Benefits Of Cinnamon On Plants: Using Cinnamon For Pest, Cuttings, & Fungicide
Cinnamon is one of the most popular spices used in cooking all over the world. However, it has not been widely used for its medicinal properties because there are no scientific studies proving its effectiveness. There have been some anecdotal reports from herbalists suggesting that cinnamon may possess anti-inflammatory effects and even cancer fighting properties.
However, many other herbs have been tested with similar results. Therefore, the use of cinnamon as a medicine is still unproven.
The plant itself contains compounds called flavonoids which are thought to provide various health benefits such as reducing inflammation and inhibiting tumor growth. These substances have also been shown to inhibit the growth of certain types of bacteria and fungi (the so-called fungal pathogens).
There are several ways in which cinnamon can be useful for your garden. One way is when sprinkled on seeds or cuttings of plants that need extra protection against pests and diseases. Another method involves using it as a fungicide on seedlings and young plants. The main reason why you would want to do this is if you’re growing tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, etc., where the leaves might get damaged by insects such as aphids and scale insects.
A third way in which cinnamon can be used is as a coating on cuttings to prevent them from becoming infected with fungus. The fourth and final way in which cinnamon can be used is as a fungicide for fungal diseases such as leaf spot, powdery mildew and gray mold.
The first step when using cinnamon as a pesticide is to make a spray bottle of cinnamon water. To do this, you need to add a cup of water to a blender and then add six teaspoons of ground cinnamon. Blend the mixture for about 20 seconds and then allow it to settle. The particles will have settled at the bottom of the blender, so you should carefully pour out the water from the top.
Make sure that you only throw away the liquid and not the settled particles at the bottom because these are what contain most of the beneficial compounds. When you are done, all you need to do is pour the liquid into a spray bottle.
The second step is to apply the spray immediately after watering your plants. This is because the water will help the cinnamon stick to the leaves of your plants. You should also water your plant about an hour before you intend to spray, so the leaves are nice and moist. Just take your spray bottle and gently mist your plants, being careful not to soak them.
For most types of plants, a once or twice a month application should be fine. Just remember that you must always water your plant first and that more doesn’t necessarily mean better in terms of cinnamon usage. It is best to start off with a lower concentration and then increase it gradually as required rather than over-applying from the beginning.
If you are using your cinnamon mixture as a fungicide, the concentration should ideally be about 10% to 20%. To treat a fungal disease, you should mix one tablespoon of cinnamon with one gallon of water. However, before doing this, please check to see if the disease is actually caused by a fungus because some types such as those caused by viruses can’t be treated in this manner.
If you are using your cinnamon mixture to prevent insects such as aphids or scale from attacking your plants, you should mix one tablespoon of cinnamon with two cups of water. That mixture can be sprayed once every two or three days.
Before using these mixtures, you should always do a test run on a few leaves to check for any discoloration or mottling that may result. If you notice anything of that nature, then you should either adjust the mixture and try again or stop using it altogether because something has gone wrong.
Some people have reported success when using cinnamon as a fungicide and insecticide, but some people have also reported some issues. This method may not work with every type of plant, so it is always worth testing your mixture on a few leaves before dousing your entire crop.
The important thing to remember is that if you want to use cinnamon as a spray then it needs to be used fresh. This means that you should never store the cinnamon in your cupboard for later use. Instead, you should buy a small amount just for this purpose and then throw it away once you are done.
The reason for this is that the beneficial chemicals found in cinnamon tend to break down over time. That breakdown is especially quick when the cinnamon is exposed to heat, light, and air. Since your spray gun is likely to have all three of those things, the effectiveness of your spray is going to be greatly reduced. Of course, you’ll probably still get some benefit from it, but it won’t be as much as you would get if you were using a more concentrated mixture.
Please note that if you do intend on using cinnamon in this manner, you should never use cinnamon that has been cut with sugar because the food industry does that so that their product will last longer. You need 100% pure cinnamon for this to work.
