Making your own horticultural oil

greattigerdane(z5NY)January 24, 2011

I found these two recipes for making your own pest horti spray and wondered if I could successfully use the first one (Generic oil spray) on a small scale problem??? I already have veg oil in the house that the first recipe requires.

I went to Lowe's today to buy some h. oil but they didn't have any at all.

I was recently given a bunch of spider babies that I planted in a hanging basket. a few weeks later I noticed some of the leaves looked funny, some were folded in the middle like you would fold a piece of paper in ha;f, that's when I discovered a few scale. I would normally toss anything with scale, but, this one time I wanted to see if I can't get rid of them.

Here are the two recipes....

Generic oil spray

1 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon dishwashing liquid

Mix 1 tablespoon with 2 cups of water. Fill a spray bottle and shake well.

Pest and Foliar disease oil spray

1 tablespoon baking soda

2 tablespoons ultra fine canola oil

1 gallon of water

Combine all ingredients and shake well. Use on plants to combat fungal diseases.

Will the oil dry on the plant in a week, then I would need to repeat treatment right?


Billy Rae

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I use something similar. It works well but may damage some new growth. I use it on my orchids and it gets the scale but you must be consistant. Scale will come back worse than before if you don't stay on top of it. Spray it every two weeks until you are sure you got them all.

I mix Canola Oil (I've used regular veg. oil also), some dish detergent, and rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle. I also add a few drops of cinnamon oil. I then add warm water, shake and spray both sides of the leaves.

I have used this mix for spider-mites also, it was very effective. The oil coats the webs and bugs and kills them. But on some tropicals, it did damage some new leaves. I didn't care. It came down to killing the bugs or tossing the plants.
The alcohol and cinnamon help with any fungal problem, and you can leave that out if you want. Alcohol will kill scale straight. Put some on a q-tip and rub off the scale.


    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 10:44PM
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Thank you Jane for the information!

Unfortunately, I know if you miss any of these darn things, or whatever pest your dealing with, they will come back. Treating every inch of an infested plant with persistent is key.
I had mealies on a hoya one time and it took a while to kill them because little tiny ones just kept coming and coming, but I finally got rid of ALL of them! I dealt with mites on a couple of occasions that were on an ivy, that was before I knew that they were mite magnets. I know longer buy ivy...

Ok so, I should leaves the oil on the leaves as long as it takes while treating, only wiping the oil off when I'm sure the scale are all gone, right?

Thanks again,
Billy Rae

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 12:25PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I would think that the oil recipes mentioned would be too heavy and thick. The commercial oils have added emulsifiers and mix up to a very light (but effective) coating. They don't leave a coating on the plant that you can detect, so rinsing is not an issue. They also don't clog stomata.

It seems to me that the homemade oils would simply be too sticky. But I've not made such a concoction, so I am certainly not speaking from experience.

I'm a big advocate of rubbing alcohol sprays, mixed at a 1:3 ratio (alcohol to water) and misted all over the plant, especially under the leaves. I wouldn't use the alcohol on fuzzy leaved plants, just to be safe. I haven't found a plant to ever be harmed by it, but a leaf test would be in order if you haven't used an alcohol mist before. Truly effective in controlling mites, mealies, scale crawlers, whitefly nymphs, and aphids.

I've also added cinnamon and chamomile to my little arsenal.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 12:56PM
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BILLY!!! I was thinking about you last night, Monday.
While watching the news/weather yesterday, they said, 'your area' was -47...Is that counting wind chill? Tooo darn cold for any living being. lol.

I used Fish Emulsion the one and only time I received a Scale-Infested Olive Tree. Thankfully, they never returned. Twice a year, I spray all plants with FE and a few other ingredients as a preventative.

Never tried veggie or any other oil on plants so have nothing to add. I trust Jane's judgement. Her plants are gorgoues.
Hope you're well and staying cuddly warm.

