Insecticidal soap is an important item in the arsenal of every Phalaenopsis orchid grower. You can buy it pre-mixed, but you can also save money and control the ingredients by making it yourself at home. Either way, it is an effective eradicator of many invasive orchid pests, including aphids, mealy bugs, thrips, scale and spider mites.
The Basics Behind Insecticidal Soap
The basic ingredient is soap. If you want to be organic, try one with all natural ingredients and without any detergents that would break up grease or antibacterial solutions. The natural fats are essential in coating the orchid pests and either smothering them—or breaking down their shells—without damaging your plant, or nearby pets or children.
Additional Solutions to Rid Orchid Pests
Other ingredients can include vegetable oil, which help the solution stay longer without evaporating, or a strong herb or spice, like mint or pepper has proven efficient in killing these pesky insects.
You will want to wash the solution off of your orchid after a few hours. If your problem is aphids or mealy bugs on your flowers, try it with warm water. If the pests are on your orchid’s roots, you can soak the roots in a diluted solution for a few hours, then rinse and repot in new soil.
In difficult cases, like with thrips or scale, you may have to do this several times. Try not to get too frustrated. Approach it with a scientific sense of inquiry, and you may end up with your own special blend of insecticidal soap that keeps your orchids pest free indefinitely!