Did you know that besides having many health benefits for humans, turmeric and curcumin have various uses for plants and gardening?
If not, stay tuned, because further along, we are going to expose several benefits of turmeric for plants.
This plant is mainly cultivated for its rhizomes (a modified, underground stem), containing a chemical called “curcumin.” This extract has a bright yellow natural color and is most commonly used as a food flavoring and coloring agent.
Turmeric has been grown in various regions of Asia for thousands of years and it is currently a very popular ingredient of the local cuisine.
While the rhizomes of this plant have been used since ancient times in India’s alternative medicine systems, only in recent years science has started to confirm the medicinal benefits of turmeric and curcumin.
Curcumin is the main active component in the rhizomes of turmeric. Besides other properties, this substance is a very potent antioxidant, has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective effects, and it is very beneficial in boosting the immune system.
However, turmeric is not only good for the human body. Our gardens can also take benefit from the properties of this fantastic plant.
Benefits Of Turmeric For Plants
If you are someone like me who grows a garden solely to produce fresher and healthier vegetables & fruits for me and my family, you probably want to keep chemicals out of your garden as much as possible.
Further, I will introduce you to some of the benefits of turmeric for plants and how you can use this plant for a healthier garden without using dangerous artificial substances.
1. Natural Pesticide
When it comes to gardening, pests are a huge issue.
According to an article posted on The National Center for Biotechnology Information:
Over 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used in the United State every year and roughly 5.6 billion pounds are used worldwide.
These large quantities of pesticides used in agriculture do not only affect the harmful insects, but also lead to pesticide poisonings in humans, kill the beneficial pollinating insects, contaminate groundwater, and so on.
If you garden only provides for you and your family, the best way to avoid pesticides is to find natural ways to protect your plants.
Besides various other plants that can be utilized as an organic pesticide, turmeric is also a natural repellent for several species of insects and bugs that like to devour your plants.
Ants seem to be particularly sensitive to turmeric’s strong odor. Hence, if you have an ant infestation, turmeric will help you eliminate these unwanted visitors from your garden.
Besides repelling ants, turmeric is also effective against cabbage looper larvae, cutworm larvae, beetles, mites, and other species of garden pests.
2. Natural Fungicide
In addition to the above, another significant problem that farmers face is represented by plant diseases caused by different fungal pathogens.
To save their crops, many choose to use all kinds of synthetic antifungal treatments. Unfortunately, just like pesticides, large-scale fungicides have a tremendous negative impact on the environment.
Fortunately, there are also natural fungicides that can be utilized for fighting against different plant-fungal diseases.
Besides fighting the harmful insects from your garden, turmeric also possesses natural antifungal and antibacterial properties (study). This means that with a single application, turmeric can protect your plants for both pests and fungal diseases.
Curcumin contained by turmeric can stop the fungal development and control fungal infections like powdery mildew, downy mildew, early blight, leaf blight, brown stem rot, and other plant fungal diseases.
3. Heal Plant Wounds
Another benefit of turmeric for plants is its healing attributes.
Plants can suffer wounds from different reasons. For instance, some of the most common plant wounds include animal damage, broken branches, insect attack, pruning, grafting, etc.
Similar to humans, open wounds in plants make them susceptible to different diseases and infections.
Due to its natural antiseptic and antibacterial properties, turmeric is also a natural remedy for plant wounds.
A solution of turmeric powder combined with water and applied to any plant open wound will act as a protective barrier against fungal diseases and harmful plant viruses and bacterias.
This turmeric treatment is commonly applied after pruning roses, tree grafting, and any other situations when the plant becomes exposed to external damaging factors.
You can also apply turmeric powder on the incision of the cuttings of the plant you want to propagate before inserting it into the potting mix.
Ways to use turmeric as pesticide and fungicide for plants
There are several different ways to prepare turmeric organic pesticide and fungicide. You can also purchase already prepared turmeric and curcumin solutions for plants if you do not have the time or the ingredients to make one yourself.
While the leaves of Curcuma longa also contain substances that can repel some insects, the most powerful ingredient lies in the rhizomes. Consequently, the most utilized extract for this purpose is the turmeric powder.
If you need a more potent pesticide, you can also mix turmeric with other ingredients or natural plant extracts known for their pest-repellent properties, such as neem oil, garlic, black pepper, mustard oil, etc.
Here are several ways to apply turmeric:
1. Mix turmeric powder with the soil
One of the most common ways some gardeners use turmeric is by mixing turmeric powder directly with the soil before transplanting the plants.
This approach has double benefits:
- Repel the unwanted insects
- Protect the roots of the plants against several types of fungal diseases
Ensure that you do not exaggerate with the amount of turmeric you add to the mix. Too much of this powder can have a negative effect on the plant and may reduce the quality of the soil. Try to use not more than 15-20 grams of turmeric powder to 12 quarts of soil.
2. Make a sprayable solution
Another way to apply turmeric powder in your garden is to make a sprayable solution that you’ll pulverize directly to the foliage of the plants.
Mix about 20 grams of turmeric powder with 1 liter of water, or around 80 grams to 1 gallon if you have more plants to spray.
Stir the solution for a few minutes until the powder is completely mixed with water. After that, the resulting liquid is ready for usage.
Use a garden sprayer and pulverize the solution directly on the leaves of the plants prone to fungal diseases and harmful insects. The best time of the day for using this mix is early in the morning or in the evening.
Reapply the foliage turmeric treatment once every two weeks.
A downside of this approach is the color of turmeric, which will produce temporary yellow stains on the surface of the leaves of the plants. That might not be very upsetting when applied in your garden, but might not be the best selection when used on flowers, interior pot plants, and landscaping shrubs.
3. Sprinkle the powder on the soil surface
If you haven’t mixed turmeric powder with the soil, you can still use this natural pesticide and fungicide by sprinkling the powder directly on the surface of the soil.
When you water the plants, the powder will gradually be absorbed by the soil and you’ll have to reapply the process from time to time.
Again, make sure you don’t add too much powder.
Curcuma longa is a plant with incredible properties that can be beneficial both medicine and in agriculture and gardening.
Because of the natural antifungal, antiseptic, and antibacterial substances discovered in turmeric, it can become a viable replacement for a list of synthetic pesticides and fungicides that are extremely harmful to the environment.
Now that you know more about the attributes and benefits of turmeric for plants and how to use it, it’s time to put this knowledge into practice.