Jane, after you applied oil on your tropicals, 'those with a few damaged leaves,' were they placed in sun soon after?
Don't know if it's true, but years ago I read, when leaves are sprayed w/oil or oil-based products, they shouldn't be placed in sun right after. Especially direct. The leaves can fry. It makes sense when you think about it. Right?
What does cinnamon do? Someone on the C&S forum adds cinnamon for treating over-watered succulents, starting to rot. Toni

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 1:21PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Cinnamon is quite an amazing substance. The oil contains high concentrations of cinnamaldehyde, a broad spectrum fungicide, probably an insecticide, and an antimicrobial. There's even research going on about its reducing cancer cells.

You are right, Toni, about needing to be careful about direct full sunlight AND heat AND even cold temperatures when using oils. At least you do with the commercial emulsions and I would absolutely think so with a homemade suspension. But thats sort of a good rule to follow with almost anything we apply to our plants.

By the way, you DO use an oil product, dear girl. Your fish emulsion contains a bit of fish oil...with emulsifiers so that it mixes with water and stays mixed. ;-) I've always suspected that it's the oil in the fish emulsion that does such a good job of controlling scale. What brand do you use?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 4:51PM
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Rhizo and Jane, thanks for the cinnamon info..good to know. Does it matter how it's applied? Can it be sprinkled?

Reducing cancer cells in humans? Wonder if powered works as well as sticks or oils. And cinnamon is delicious.

Yep, you're right..FE contains fish oil..I meant cooking oils. Or is oil, oil? lol. Had no idea cold temps and oils causes problems. Do you know what it'd do to leaves?

Some oils might be a little, too heavy. oxy-moron??
People ask if cooking oils can be used to 'shine' leaves. Voting results...NO. Same with milk.

I use two brands of FE..Ferti-Loam 5-1-1 and Alaskan 5-1-1
What about you? Do you find one works better than another?

A local store had a cinnamon sale. 1.00 per bottle..100%, pure cinnamon.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 6:24PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Are you adding a powder cinnamon or oil?

I've heard of chamomile being used for powdery mildew also.


    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 7:11PM
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Rhizo, great information about cinnamon and oil. Toni, I bet it is the fish oil that is doing the work. Whatever works, but I think I'd prefer the smell of cinnamon over fish.

Orchid growers have used cinnamon forever. Great antifungal/bacterial properties. Mrs. Greens or Whole Foods (probably any organic store) sells cinnamon oil. Little bottle and I add a few drops to many of my sprays.

I use powdered cinnamon on pruning cuts, leaf damage, everything except roots. Keep it away from roots as it will inhibit root growth.

I mix the cinnamon oil in my alcohol/soap/Canola Oil spray. It leaves a nice smell and does a good job at keeping fungus at bay. It is said to be a natural insect repellent. I've been using both, oil and powdered for many years.

I also use straight alcohol on bugs. Rhizo, I will mist plants infested with alcohol. I believe it was the alcohol which damaged the new leaves. I haven't run into a problem using oil. I do mix some Dawn detergent and warm water to help disperse it. I never use an oil spray in the sun.

I have heard, straight alcohol will drop the leaf temps and the leaf will freeze...not literally, but have the same affect. I did use more alcohol than normal to spray my large plants. I had a terrible time with spider-mites and the alcohol treatment got rid of them. I think it did damage new growth, but I'm not worried about that.

I agree that oil can clog the leaves if coated too heavily. I only add a small amount of oil and add detergent to help break it up. Haven't had any problems, so far.


    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 8:03PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

BR - I have some information you might find useful, but there is no email link to you on your user page. If you're interested, contact me off forum.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 3:32PM
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Please, don't anyone use that recipe above with the vegetable oil! What a mess! Rhizo, the oil was certainly heavy and I worried about it clogging the pores once I could see how heavy it was.
Actually, I sprayed three different plants because they may have come in contact with the scale infested spider.

