How To Use Chrysanthemums As Pest Control

This post is sponsored by Central Garden & Pet, but all opinions are my own (as always). Please see below for additional disclosure.

I woke up one morning, walked outside and wanted to cry. The once-gorgeous landscaping in our backyard looked looked droopy, full of weeds and just downright pathetic. That’s what happens when things get busy and you stop directing the gardener.

The upshot is that our yard is generally pest-free thanks to regular organic pest control.  The mix changes by the season, but I do know they sometimes use a chrysanthemum extract, pyrethrin. I’m about to spend some serious dough fixing things up around here so am incentivized to keep the yard naturally healthy and pest-free.

What Is Pyrethrin?

Here’s where it gets mildly confusing, depending on what you read. The gist is that pyrethrin is derived from dried chrysanthemum flowers, specifically from Chrysanthemum cinerariifoliumThese chrysanthemums look more like standard daisies than ornate China mums.

How Does It Work?

Pyrethrin is quickly becoming the pest control of choice because it’s biodegradable and breaks down with exposure to light and oxygen. It’s a natural neurotoxin that attacks the nervous system of all insects. Interesting tidbit: Kenya produces the most potent chrysanthemums and most of the world’s supply of pyrethrin.

How To Buy It

Chrysanthemum Pest control Pyrethrins

I was sent a bottle of GardenTech® Worry Free® Brand Insecticides that was meant to be hooked up to the hose and sprayed. It’s basically that easy (don’t spray when it’s windy and start from the back, moving toward the front as not to over-spray an area), however, my white fly issue is not a big one so, for me, this was a bit too much. They do sell it in a dust or spray bottle, which is more my speed. But, if you do have a widespread pest outbreak, the hose attachment would save some serious time.

About GardenTech® Worry Free® Brand Insecticides:

  • With a special formulation that contains pyrethrins, a botanical insecticide naturally-derived from chrysanthemum flowers, GardenTech® Worry Free® Brand Insecticides are ideally suited to protect fruits, vegetables and ornamentals.
  • This line of specialized insecticides provide fast-acting, effective control of more than 250 crawling and flying insects, including ants, caterpillars, mites and Japanese beetles.
  • Worry Free® Insecticides can be applied throughout the growing season, including right up until the day before harvest to kill “last minute” vegetable garden pests. Initial application should occur at the first sign of insect infestation, preferably before extensive damage and feeding has taken place. The GardenTech® Worry Free® line even kills insect eggs during the dormant stage.
  • Note that the product is not labeled organic but the active ingredient is from a natural source.

For the record, I don’t allow any pest control sprays, even organic or natural ones, near my vegetable garden. I just haven’t had the need, but they do say you can do it. Do your research.

Use Chrysanthemums As Companion Plants

Many gardeners use chrysanthemums as companion plants to repel aphids, leafhoppers, spider mites, harlequin bugs, ticks, pickleworms, root nematodes and imported cabbage worms and other pests. I have been able to grow them in my yard with a mild degree of success (and neglect). At the very least, they are pretty and you can make easy chrysanthemum flower arrangements with the small ones!

Disclosure Statement: Central Garden & Pet partnered with bloggers such as me to help educate us all about their products. As part of this program, I received compensation. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about the use of the products. Central Garden & Pet believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Central Garden & Pet’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

Top photo credit: Vulkano Uwe Horst Friese , Bremerhaven (Own work) GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Sources: Wikipedia, Pyrethrun

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1 Comment

  1. Steve
    May 9, 2015 at 3:53 pm — Reply

    I enjoyed the article and wonder if it works on fleas?

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