Horticultural Oil

How to Make Horticultural Oil (with baby shampoo)

Mealybugs infestation in your vegetable garden? Aphids attacking your houseplant? Powdery white mildew on leaves? Trying to find a natural pesticide that is not toxic? Horticultural oil is a popular natural pesticide solution that is effective against insects and safe around humans and pets.

What is Horticultural Oil?

Horticultural oil is an oil solution that you use as pesticide against a wide variety of insects. It kills insects by penetrating insects and suffocating them. It is also effective in killing insect eggs.

Is Horticultural Oil Safe Around Pets and Children?

Horticultural Oil is safe to use around pets and children since it is a solution of soap and vegetable oil

Is Horticultural Oil Safe to Use on Edible Plants?

Horticultural Oil is safe to use on edible plants. It’s safe to use on fruit and vegetable plants in your garden.

Which Insects are Horticultural Oil For?

Horticultural Oil can be used to get rid of mealybugs, whiteflies, chiggers, earwigs, aphids, spider mites, mites, caterpillars and leafhoppers. Horticultural Oil can eliminate the powdery mildew on plants.

Horticultural Oil insects
Pests and Insects for Horticultural Oil

How to Make Horticultural Oil

It’s easy to make Horticultural Oil at home. You can make your own Horticultural Oil solution in 2 easy steps. Below is a recipe for Horticultural Oil.

Ingredients for Horticultural Oil

  • 1 Cup Vegetable Oil (Soybean oil or Cottonseed Oil)
  • 1 Tbsp Baby Shampoo or Dish Liquid
  • 1 Gallon Water

How to Make Horticultural Oil

1. Mix vegetable oil, baby shampoo and water. Mix the solution well.

How to make Horticultural Oil
Mixing Oil, Soap and Water

2. Pour into a spray bottle.

How to make Horticultural Oil
Pour Horticultural Oil into Spray Bottle

Soybean oil or cottonseed oil are recommended for Horticultural Oil. You can use either baby shampoo or dish liquid in your solution.

How to Apply Horticultural Oil on Plants

Spray Horticultural Oil directly on insects, larvae and eggs. Spray under the leaves because that’s usually where insects are hiding and that’s where they lay their eggs. Horticultural Oil is only effective when it is sprayed directly on the insect. Horticultural Oil needs to penetrate the insect’s body to work.

Oils can burn the leaves of your plant so it is recommended to spray your plant down with water to wash off the oily soapy residue. Hose down your plant a few hours after application. Avoid using Horticultural Oil on a sunny day or in full sunlight. It’s best to wait until late afternoon when the sun is not so intense.

spray on insects
Spraying Horticultural Oil on insects

Can I Buy Horticultural Oil?

If you don’t want to make your own Horticultural Oil, you can buy Horticultural Oil to get rid of spider mites, aphids, mealybugs, caterpillars and more.

A Word of Caution About Horticultural Oil

Even though Horticultural Oil is homemade and made with soap, oil and water, you should still use Horticultural Oil sparingly on plants. Although not harmful to humans and pets, it’s not 100% non-toxic to plants.

You don’t want to overdo it with Horticultural Oil. Avoid spraying too much that it seeps into the soil and gets absorbed by the roots. Treat Horticultural Oil like any other pesticide and use sparingly.

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