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peppermint oil and peppermint plant on a table

Will Peppermint Oil Hurt Houseplants? & 7 Helpful Answers

Peppermint oil has seemingly limitless uses around the home, but before you go and use it on your houseplants, you need to make sure it’s completely safe.

In this article, I will tell you if peppermint oil can hurt your houseplants, and also how to use it.

Here’s if Peppermint Oil Can Hurt Houseplants:

P​eppermint oil will not hurt houseplants. Essential oils like peppermint are derived from plants and do not contain harmful chemicals. Peppermint oil diluted with water can safely be applied to houseplant leaves and can also help deter pests.

K​eep reading to find out more about if peppermint oil is safe for houseplants, how to apply it, and some benefits it has to offer your plants:

C​an Peppermint Oil Kill Houseplants?

N​o, peppermint oil cannot kill houseplants. When commercial suppliers make peppermint oil, peppermint leaves are heated at low temperatures. Vapor rises off of the leaves and is trapped, where it then turns into oil.

A​ccording to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, the oils extracted from the peppermint plant are what give the plant its distinct smell and taste.

This oil is what you find on store shelves. As a general rule, since it was extracted from a plant, it won’t harm other plants.

I​s Peppermint Oil Completely Safe For Houseplants?

Y​es, peppermint oil is completely safe to use on houseplants. It’s free from harmful chemicals; instead, it’s simply made from peppermint plants. T​o be extra safe when using peppermint oil on your houseplants, make sure to dilute the oil.

This will help your peppermint oil last longer and also help it spread more easily where you apply it.

D​iluting peppermint oil before using it on your plants also prevents the oil from giving that burning sensation to your more sensitive plants.

Imagine what it feels like to use mint-flavored mouthwash–it gives you a strong tingling sensation. Undiluted peppermint oil can give your plants the same sensation, though they won’t find it very enjoyable.

W​hile spraying peppermint oil on plants is the most common way of deterring pests, there are other ways to keep unwanted visitors away from your plants using this essential oil.

By combining equal parts peppermint oil and water in a spray bottle, you can create a gentle solution to spray on floors and counters that will keep pests far from your plants.

As an additional perk, spraying peppermint oil around your home will give it a cool, refreshing scent.

A​nother way to use peppermint oil around your houseplants is to put it on cotton balls, then place the cotton balls near your plants. You don’t have to dilute the oil like you would in a spray bottle, so you can use as many drops as you’d like on each cotton ball.

Y​ou can also pour some peppermint oil in small bowls and place them strategically around your home. For example, putting a bowl outside your front door in nice weather may keep mice away completely.

That way, they won’t even attempt to bother your houseplants.

W​ill Peppermint Oil Make My Houseplants Smell Like Peppermint?

Y​es, peppermint oil will give your plants a slight peppermint scent for a few days. This characteristic is actually what makes peppermint oil great for plants; it masks the plant’s natural scent so predators aren’t interested.

I​t doesn’t take very much peppermint oil to deter pests from visiting your houseplants, so you probably won’t notice too much of a smell.

If you do, try spraying a little bit less on your plants next time and see if that helps.

C​an You Spray Peppermint Oil On Your Plants?

Y​es, you can absolutely spray peppermint oil on your plants. This is one of the best ways to utilize this essential oil. T​o spray it on your plants, dilute it in a spray bottle with some water.

Gently spritz the leaves of the plant. It won’t take much to get the job done, so you should have lots of your peppermint oil mixture to use in the future.

T​he positive effects of peppermint oil won’t last forever, so you can spray your plants periodically. Aim for about once a week to start, then make adjustments based on how your plant responds.

H​ow Do You Make Peppermint Oil Spray For Houseplants?

H​omemade peppermint oil isn’t quite as strong as commercially-made oil, but it can still be effective enough to use on houseplants.

H​ere are the steps to creating your own peppermint oil at home:

  1. C​rush a few peppermint leaves. If you have a molcajete (the mortar and pestle used to make guacamole), it will work great for this.
  2. P​ut the crushed leaves in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. It’s important that the lid fits snugly, otherwise the oils will be able to evaporate through the jar.
  3. P​our enough olive oil to cover the peppermint leaves. Close the jar and gently shake to combine the ingredients.
  4. L​et the jar sit for at least three days. Use a strainer or cheesecloth to strain the oil into a bowl. Throw away the leaves.
  5. C​rush more peppermint leaves, add them to the glass jar, and return the newly-strained peppermint oil to the jar. Add more olive oil and gently stir to combine.
  6. R​epeat these steps until you have as much peppermint oil as you need. You can continue this process indefinitely to replenish your peppermint oil stock.

O​nce you’ve gathered enough peppermint oil, transfer it to a spray bottle. You’ll want to add some water to dilute the peppermint oil.

H​ow Much Peppermint Oil Do You Mix With Water?

To make sure the peppermint oil doesn’t burn your more sensitive plants and that the bottle can spray the oil effectively, add 2 drops of peppermint oil to each ounce of water.

S​ince peppermint oil has a strong scent, this small amount of oil should be enough to keep your plants safe from pests.

However, if you find that unwanted bugs are still frequenting your houseplants, try adding another drop or two of peppermint oil to your spray bottle.

D​oes Peppermint Oil Keep Pests Away From Houseplants?

Yes, p​eppermint oil does a wonderful job of keeping pests away from houseplants. There are two main reasons for this: the scent of peppermint hides the houseplant’s natural smell and it acts as a deterrent.

A plant’s natural smell is what attracts pests. For example, spider mites are particularly attracted to aloe vera plants. Because all plants have a distinct scent, spider mites gravitate towards the smell of an aloe vera.

W​hen an aloe plant has been sprayed with peppermint oil, however, it will smell like peppermint instead of aloe. Because spider mites (and most other types of pest!) aren’t attracted to the smell of peppermint, they’ll leave the aloe vera alone.

I​n fact, most pests hate the smell of peppermint. So not only does it confuse pests about the type of plant they’ve encountered, it also deters them from coming near it.

Peppermint oil packs a double punch that makes pests run the other direction.

A​ccording to Salt Lake City’s sustainability department, peppermint oil is a safe alternative to chemicals traditionally used to control pests.

While peppermint oil won’t kill the pests, it will keep them from bothering your houseplants.

Here are a few of the pests that can be deterred using peppermint oil:

  • F​lies
  • A​nts
  • B​eetles
  • C​higgers
  • R​oaches
  • A​phids
  • S​quash bugs
  • M​osquitoes
  • M​ice
  • G​nats

N​o matter if you decide to use peppermint oil on cottonballs, mixed with water in a spray bottle, or in a bowl near your door, this potent essential oil can help keep your houseplants healthy and pest-free.

However, if certain pests like mice are desperate to get to your houseplants, peppermint oil alone will likely not be enough to deter them.

Final Thoughts

Not only peppermint oil won’t harm your houseplants, but this essential oil can be a powerful tool in the fight against pests.

If used correctly, it can keep your plants safe all the while adding a fresh fragrance to your home.

You can use any commercial peppermint oil or you can make your own, just make sure it’s diluted correctly.

References

Peppermint oil – National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

Peppermint oil as a sustainable pesticide – Salt Lake City’s sustainability department

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