Using a Cinnamon Infusion to Disperse Pests
If you don’t want to bother with mixing up a spray and you just want something simple that works well, you can also just make a cinnamon infusion. This is done by taking several cups of water and putting several cinnamon sticks into it. Then, heat the mixture until it starts to boil lightly. After that, take it off the heat and cover it, allowing it to sit overnight in a cool place.
The next day, strain out the cinnamon and discard it. You can pour this liquid into a spray bottle to make it easier to apply. You can also use it directly, but you’ll have to reapply it frequently since it won’t have had the time to soak into the leaves like it would have if you left it in a few days.
How Does Cinnamon Work?
Cinnamon actually has a few different compounds that give it its aroma and flavor. It also has antimicrobial properties. However, the main way that it repels insects as well as the viruses, bacteria, and fungi that can harm your marijuana plants is thanks to a compound called cinnamaldehyde. This substance is so potent that it can be harmful if ingested in large quantities.
Cinnamaldehyde is what gives cinnamon its taste and smell, which is why it is used so commonly in cooking. In addition to repelling insects, it has also been shown to have antifungal and antibacterial properties, which is why it’s so effective as a fungicide. (Source)
What Kinds of Pests Does It Repel?
Cinnamon has been shown to repel the following types of insects:
Ants (Multiple types)
Wasps (Multiple types)
Flies (Multiple types)
Ticks (Multiple types)
Red Fire Ants
Indoor Flying Moths (Multiple Types)
Clover Mites (Multiple Types)
It has also been proven to keep away multiple types of rodents as well.
How Well Does It Work?
It seems to work quite well for the most part. It seems to be especially effective on flying insects, but it can still have an effect on crawling ones as well. The only problem is that it doesn’t seem to last very long. This means you need to reapply it fairly often if you want to make sure you’re getting the full repelling benefit. (Source)
How Do You Apply It?
I’ll list a few ways that people have used this substance to keep their marijuana gardens free of pests. Please keep in mind that you should never ingest this substance no matter what you’re using it for, and you should always do a small test patch to make sure that it doesn’t have any negative effects on your plants.
1. Create a spray.
This is the most common way that people use this substance. To do this, you’ll need to mix around 20-30mL of water with 2-3 tablespoons of ground cinnamon. After mixing thoroughly, you should apply this to your marijuana plants with a spray bottle. Reapply every few days, or after a heavy rain. (Source)
2. Create an infusion.
Instead of using water, you can substitute it with something a bit stronger. Some people have used wine, or even brandy to create a stronger mixture that will last longer. Apply this the same way as the spray bottle mixture. (Source)
3. Add directly to the soil.
This is another method that some people use. To do this, you’ll want to mix around 2-4 tablespoons directly into 5 gallons of soil. This is obviously going to be great for your soil, but keep in mind that it could have a negative effect on your plants if you’re not careful about the type of cinnamon (or even too much) that you add. (Source)
4. Add it to your water supply.
Another popular way to use this substance is in a sprayer that feeds directly into your plants’ water supply. You can take a 2-liter bottle, drill a few holes in the top, and then insert the tip of your sprayer into it. After mixing 4 tablespoons of cinnamon and around 20-30mL of water, you can begin filling up your plants’ water supply. This is a great way to keep the cinnamon near your plants’ roots, and make sure that it absorbs properly. (Source)
5. Create a barrier.
Instead of applying the mixture directly to your plants, you can also create a barrier around their growing area. This is a good way to keep cinnamon near the outside of your garden, giving it a wide perimeter of defense without risking negative effects on your plants. All you have to do is dig a small trench (about 5 inches deep and 3 inches wide) around the edge of your garden. After that, mix in the cinnamon and soil, then water thoroughly. (Source)
Tips On Usage
There’s really not too many tips when it comes to using cinnamon as a natural pest repellent. The only real tip that springs to mind is to always do a small test patch before applying it to your entire garden, just to make sure that it doesn’t have any negative effects on your plants. Also, be sure to reapply it every few days, or after a heavy rain.
