Homeopathic remedies for plants
by Dannette Hunnel —
It is autumn in Arizona, probably the most exciting time of the year for the Southwestern gardener. Phoenix favorites include mums, snapdragons, petunias, pansies, marigolds, geraniums and more. Once they are established, we know we can enjoy the beauty of our plantings well into late spring. How fortunate we desert dwellers are.
That being said, this is a most appropriate time to introduce the art of agrohomeopathy, an offshoot of homeopathy, in which chemical-free, nontoxic remedies are used to enhance the growth and health of plants. Just as we prescribe these remedies to humans and animals to strengthen them from the inside out and help with resistance to disease, in the case of plants, these remedies help with their resistance to pests.
While there are many good remedies to use, the four that work best in our region are silica, aconite, coccinella and helix tosta.
Silica is a popular prescribed remedy derived from quartz or flint and is a mineral present in the earth’s crust, human cartilage and bones. Silica is commonly used to help with brittle, breaking nails and hair on humans, but it also works well in strengthening fibers in vines, stems and plant leaves. Additionally, silica is used to help with the better absorption of nutrients, a necessity for all living things and is commonly recommended to people and pets for exhaustion and vulnerability to viruses or infection. Plants, too, can become stressed and more susceptible to fungus and infections.
Aconite is used for all living things in the treatment of shock. This is especially helpful for plants experiencing transplant shock, severe weather shock or after a long dry spell.
Coccinella (coccinella septempunctata) is used for aphid control, a common problem for Arizona plants. Coccinella is the homeopathic remedy made from the ladybird beetle (ladybug), a natural predator of the aphid. It deters or reduces aphid populations when applied as a homeopathic remedy, even though none of the insect remains within the remedy.
Good and prolonged results are usually obtained with just one dose — occasionally a second dose is required, but care should be taken not to apply it more often than is needed. Simply add a few pellets to water, then shake well and spray topically.
Helix tosta is the remedy to rely on for slugs or snails living in your garden. The efficacy of helix tosta was proven within the last three years by the American College of Homeopathy in Phoenix. The remedy is derived from scrapings of snail shell and is an effective nontoxic repellant for snails in your garden.
Many people question the use of homeopathic remedies in the garden. The typical question is, “If a plant is lacking in a mineral, why would you not just add the mineral?” This is a valid question, and here is my response. It is not always easy to decipher which minerals a plant needs without professional consultation and fees, which can be costly. Often, the pure mineral is not readily available or can be quite expensive. Also, too much of an added substance can result in toxicity or “burn,” which can ruin the plant completely.
Using homeopathic remedies gently helps build up the plant’s basic structure, giving it optimal health while reducing susceptibility. The application of these products has been used to reduce transplant shock; strengthen weak and spindly plants; increase vigor and resistance to pests, molds and mildew; aid in water retention in plants growing in arid soils; and stimulate flower growth, both in number and size.
To apply, add five pellets of a 6x potency in a bottle of water and shake vigorously. The mixture should then be added to additional water, as in a typical watering can, and applied to the area in question.
Store pills and liquids away from light, moisture and high temperatures. Mobile phone and microwave oven emissions have been shown to negatively affect homeopathic remedies, so keep your pills and liquids away from them.
As a flower/herb gardener, I say: “Adding a homeopathic remedy to my planters? Well, it certainly could not hurt!” If you love your garden, why not give it a try? Enjoy autumn.
Dannette Hunnel is a Phoenix author, homeopath and gardener. dannettehunnel.com and thehomeopathicompany.com.
Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 33, Number 5, October/November 2014.