I washed all the oil off from the three plants late last night, plus oil clean-up which took over an hour. I plan on re-washing all the leaves again when their soil dries just to be sure every bit of it is off. I lost about 15 leaves while soaping up the curly spider, I won't ever do veggie oil again!
Greasy oil all over the sink, faucet and counter top and the outside of the pots and top of the soil. I hope the oil in the soil won't hurt anything until I get more soil, I did run semi warm water with the soap through the pots, but I know there is still some in there. What a mess! Next time I will use, canola oil, fish oil, alcohol, or horti oil.

Toni, hush your mouth! Lol. No we didn't have temperatures that were that low, not yet anyway!The coldest so far was like 10 below. I think those freezing temps were further north. Not fit for man nor beast! More snow is coming this week. Winter sucks, lol.
I did see some fish fertilizer when I was out looking for oil, not sure of the brand, but when I shook the bottle it seemed watery. For some reason I thought it would be thicker even though it is fertilizer, so I wasn't sure it would "coat" the leaves good enough, so I didn't get it, but boy I should have! Maybe I'll go out again sometime this week and get it.

Cinnamon worked really well when I had a slight powdery mildew problem on a hoya. Within a week or two, it was gone.

Thanks everyone for the tips and help:)
Billy Rae

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 7:56PM
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How much oil did you use? I only use approx 1/2 tsp per quart of warm water & detergent. (I don't measure, but a very small amount). I hope you didn't fill the sprayer with oil. Now I feel terrible, I should have been clearer.

My goodness, you must have had a mess!

Sooo sorry,

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 10:17PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Jane, I don't think that you should take any blame. Billy Rae probably made the recipe mentioned in the first post: one CUP of oil to two cups of water. EEEEEKKKKK! We all should have put the kibosh on that right away.

Thanks, Billy Rae, for posting your unhappy results. You may have prevented lots of others from making the same mistake. A TINY bit of oil goes a long way. Using an emulsion helps distribute the oil droplets throughout the whole solution, insuring that the tiniest layer of oil possible covers the leaf surfaces. That's what you want.

I'll add that this is exactly why it's a good idea to use commercial products (which actual labels, lol) until you get the hang of what the home remedies are supposed to accomplish. We can do lots of damage to our prized plants by using these products in a way that might cause harm. Believe it or not, our household products can end up doing lots of harm.

I use a combination of commercial pesticides as well as tried and true home remedies. Very little of either, I'm happy to say.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 10:32PM
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Hi Jane,

Oh yes, what a mess it was!

Oh no, not to worry, don't feel bad Jane. It's really my own fault. Even if I didn't get a response on this forum yet, I'm sure I would have used the first recipe anyway.

From what you said, I used a ton more veggie oil than I should have and should have known better then to use soooo much. I used 1 cup in a spay bottle, mixed with 2 c of water, some dish soap and I threw in a decent gulp of rubbing alcohol, then shook it up real good. The bottle had to be constantly shaken while spraying because the oil kept separating. It was a very DUMB move on my part! I then hung the plants down in the basement (no carpet) so they had a place to drip and they did, just s little.
Anyway, everything is all better know, plants are washed down, and the sprayer, well, that took a little more cleaning but, it's clean. I don't think anything on the plants survived all that oil. It was like the gulf oil spill and the valdez all over again in my sink! lol.

First oil mix attemp...
Live and learn!
Billy Rae

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 10:52PM
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OMG, what a mess you must have had. I feel so bad because I didn't look at the measurements on the first recipe. One cup! You only need a couple of drops of oil, I don't measure but just put a drop in the spray bottle with a squirt of detergent about 2 tbs of alcohol and 1-2 drops of cinnamon oil. Fill the rest of the sprayer with warm water. Shake and squirt.

I can't even imagine what you had to clean up. Reminds me of when I spilled a new bottle of Kerosene Oil (quart)a few years ago. It was in my kitchen cabinet and fell over. Not only a mess to clean up, the smell took months to get rid of.

So sorry, that's what I get for posting too late at night!