The Science Behind It
While it’s not exactly understood how cinnamon works as a natural insect repellent, there are a few theories on how it functions. Many scientists believe that the essential oils that give cinnamon its unique smell are the main ingredients that ward off pests. These oils can be harmful if ingested in large quantities, which might explain why insects tend to stay away from them.
Some people also believe that cinnamon might have antibiotic properties, and can prevent insects from spreading disease to other plants. This is mainly a theory though, so take it with a grain of salt. (Or a spoonful of cinnamon.)
Red chili pepper
The Effectiveness Of Chili Pepper
A lot of gardeners swear by chili peppers when it comes to keeping common pests away. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it; chili pepper has been used for centuries to repel all kinds of insects. You’re probably most aware of this through the food that you eat, but it also has practical applications in the garden as well.
How To Use It
To use it in your garden, you can simply sprinkle dried chili pepper around your garden. Many people use it as a fencing mechanism, by creating a ring of the substance around their garden. This is said to be the most effective way of using it, since it gives a physical barrier that pests won’t cross.
You can also simply sprinkle some chili powder around the base of your plants. Don’t apply too much though, because chili pepper can actually burn the roots of your plants if there’s too much. (It won’t hurt you unless you eat the stuff though, so no need to worry about that! Unless you like eating pain.)
Alternatively, you can also create a barrier by mixing chili powder with soap or water. This creates a sort of paste that can be used to create a barrier, although it’s not as effective as simply sprinkling the powder on the ground. (Source)
Tips On Usage
As was mentioned earlier, make sure not to apply too much chili powder around your garden. This can actually damage the plant itself, which goes against the entire purpose of using chili in the first place.
You should also consider that chili powder can stain clothing and surfaces if not handled with caution. It’s best to do any application in an old shirt so you don’t have to worry about the mess.
Remember that this might not work for all species of pests. For example, it won’t do anything against slugs and other similar creatures that don’t have an aversion to the spice. Still, for most applications it’ll work just fine.
The Science Behind It
Chili peppers contain a compound called capsaicin which is what makes them so spicy. However, this same compound is also a natural defense mechanism, discouraging all kinds of organisms from coming anywhere near the plant. (Not just insects and the like, but also other mammals.)
The reason that this works so well is because the compound is fat soluble, which means it can easily pass through cell membranes. When it comes into contact with an organism’s cell wall, the cell wall opens up to let it in, after which the outer membrane collapses and the cell dies. (This process takes a while though, so if you’re quick enough you can wash off the chili before it affects you too much! (Unless you’re talking about the really, really hot pepper, of course.)
Besides repelling common pests, there’s another reason why chili is so good at repelling pests and that’s because it makes the food taste bad. Pests don’t like food that tastes bad, so they’re naturally discouraged from eating it. (Which is why spicy food tends to repel insects so well, hence why many cultures have spicy dishes. (And no, this isn’t just a chicken and the egg situation, spicy food didn’t come about because people wanted to repel insects. It’s the other way around!))
The reason why chili powder (or any form of red pepper) works so well is because it’s extremely concentrated. (Contrary to popular belief, chili powder does not contain much heat compared to other kinds of hot peppers. (Although if you want the food to actually be spicy, you can add cayenne or another hot pepper to increase the heat.)) Since it’s so concentrated, you need very little to have an effect.
It’s also important to note that red pepper is a dye, and it only turns items red because it stains. It doesn’t actually do this to your skin, although you may notice the inside of your nose becomes a bit red and your eyes may water a bit. (This is where the “it burns when I pee” misconception comes from, as urine is basically liquid red dye. It’s actually not the heat that’s stinging, it’s the dye. (Well, usually…
There are some super hot peppers out there that will burn quite a bit if you eat them! (These are far beyond the kind you’d find in a grocery store, though.)
As far as how it kills the insects, it’s mostly through ingestion. The insects eat the red pepper along with the food and begin to die almost immediately. (The rest of the colony is usually killed when they attempt to feed again since the chili powder has stained everything red. There is no other food left for them to eat. (It doesn’t kill the entire colony, but it does wipe out enough of it that the rest will abandon the area.
