by Ancient Indians for its efficacy against pests. Neem is a tree that grows in subtropical climates and while it is not native to southern Ontario, it can be grown indoors in a large pot that is well-draining and high-quality soil. Unfortunately, it cannot handle the cold temperatures of Canadian weather. So while it may not be easy to get your hands on fresh neem, you can easily access dried neem leaves from a number of apothecaries, including Niagara Medicinal Herbs. Neem oil is excellent for repelling whiteflies, aphids, Japanese beetles, moth larvae, scale, and spider mites.


This fragrant cooking herb that you can find fresh plants in grocery stores is a staple for pest control. Not only is it effective in keeping mosquitoes away, it’s also very effective in keeping flies, asparagus beetles and whiteflies from your garden. Basil is a perennial in zones 5 and up, making southern Ontario an excellent location to grow this herb. You can plant it in your garden to help keep the pests away while also harvesting it to make infusions designed to spray on plants directly.


If you’ve got a problem with tomato hornworms or cabbage worms, Borage is the plant for you. It is a beautiful flowering plant that is not only great for your garden but wonderful for bees. It’s commonly known as starflower, bee bush, bee bread, bugloss. Planting this in your garden is a bright way to keep it free of worms while also providing valuable pollen for our precious bee friends.


Fragrant, elegant, and another great perennial, lavender is a fabulous way to keep your garden safe from pests. Like basil, it helps repel mosquitoes but is also fantastic against moths, fleas, and flies! This calming herb’s natural scent repels insects and keeps them from laying their eggs on your precious herbs. It’s so easy to grow, it’s a beautiful addition to your garden, and the herb has so many culinary and medicinal uses it only makes sense to grow lavender.


Sage is another culinary herb that most people are familiar with but may not be as familiar with its medicinal uses. This little perennial is easy to grow, it grows well in southern Ontario as well as indoors and is so full of antimicrobial and antibacterial properties it’s a must for any gardener. Sage repels snails, cabbage moths, beetles, black flea beetles, and carrot flies, all of which are big fans of potatoes and sweet potatoes as well as other vegetables making it the perfect addition to any vegetable/herb garden.

Finding natural pesticides can be a challenge but it doesn’t have to be. You can plant your own herbal pesticides while harvesting them to make a natural spray for the rest of your garden and your indoor plants. Using apple cider vinegar as the base, you can infuse it with one or all of these herbs to create your own super, all-natural, safe, pesticide.

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