Essential-Essential oils against aphids

The essential

In 1940, malariologists estimated that half of all living Homo sapiens had died of malaria(1). Malaria is transmitted through mosquitoes. Suffice to say that the fight against insects is crucial in the survival of our species.While not a life/death scenario, the theme of this article also addresses the fight against six-legged arthropods: in this case ahphids.

I have been an amateur gardner for years, and found myself this summer waging battle against an army of aphids to protect my potted parsley, celery, and pepper plants against their nefarious depredations. In this article, I will give you the recipe for my secret weapon with essential oils, so that you, too, can arm yourself.

1. Aphids

2. My problem with the plant suckers

3. Several methods to fight against an infestation of aphids

3.1 Do nothing

3.2 Carnations

3.3 Ladybugs

3.4 The jet of water and other black soap…

4. Effects of essential oils on aphids

5. My recipe with essential oils to fight against these invasive green insects

5.1 The recipe to fight the green invaders

5.2 The spary anti aphids in action

5.3 Recommendations for use:

5.4 Outcome

5.5 My opinion

5.6 If we had to redo it

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Essential-Essential Oils Against Aphids

Sun Tzu once said: "Who knows his enemy as he knows himself, in a hundred battles will not be defeated." As this is also sage advice in the garden, let us begin by learning a bit more about aphids...

1. Aphids

Aphids are part of the Aphidoidea superfamily.


Estimates suggest that there are about 5000 members of this family around the world.

Aphids Picture from Pixabay.com
Picture from Pixabay.com

Aphids are a hardy and well-adapted bunch. They have been present on Earth for about 200 million years!


We know this because some examples were caught in tree resin which eventually fossilized into Baltic amber, preserveing the insect bodies inside.

Amber Picture from Pixabay.com
Picture from Pixabay.com

Aphids are usually small, soft-bodied insects that measure between 1 and 5 mm. In term of colour, they can be translucent. black, or many shades of brown, red, blue or green.


They exist as sap-suckers, and are principally found in temperate regions where they can colonise plants extremely quickly. Fascinatingly, even baby aphids are born in the state of already being gravid; that they begin their lives while already gestating the next generation.


Devoid of wings, these small insects are able to mutate naturally in cases of overpopulation. When conditions begin to get crowed, female aphids develop wings and the disre to see whetther the grass is greener elsewher...


When they fly away, air currents can help move them over distance of up to several kilometers.

Aphids Picture from Pixabay.com
Picture from Pixabay.com

2. My problem with aphids

As mentioned, for the past two years, my garden has been under siege by a malignant horde of sap-suckers


Last year ago, they discovered the astringent bite of fresh celery.


This year, their cravings for more exotic fare brought them to attack my pepper plants. Honestly, their thieving has brought as much damage to my garden things as it has to my metaphorical green thumb.

And honestly, it really hurts,

  • It hurts to put in all the effort and not reap the benefits. To speak like a gentleman-farmer 2.0, the ROI is negative.
  • Seeing one’s seedling wither after a strong and promising start hurts, especially when you had formulated great plans to to stock up for the winter. Say goodbye to soups, snails, and herbal tisanes...

3. Several methods to fight against an infestation of aphids

3.1 Do nothing

I'm not a Jain monk, sorry!

3.2 Carnations

I was advised to plant carnations so that the aphids attack the flowers instead of my crops.

carnation flowers Picture from Pixabay.com
Picture from Pixabay.com

Carnations are beautiful, but personally it didn't work.

3.3 Ladybugs

I even captured ladybugs to take them to summer camp on my balcony with food and shelter offered.

I even enlisted my wife and son to press-gang ladybugs whenever we were out, so that I could bring them back to my balcony for a gratis all-you-can-eat aphid buffet.


I even provided tableside entertainment, sanging “Ladybug, Ladybug fly away, the weather will be nice tomorrow!” (A French cantine that I used to sing when I was a child:)


Guess what! They flew away and , it rained, on top of everything else!


I recently learned that it was actually ladybug larvae are the hungriest aphids eaters.

3.4 The jet of water and other black soap…

Finally, Google caught wind of my suffering (or perhaps it took pity on my long diatribes to my long-suffering wife) and proposed a series of different articles which detailing different green means of eradicating the green menace.

Fire fighters Picture from Pixabay.com
Picture from Pixabay.com

One such solution was to use a high-pressure water jet. In addition to knocking the aphids off their feet, this upset my plants as well, leaving more space for smaller green things to take root. In the end, I found this solution unsatisfactory, as it left me with more plants and more aphid problems!


Another (similar) alternative involved spraying plants with black soap (alep soap) spray. I had learned my lesson, and made use of a lower power spray. However, this seemed to be only temporarily effective. Once agian, I was left unsatisfied!

