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In this section you’ll find useful home remedies, starting with our favorite:

the one we use the most and highly recommend: multi purpose spray

  • In a pint spray bottle, mix 2 tablespoons of powder cinnamon and 1 cup of rubbing alcohol. Shake well and let rest overnight. Filter the solution to get rid of the cinnamon powder (a coffee filter works great), wash the bottle and return the solution to it. Add 2 tablespoons of liquid dish soap and fill the bottle with water.

    We use it for everything! To disinfect cuts to roots or affected areas of the plant, when we add new plants to our collections as a preventive measure, to eliminate mild pests, bacterial infections and fungi. Works wonders!!

TIP: always keep it at hand!!

insecticides:

insects with soft bodies, like aphids and mealybugs:

  1. Isopropyl alcohol at 70% o 90% undiluted: with a cotton swap or a Qtip dipped in alcohol, touch the insects; for major infestations, spray the entire plant making sure you hit all the nooks or it.  Repeat every 3 days for 2 weeks.  We’ve never experienced problems with the flowers or buds, or any plant part.
  2. Pepper and garlic spray: in a blender, liquefy ½ a garlic and ½ a pepper (hot pepper) with a pint of water; filter the mix and add another pint of water to hava a concentrated formula.  Use 2 tablespoons of the mix for every quart or water in a sprayer bottle.  Spray the entire plant; repeat every 3 days for 2 weeks.

insects with hard bodies, like thrips and scale:

  1. Oil and soap spray: mix 1 teaspoon of cooking oil and 1 teaspoon of liquid soap una quart of water.  Shake well and spray the plant thoroughly.  Repeat every 3 days for two weeks,  The soap will erode their water resistant shield and the oil will sofocare them. —Precautions when using oils on orchids: either cooking oil or oil based insecticides, we must only apply them when the plant feels fresh to the touch.  We should only apply them early in the morning, because if we apply them when the plant is warm or hot from the sun we can lose the flowers and promote sunburn.

all insect multi-purpose spray:

  1. Degreaser: Mix 1 cup of isopropyl alcohol and 1 cup of domestic degreaser with 2 cups of water.  Spray the entire plant every 3 days for 2 weeks.
  2. Any commercial organic citrus detergent: Apply to the plant as stated above.
  3. Oil, soap, lime and alcohol spray: in a quart bottle mix 1 tablespoon of cooking oil, the juice of one lime, 1 tablespoon of liquid detergent.  Fill the rest of the bottle half with alcohol and half with water. Shake well and spray the entire plant, repeat every 3 days for 2 weeks.

against ants:

  1. Raw corn flower for big ants: sprinkle it where the ants are for them to eat it; after a while, it will expand in their stomachs and will kill them.
  2. Soap: A less cruel remedy is to make a barrier with granule soap around the area, they won’t get passed it.
  3. Icing sugar and baking soda: Mix on part icing sugar and one part baking soda; sprinkle the mix.  This will poison the ants.
  4. Aspartame:  any artificial sweetener is alluring to ants, even more if it is moist.  It’s been said that they take it back to their colonies, killing the entire colony.

 

against snails and slugs:

to kill them:

  1. Beer trap: place a somewhat deep plate filled with fresh beer.  The smell will attract the snails and worms to it and they will dran.  Or use stale beer as repellent.
  2. Hydrogen Peroxide: shower the media with undiluted hydrogen peroxide, the snails and slugs will crawl out of it because it burns them.  It’s rather tortuous to see them squirm.
  3. Coffee spray: don’t throw away the leftover coffee from the morning!  Mix it half and half with water and spray on the plant and media.  Add 2 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol to prevent the mix from growing mold while being stored.

as barrier  (and our recommendation):

  1. Mechanical – sandpaper:  cover the base of your benches or pots with sandpaper; the roughness of the material will inhibit them from crossing over it.
  2. Mechanical II – Electromechanical: just as we did with sandpaper, but instead of sandpaper, use copper sheets to cover the areas.  The copper combined with the slime of they secrete produces a very uncomfortable electromechanical reaction for them.

as bait to catch them and relocate them (also, our recommendation):

  1. Raw potatoes: place slices of raw potato in a plate near your plants.  In the morning you’ll find the slugs and snails between the slices in the plate so you can relocate them far from your orchids.
  2. Yeast: boil 2 cups of water, 2 teaspoons of yeast and 2 teaspoons of honey.  Let it cool and place in shallow plates near your plants to attract them and then, relocate them.  Refresh the mix every week.

insect repellent:

  1. Eucalyptus Vapor: place around your collection little plates or bottle caps filled with eucalyptus oil (Vick VapoRub); the vapors will repel the insects.

small mammals repellent (rats, squirrels…):

  1. Hot pepper and soap spray:  mix 1 tablespoon of hot sacue and 1 tablespoon of liquid soap in a quart of water.  Spray it around your plants, they won’t stand the itchiness in their noses.
  2. Feed them: these animals are not looking specifically for your flowers, if they have another source of food they will leave your plants alone.  The disadvantage is that you may attract more rodents.

fungicides:

the cinnamon from your kitchen:

  1. powder: apply generously to the affected area
  2. glue paste: mix powder cinnamon with white kindergarden glue to make a think brown paste.  Apply directly on the wound and let it dry.  Since this type of glue is water soluble, it will resist the first waterings before completely disappearing; this quality makes it an excellent choice for outdoor or mounted plants.
  3. an alternative to glue: do the same as above, but substitute the glue with cooking oil.  You’ll need more cinnamon to create the paste.

other ingredients:

  1. Corn flower tea: in an old sock or stalking pour a cup of corn flower and tie it up.  Sumerge it in a gallon of water and let it rest there for a couple of days.  Use the “tea” as spray.
  2. Listerine: yes, the mouth wash! If you find the gold unscented one the better, if you don’t, you can use any flavor. You can use it as concentrate as it comes or diluted, depending on the magnitude of the problem.  Its also helpful to cauterize cuts and wounds.
  3. Hydrogen Peroxide (undiluted): ideal for crown rot.  Apply freely where the infection is starting to develope or between the leaves for it to filter through the crown (Phalaenopsis), always being careful to remove any excess deposits.  Also use it for root infection, soaking the roots for a while.  If the H-P bubbles when in contact with your plant, it’s a sign of infection.  Let it dry and repeat every 3 days until you see no bubbles.
  4. Bleach: mix ½ a tablespoon in a quart of water.  Water your plants with this solution to eliminate fungus from the roots. Let them soak (inside the pot and media even) for ten minutes; rinse thoroughly with warm water.

make leaves shinier:

If your zone has hard water, which means it’s filled with minerals, it’s normal that the leaves present residual spots (like your windows after the rain) and lose their shine.  To clean them and unclog the pores, rub the leaves with cotton swap or a piece of lean cloth soaked in:

  1. Citrus juices (pineapple, orange, lime…)
  2. Stale beer
  3. ½ a cup of milk diluted in a quart of water
  4. 1 tablespoon of mayonaise diluted in a cup of water