Note: Don’t use chili powder for bees, wasps or ants.
Because they don’t eat. They have an acid in their stomachs that sterilizes whatever they eat. That’s also why you shouldn’t use repellants with Deet on bees. It’s not actually harming the hive, it’s just making all the bees sterile! (That probably won’t be a problem if you’re just trying to get rid of carpenter or bullet ants though.) (Also, don’t kill bees! They’re important to our ecosystem and it takes all of us to work together to make Earth a better place. (They’re also important for making honey, one of the most delicious foods known to man!))
The only downside to using chili powder is that it can only get rid of the easy to reach pests, and sometimes the eggs. To get rid of everything, you’ll need a little more powerful substance…
Insecticide isn’t a single substance, it’s a blanket term for anything that can kill insects. (Although these days “insecticide” is used to refer to man-made chemicals that kill insects and “pesticide” is used to refer to anything that does the job, even if it’s natural. (In some circles “pesticide” is considered a negative word so they’ve attempted to switch over to “biological control” to describe natural insecticides, but as you can see, I’m not going to bother with all that.
Insecticides can be separated into two categories: The kind you mix yourself and the kind you buy pre-mixed. (The pre-mixed stuff is almost always more dangerous than the home brews though, so be careful!)
There are a lot of household solutions you can use for killing insects. (Some of them are even safe to use indoors!) Most of them are a lot more labor intensive than grabbing a can off the shelf at the store though.
Soap and Water: This is one of the most simple and effective methods, and it’s really easy to make. Just mix some insect soap (you can buy this at any store as well) into a bucket of water. (Use more soap for more insects or more dirty surfaces. (Basically, a little soap goes a long way.) It’ll kill insects upon contact and also break down the insect’s waxy coat so that it can’t breathe and dies of dehydration.
(Don’t worry, it’s not actually soapy water, it just breaks down into water and oil)
Hot Water: Just as it sounds, using hot water to kill your insects. This is usually used for getting rid of ants hills, but it works for most insects. (Just be careful with using it indoors since you might splatter some water) To use, pick out the ant hills you want to kill (DON’T USE ON MILLEPEDS!) then get a bucket of hot water (as hot as you can stand) and drench the ant hill. (Make sure it’s a big enough pail since the water will soon be black with dead ants).
Bleach: Use only pure bleach for killing insects. (Chlorine isn’t good for you!) Mix the amount of water and bleach together that you’d normally use to do your laundry. (A capful is enough for a couple ant hills) Don’t dilly dally though, because the insects will eventually die and drop off the ant hill and then the bleach will turn the area it’s in yellow.
Citrus Solvent: This stuff is like super lemon pledge. It’s really good at killing small insects such as ants and fruit flies. (Spray it in hard to reach places where they might have gathered) It’s not good for using on ant hills though since it will just make them mad.
Dish Soap: The only real reason to use this is to give yourself some satisfaction of seeing the insects drown before they die. (Although sometimes they’ll still wander off to die some place else and that’s when they can cause a stench) Otherwise you’re better off using one of the other cleaners.
Paint Thinner: This should only be used on small insects such as ants. (And only on indoor ant hills) Use as much as you would use for painting a small wall.
Gasoline: This is what you use to send ants back to their original creator in a ball of fire. (It also makes a great pesticide, but that’s dangerous for indoor use)
Pre-Mixed Solutions: These are the stuff you can find at your local grocery store. Most of them aren’t very good for you or the environment, but they work fairly well. Always read the label to make sure you’re not allergic or it isn’t harmful to the environment before using. If you have pets or small children make sure they can’t get into it as well.