4. Effects of essential oils on aphids

At my wit’s end, I finally found that the solution had been near to hand the entire time. Essential oils bring the power of the outside world to help us; we can also use essential oils to help us in our outdoor activities!


How could I not have thought of it sooner?


In fact, yes, I had thought about it earlier, but I had not taken the time to inquire much.


I started my research and found several recipes for aphid-fighting by means of essential oils. By comparing and contrasting these, it seemed like the main aphid-deterrents are the essential oils of Peppermint and Geranium.

Essential oil Peppermint
Essential oil Geranium

Each oil plays a different role in fighting off invaders.

  • Peppermint is  found in the majority of anti-aphid recipes, as menthol and menthone “olfactorily” disrupt the behaviour of the little green beasts. (2)
  • Geranium with its composition rich in citronellol and geraniol, will penetrate the plant which will serve as a vector of transmission to the aphids to dry them out. (3)

Do not spray your plants directly with essential oils. For effective treatment, the essential oils must first be diluted in vegetable oil. I reflexively opted for Jojoba oil.

5. My recipe with essential oils to fight against these invasive green insects

5.1 The recipe

Bland of essential oils to fight Aphids

For a 30 ml bottle, I poured

  • 200 drops of organic Peppermint essential oil,
  • 100 drops of organic Geranium essential oil,
  • then, I completed with Jojoba wax.

This gives a mixture with a dilution of about 33%. This amount is sufficient to treat at least 20 plants with a mild to medium degree of aphid infestation.


I waved and sprayed.


The preparation cost is approximately 10€.


5.2 The spary anti aphids in action

During summer 2022, a plant of celery has been attacked by aphids.


I filmed five days on the raw the effect of the spray I made to show the efficiency of the blend of essential oils.


I am not the next Spielberg or Steve Miner but at least you can see what happened to the six-leg-green-suckers.

Aphid's attack day one

Aphid's attack day two

Aphid's attack day three

Aphid's attack day four

Aphid's attack day five

5.3 Recommendations for use:

A few notes on using the spray:

  • Spray well under the leaves. , as this is a haven of aphid activity.
  • Do not to spray this mixture on your face. It's the aphids that we want to keep you !
  • Have a light hand. This is not watering!
  • Do not spray furniture, windows or other objects when you treat your plants.
  • Ideally use gloves and goggles. I know it's a bit excessive, but essential oil of mint can burn the eyes.

5.4 Outcome

The aphids didn't like it at all! . On parsley and celery, the treatment it was radical, and stopped the infestation in its tracks.


For pepper, the result is less conclusive, but still significant.


All in all, the  recipe is simple, natural and most importantly quite effective.

5.5 My opinion


For my purposes, II prepared too much of the mixture, 20 ml would have been enough for my purposes, and the preparation would have cost a little less.


As an additional bonus, treating the pepper plant in our livingroom, with Peppermint and Geranium, it left a rather pleasant smell.



I also have the impression that the leaves of the plants have may been burned a little by the oils. This may be due to a general weakening of the plant, or to an excess of spraying.

It should be noted, however, that the celery resumed its growth without pause or lasting ill effect. Unfortunately, my parsley was too infected to survive. I replace it with a thyme plant to "clean" the earth. Finally, I hope!

5.6 If I had to redo it again

In the future, I plan to prepare my bottle of anti-aphids spray every year.


I will reuse Peppermint and Geranium oils.


I will reinforce the synergy by adding:

  • Citronella to increase the percentage of geraniol (20-25%)
  • Regarding vegetable oil, I had inquired about buying Neem oil (which is used as an insecticide). However, this is extremely expensive. Next time I will use olive oil.
  • Watch theis space for updates! 

Finally, I will lower the dilution rate to 15%  (which will also make the mixture less expensive to produce, and may help with leaf burn). I will keep you posted!

Be safe, be essential!

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(1) CaliKim29 Garden & Home DIY. Organic Pest Control / Water &  DIY Peppermint Oil Spray / Spider Mites & Aphids on Cucumbers. (2017).

(2) Effect of some Materials for Controlling Green Peach Aphid, Myzus persicae (Sulzer) Afaf A. El-Wahab1; Horia A. Abd El-Wahab2; Neama A. Abdel- Hameed1; Eftkhar E. S. Abohatab2 and Manal M. A. Hager1

(3) Géraniol, subastance active d’origine végétale. Breyner https://breyner.fr/geraniol-matiere-premiere/.


I do not pretend or want to replace any medical judgment or prescription. All the information within this post is intended to be informative! Please, always use essential oils carefully and with respect. In case of doubt, always ask a medical professional first. 


If you have any questions or remarks about the pictures and credits, feel free to send an email to info@apres-you.com.

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