For the last four or so years we’ve maintained two greenhouses on our balcony – growing chilli, oregano, mint and parsley. We also used to have basil (which Spider Mites destroyed), a single coriander shoot called “Dolly Parton” – because it was heavy and flopped over and Rosemary, which never took off. Most of the plants did reasonably well until they were hit with a double whammy infestation (against the odds of being elevated on a balcony and inside a greenhouse)!
The first infestation was a moth, which led to caterpillars – those fat green juicy ones like in A Bug’s Life. The caterpillars required patience and picking them off one by one to remove the infestation. Needless to say, these came back a few times as you always miss one. Once those bite mark like holes start showing, you know it’s too late and you’ve already got a family chowing down on your plants.
The second infestation, which was much harder to get rid of and literally sucked the life out of all my beloved basil plants (three separate bushes) – was due to the difficult and dreaded Spider Mite! The first Basil plant was the weakest and succumbed to the fact the Mites drained the nutrients out of its stalks. The other two were better established and lasted a little longer, but since I didn’t want to use chemicals as I wanted to eat from the plants, I resorted to meekly trimming the plants – which only delayed the inevitable. In hindsight, I should have tried the method below earlier!
My Parsley was the only plant left after the initial Spider Mite infestation so they naturally migrated onto it and started to kill it too. A few weeks back, I trimmed off all the leaves and left pretty much just the stalks – but I knew this likely wouldn’t work. So I decided with nothing to lose, I would try the combination of Garlic and Chili sprayed over the plant and surrounding greenhouse. Boy am I glad I at least tried, it worked a treat! I sprayed the area only twice in a period of a week and the Parsley seems to be Spider Mite free. I was able to pick and eat the Parsley for the first time last night since this all started a couple of months ago. It no longer has the off colour of looming death, and the leaves look nice and healthy as you can see in the pictures of the leaves below. I unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for you) did not take any pictures of the infestation/Spider Mites – but if they come back I will update this post with pictures.
So if you have Spider Mites – you’ll be able to see by the reddish/orange leaves and the webbing they weave on the leaves.
Try this very natural and chemical free solution!
- 1 Chilli (preferable a hot one)
- 1 clove of Garlic
- Boiling Water
- A jar
- A spray bottle
Chop and crush the Garlic, you want the garlic juice to infuse the water and likewise do the same with the Chilli – just don’t touch your face after handling it. Put them into a small Jar and pour hot water from a kettle into the jar – so you get about a cup of hot water. Leave this to sit and cool down. Once this is cool pour the water into a spray bottle that you don’t mind smelling of Garlic from now on and add water if it’s not enough to get a good spray – just don’t dilute it too much. If you don’t have enough you can just re-boil what is in the jar. Try to strain out any chunks of Garlic or Chilli when transferring to the bottle so it doesn’t clog the spray nozzle.
Spray all over the plant so it’s saturated – under the leaves and stalk and into the soil too as the Spider Mites can sometimes hide there. Spray the surrounding area if it’s enclosed or the nearby vicinity just to make sure the mites go away completely (read that as die).
Repeat this a couple of times and check your plant in a week or so.
Note: don’t keep the solution too long in the spray bottle as it’ll start to smell/rot.
Leave a comment if it ends up helping your plants at all! We’d love to hear of more victories against these little buggers.