Aphids and Other Insects
- Dawn Dishwashing Liquid. To repel insects from houseplants, put a drop of Dawn Dishwashing Liquid in a spray bottle, fill the rest of the bottle with water, shake well, and mist your household plants with the soapy water.
- Listerine and Dawn Dishwashing Liquid. To repel insects from house-plants, mix one teaspoon Listerine antiseptic mouthwash (regular flavor) and one teaspoon Dawn Dishwashing Liquid in a sixteen-ounce trigger-spray bottle, fill the rest of the bottle with water, shake well, and mist your houseplants with the solution once a week.
- Tabasco Pepper Sauce, McCormick Garlic Powder, and Ivory Dishwashing Liquid. To control spider mites, whiteflies, aphids, and thrips on houseplants, mix two teaspoons Tabasco Pepper Sauce, two teaspoons McCor-mick Garlic Powder, one teaspoon Ivory Dishwashing Liquid, and two cups water in a sixteen-ounce trigger-spray bottle, shake well, and mist the leaves of the plant with the spicy solution.
- Smirnoff Vodka. To keep aphids off houseplants, wash the pests off the plants with tap water and then dab the leaves with a cotton ball dipped in Smirnoff Vodka. (Do not use alcohol on delicate plants such as African violets, however.)
Cats and Dogs
- Maxwell House Coffee. To prevent a cat from having a love affair with your houseplants, add used Maxwell House Coffee grounds to the top of the potting soil. Aside from repelling cats, the coffee grounds, which are filled with nutrients, also fertilize the plants.
- Miracle Whip. Rub a dab of Miracle Whip on houseplant leaves to make them shine and to prevent dust from settling on them.
- Star Olive Oil. To shine the leaves of a houseplant, put a few drops of Star Olive Oil on a paper towel and gently rub each leaf, then wipe off the excess oil.
- Reynolds Wrap. To give houseplants more natural light during the winter months, wrap a sturdy piece of cardboard with Reynolds Wrap. Place the plant between the homemade mirror and the window, with the aluminum foil facing the window to reflect the sunlight at the plant.
- Bounce. Before filling a planter with soil, place a used sheet of Bounce in the bottom of the planter to prevent the soil from leaking out. The porous dryer sheet lets water seep through—without rotting the sturdy fabric.
- Bubble Wrap and Scotch Packaging Tape. To protect plastic, wood, and fiberglass planters left outside during the winter months, wrap the planters with Bubble Wrap and secure in place with Scotch Packaging Tape. The Bubble Wrap helps insulate the plants from the elements. (Do not line the bottom of the planter to allow for drainage.)
- Clorox Bleach. To disinfect recycled plastic pots and planters, mix ¾ cup Clorox Bleach per one gallon of water in a bucket, let the planters soak in the sanitizing solution for one hour, then rinse and dry.
- Depends. If excess water leaks from a planter, place the pot inside a pair of Depends, creating a diaper for the plant. Conceal the adult diaper by placing the planter inside a second, larger pot.
- L'eggs Sheer Energy Panty Hose. Before filling a planter with soil, place a used, balled-up pair of L'eggs Sheer Energy Panty Hose in the bottom of the pot. The nylon screen prevents soil from leaking from the bottom of a planter, while allowing water to drain freely.
- Lipton Tea Bags. Before potting a plant, place several Lipton Tea Bags (new or used) on top of the drainage layer of pebbles, pottery shards, or panty hose (see L'eggs Sheer Energy Panty Hose above) at the bottom of the planter. The tea bags retain water and provide nutrients for the plant.
- Arm & Hammer Baking Soda. To neutralize the acidity of potting soil, dissolve four tablespoons Arm & Hammer Baking Soda in one quart of water and water the soil once with the solution.
- Glad Trash Bags. Store leftover potting soil in a Glad Trash Bag for future use. Organic potting soil mix stays fresh for several months.
- Aunt Jemima Original Syrup. To rejuvenate a wilting houseplant, add two tablespoons Aunt Jemima Original Syrup at the trunk of the plant once a month.
- Epsom Salt. To revitalize a houseplant, sprinkle one teaspoon Epson Salt evenly around the base of the plant for every foot of a houseplant's height. Adding Epson Salt enriches the color of flowering plants and aids in disease resistance.
- Geritol. To restore a sickly houseplant to health, add two tablespoons Geritol to the soil twice a week for three months.
- Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar. To resuscitate a frail houseplant, mix one tablespoon Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar in one gallon of water and water the plant with the liquid. The vinegar neutralizes the pH of the water, so the plant can better absorb the vital nutrients in the water.
- Maxwell House Coffee. Maxwell House coffee grounds are full of nutrients that plants love. Instead of throwing out the used coffee grounds after you make a pot of coffee, give them to your potted plants. Just work the grounds into the soil. Coffee grounds also repel cats, preventing them from digging up the soil of a houseplant.
- Star Olive Oil. To invigorate ferns or palm plants, add two tablespoons Star Olive Oil at the base of the plant once a month.
- Ivory Dishwashing Liquid. If you place houseplants outside while away on vacation, before bringing the plant back inside the house, put a drop of Ivory Dishwashing Liquid in a spray bottle, fill the rest of the bottle with water, shake well, and mist the leaves and soil of the plant well to kill any insects.
- Reynolds Wrap. Before going on vacation for a few days, wrap clay pots with Reynolds Wrap to prevent the soil from drying out.
- USA Today. Before going on vacation longer than a week, cut a doughnut shape from a section of USA Today, water the plant well, dampen the newspaper ring with water, and place the dampened newspaper donut around the trunk of the plant on top of the soil in the pot. The wet newspaper will keep the plant moist during your absence.
- Canada Dry Club Soda. Water your potted plants with flat Canada Dry Club Soda. The minerals in club soda benefit green plants.
- Jell-O. Work a few teaspoons of powdered Jell-O into the soil of potted plants to absorb water, reduce how often you need to water the plants, and prevent water from leaking out of the bottom of the pot. The nitrogen in Jell-O enhances plant growth and hastens sprouting, and the sugar feeds the microbes in the soil, pro-ducing more nutrients for the plant.
- Pampers. Use a pair of scissors to carefully cut open a Pampers disposable diaper, and pot a houseplant by alternating potting soil with the superabsorbent polymer flakes from the diaper. The polymer flakes absorb three hundred times their weight in water and store nutrients, reducing how often you need to water your houseplants.
- USA Today. To avoid getting water on furniture or walls, hold a section of USA Today behind the plant when watering houseplants with a mister.
- Windex. To use a clean, empty Windex bottle as a mister for plants, clean the bottle with a few drops of dishwashing liquid and water to remove any traces of harsh chemicals.
- Glad Trash Bags and Bubble Wrap. To help outdoor potted plants survive the winter, place the pot inside a Glad Trash Bag, fill the bag with Bubble Wrap to insulate the roots, seal the bag securely around the trunk of the plant, and set the pot on top of a wooden block to raise it off the cold ground.
Copyright Ⓒ 2020 by Joey Green. All rights reserved.