Bar Keepers Friend: This is a great powder that you can use to scrub off any kind of hard shell insect. (Be careful though, it’s rough and can take the finish off wood if you’re not careful) Not good for using on ant hills since it won’t get into the hill, but for stuff like scabies, it’s perfect. Just make sure you rinse it away with water afterwards or it will cause problems with your pipes. (It’s not dangerous, but not good for your pipes)
Bleach: You can get plain chlorine bleach (Not the kind with other stuff in it) at the grocery store. It comes in a big plastic jug and is used for cleaning and sterilizing. It’s very strong so you don’t need much, most household uses only require a cap full. (Always read the labels to make sure or you could be sorry) It’s a good disinfectant, but it can cause problems with your pipes so be sure to rinse it away with copious amount of water.
Glass Cleaner: Most glass cleaners are acid based and will kill insects instantly when sprayed on them. Be sure to get the plain variety and read the label to make sure it’s safe for using around food. (Some can cause problems with your septic system as well as damage plastic) It’s not good to use on ant hills since it will kill the ants you want to keep, so just use it as a pre-treatment before cooking them.
Alright, now that we have the pesticides covered, you need to know how to use them:
Always make sure you shake the container well before using any kind of spray.
Most aerosols should be sprayed into the air and allowed to fall over everything so you don’t waste it. (Re-seal after use)
Most liquids should be applied with a cloth of some sort. Paper towels are good since you can throw them away later. Rags can be washed and you may want to save them for later use.
Powders should be applied with a dusting container such as a shaker or a scooper. (Similar to the kind that comes with kitty litter) You can re-use these if they are plastic and clean them with bleach or boiling water. Paper cups can also be used and thrown away.
Safety: Most of these chemicals are poisonous so make sure you and any pets stay out of the area you are treating. Make sure any FOOD is covered or removed altogether and your pets can’t get into it. Most of these should not be left out for more that 24 hours since they can become even more dangerous after that period of time.
Things like bleach will lose it’s potency after a period of time as well, so make sure you use the whole bottle within 2 weeks. If for some reason you find yourself with left over bait, make sure you throw it away since it has probably lost it’s effectiveness by then.
Always wash your hands when you’re done. Some of these chemicals can cause skin irritations and even cancer. (not to mention cross contamination) You don’t want to poison yourself.
These are very effective on their own, but combining a few different types usually gives pretty good results as well. You just have to be more careful when combining different types of chemicals together.
Having a few extra sprayers around can help you treat an area more than once, and also beat the bugs to the punch if they start developing a resistance to one particular chemical.
Always check the area before you start since some chemicals can harm plants as well as insects. (Some can even kill grass)
Always make sure you keep the bait stations up until the problem is gone. Even if it looks like the ants have vanished, a few survivors can start breeding again if you take it down too soon. If you’re unsure just leave it up for another week or so to be sure.
If you’re lucky, they might start eating it before you even put it out and you can just watch them take it down from afar. Sometimes they will even remove the bait from the traps before they eat it, which although is slightly more work for you, is a sign that they know what the stuff is and are trying to protect the rest of the colony. This can be an effective method since they will be doing the work for you.
Make sure you keep a log of what has been done and when. It will help you keep track of what has worked and what hasn’t and help you plan your next moves if the problem comes back.”
You: “Sounds good to me, I’ll get started on it right away. Thanks, doc.”
Doctor Kessel: “OK, just don’t forget to come back in a week so I can check your wounds and change your bandages.”
You: “Will do. Thanks again.”
Doctor Kessel: “Don’t mention it, bye now.”
You leave the doctors office and head back to your apartment to pick up your things before going to rent the equipment you need. On your way there you get a text message from Tina.
It says: “Ant problem taken care of, my place tomorrow to go over details?”
You chuckle to yourself and send her a message saying: “Sounds good :-).
As you get your equipment and head back to the apartment Tina’s already there waiting for you.
Tina: “Hey, glad you could make it over so quickly, I didn’t want to wait around all day since I need to get back home soon. Good thing you’re early too, I was afraid you would be late like last time.”
You: “Yeah, sorry about that, I had some stuff come up last time.
Um, where’s the problem, is it far from here?”