    Bookmark   January 27, 2011 at 11:49AM
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Billy, you could have made a big batch of deep-fried
I don't want to mention your location, but I could have sworn you said you lived lol,'confusing,' where the temp was -47???
Your poor mister!
When you added the oil, was the water cold, warm or hot? Oil separates in cold and warm water, but should stabalize evenly in hot/boiling water. However, once the water cools, it'll separate again.

Billy, if you shook the bottle of FE and it didn't thicken, something's wrong, defective..If you go back to the store, before purchasing, shake the bottle then remove cap. FE is very thick..after shaking it should thicken then and there. Do you remember the brand? I sometimes wonder how long prducts sit on a shelf.

Next time make a bottle of insecticide, I'll add cinnamon..if nothing for than the fragrance.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2011 at 3:24PM
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Yes, it was a lot oil for sure! I kept looking at the yellowish color in the spray bottle thinking, that's a lot of oil, lol

I did a second washing tonight on two of the spiders to get off any oil residue I may have missed. They are the two that were close to the infested one, so I treated them just in case "anything" got on them. I still have to re-wash the trouble maker.
I did check the leaves though and I didn't see ANY scale at all, so maybe it wasn't such a bad thing??? Well, except the clean-up, never want to do that again:)I'm gonna try a product that's for scale and other pest and also use a preventative with new plants. Oil be gone!

Billy Rae

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 8:53PM
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Toni, I could have made deep-fried chicken, AND french fries, lol

The 47 below was not here, but more north. The lowest temps that I can remember here was 20 below a few yrs back and we lost power for several hrs too starting at like 5 or 6 in the morning. The only thing I was worried about was my plants.

We were ready to start burning the kitchen chairs! The good thing was, the cold didn't effect the houseplants at all. The little bit of wood we had left for the fireplace was enough to keep them and us from shivering:)

I don't remember the name of the FE, only that it seemed water. So are you saying it's thin at first, and that it will thicken up after shaking it real good it? I just shook it a little, so maybe it was shaken enough then. Then again, like you said, who knows how long it's been on the shelf.

Keep warm!
Billy Rae

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 10:57PM
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Billy, I dont want to think of the mess..oil of all things! lol..sorry, don't mean to day you will laugh, but it might be too

When our electric goes off I worry about the pets and plants..especially birds..Unless they'd let me don them in little birdie outfits, they're cold. Dressing them isn't going to happen. lol. They fluff feathers. Sam and Coco do fine, but I don't want them cold either.
My plant room is pretty chilly now..the insulation sux, but there's nothing we can do about it, other than tearing down walls.

You have a fireplace? Cozy..chestnuts roasting on an open fire...........

Yep, after shaking FE, it looks thick. There's one word that describe its appearance, but don't like thinking about it, let alone announce your imagination.

Like eastern states, midwesterners are trying to keep warm. lol..Heck, it's been cold everywhere. Toni

    Bookmark   January 29, 2011 at 2:15PM
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At least it all cleaned up, just took an hour or so! If the oil was going to be hard to get up I would have been saying a few choice words, but because I have a big bottle of dawn, it was relatively easy, but still messy.
I will have to look at what I thought was FE, I could have been mistaken on the name. What it looks like, or what you won;t say it looks like sounds appetizing to say the least, I can only imagine, lol.

Keep those little birdies warm!
Billy Rae

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 1:38PM
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Billy...I don't use Dawn, but it IS a grease cutter. lol
How long did it take to wipe/wash that mess? Oh God, thinking about it.

It's snowing elephants and giraffe's. lol. The winds are super-strong..I'm only too happy my plants aren't outside. They'd need lifting every 2 mins..sheesh.

Hopefully, by now you're oil spill is over and done with.

Dh was working in the upstairs bathroom, and got some type of glue and some white stuff all over my plants. One Spathe leaf browned a hour after..sheesh..MEN! lol Toni

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 7:29PM
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