Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Control Insects With Garlic Plants

garlic image by Bartlomiej Nowak from

One of the most effective ways to control insects in the garden is to use garlic. Both the plants and bulbs are very useful in keeping unwanted pests away. Garlic sprays can be made to protect garden plants and just planting a garlic plant near another plant can deter harmful insects in an organic manner. Garlic protects flowers, most vegetables and some trees and shrubs.

How to Control Insects with Garlic Plants

colonie de pucerons image by Jean-Jacques Cordier from

Plant garlic in rose beds to deter aphids, a small winged insect that gather in clumps on leaves, stems and buds of roses and suck the juice from the plants. Take one of the long, slender leaves from the garlic plant and tie it to the stem of a rose bush and it will keep the aphids away. Garlic will also prevent insects from destroying marigolds, petunias, nasturtium and petunias.

early garlic white bulbs image by Maria Brzostowska from

Plant garlic among peppers and tomatoes to keep red spider mites away and also enhance the flavor of the peppers and tomatoes. Broccoli, cabbage and spinach will be safe from caterpillars, destructive worms, slugs and snails when garlic is planted next to them. The Colorado potato beetle will stay away from potatoes when you plant a garlic plant around the potato hills.

Plant garlic under trees and shrubs. Borers can infest trees and shrubs and bore through stems and branches to kill the shrub and tree. Garlic will deter borers from azalea bushes and lilacs, deciduous trees and fruit trees.

green spray bottle image by Jim Mills from

To make a homemade garlic, spray peel and crush six cloves of garlic and put it into a large container that can be covered with one gallon of water. Add one tablespoon of cayenne, one small minced onion, and one teaspoon of Ivory soap. Ivory is used because it does not contain the chemicals other soaps do and is safe to use in the garden. Cover the container and let it sit for 2 days after which it should be strained. The liquid can go into a spray bottle and it will keep for a few weeks. Spray on plants as needed, but especially after a rainstorm, to keep harmful bugs away.

beetle on leaf image by Tammy Mobley from

To make a garlic tea omit everything in the garlic spray recipe but the garlic and the water. After letting it sit for two days pour it on the ground around the plants. This is especially useful for ridding the garden of slugs and snails and the dreaded Japanese beetle.


Garlic is usually planted in the fall. Because of this you should plan out the location of all plants in the garden. Use markers to show where you planted the garlic because it may not have sprouted by the time you want to plant seeds in the spring.


Never plant garlic near beans, peas, sage or parsley because they will not grow properly when growing next to each other.

When spraying vegetables or fruits with garlic spray remember that they could take on the flavor of garlic. Wash well before eating or try not to spray a month ahead of harvest.

Garden Guides