Tina: “No, it’s in my apartment.”
You: “Actually, I think it may be closer for me to just do it now if you don’t mind me coming up.”
Tina: “You know what, that’s a good idea, the sooner we do this now the sooner I can sleep at night without having to check all the time. Let’s go.
Tina starts heading towards the door and you follow her, you give the man at the counter her name and he tells you which one it is. You both take the elevator up to the appropriate floor and then walk to her apartment N210. Tina fumbles with her keys for a moment before opening the door.
You: “Did you lock yourself out recently?
I think I saw a notice on the office door about that being a new policy.”
Tina: “Oh, yeah, I was wondering how they knew, I’ve been doing it for days trying to get a spare key made. I guess I was close, but decided to just get a new one instead. Anyway come on in.”
The two of you walk into the apartment and it’s fairly clean for a college aged girl, it almost looks like a model apartment.
Tina: “Well, the problem is in the kitchen, I’ve been seeing them in there mostly. Take off your shoes and be careful when you’re looking, because my cat is in there and she sometimes gets under the stove. Don’t want you to step on her.”
You: “Got it, I’ll be careful.”
Tina: “I’ll be in my room, third one on the left if you need anything. Hope this goes smoothly.”
You: “Me too. Thanks again for your help.”
As Tina heads off to her room you get a better look at the kitchen. It’s small but it has everything you’d expect in it. You notice right away what looks like some dirt on the floor next to the stove and ask Tina if she’s been having problems with it leaking.
Tina: “No, I’ve never had any problems with it leaking, and I just had it serviced not long ago too. One would think a place this expensive would have good quality appliances that don’t need service so much.”
You: “Well, can’t win them all I guess. Oh, it looks like one of your floor tiles is coming up, I’ll just get a screwdriver and put it back down for you.
A few minutes later you have the tile up and find out why Tina was having problems, there’s a hole in the pipe just under the stove that leads to the floor drain. You take your phone and take a couple of pictures of it before putting the tile back and re-screwing it into place. After giving it a few tries with the screwdriver you give up on reattaching the pipe, you’re just not getting enough leverage with the tool.
I need your help in here for a moment.”
Tina: “What do you need?”
You: “I need you to hold a pipe in place while I put the screws back in, I can’t quite reach it myself.”
Tina: “Can’t you move the stove?
You: “Not really sure how to do that, and I don’t want to mess with it too much. I just need you to brace the pipe for a moment.”
Tina doesn’t respond so you head into her room where you find her lying face down on her bed, softly sobbing.
You: “Tina, what’s wrong?”
“I thought YOU said this was all an accident and now it’s worse than ever.”
“I thought it was too, I still don’t think that Gary did it intentionally.”
“Well he must have done something to piss off the ghosts.
I mean like why else would they kill him, and then just get worse after he died?”
“I don’t think they killed him, there wasn’t any blood. I think he just had a heart attack or something.”
“Either way, I can’t take this anymore, I think we should just leave and not come back.”
“You didn’t let me finish. What I was going to say is they got worse after he died because we were here, if we leave they might go back to how they were before.”
“Yes, we. Because as crazy as this place is, I don’t think Gary would want us to leave without finding out what happened. Besides, I can’t in good conscious leave you here by yourself after everything that’s happened and you’ve been through so far.”
Tina starts crying again but this time with a smile.
Tina: “Thank you.
Sources & references used in this article:
Cultivation and management of cinnamon by J Ranatunga, UM Senanayake… – Cinnamon and …, 2003 – books.google.com
Effect of cinnamon oil on incidence of anthracnose disease and postharvest quality of bananas during storage. by M Mehdi, A Asgar, PG Alderson – International Journal of …, 2010 – cabdirect.org
Cinnamon (Extension Pamphlet) by M Anandaraj, S Devasahayam, B Krishnamoorthy… – 2005 – iisr.agropedias.iitk.ac.in
Cinnamon by J Thomas, KM Kuruvilla – Handbook of herbs and spices, 2012 – Elsevier