Quassia: a Godsend for Gardeners
Introduction to Quassia
Quassia amara is a small tree that grows in the Amazon. This tree is native to Brazil, Peru, Venezuala, Columbia, Argentina, Guyana, and Suriname (I have never even heard of this country). I don't remember how Quassia ended up in my 500 World Flora Quest, but there she is. There is very little information about this tree, it should be explored further.
I had stumbled upon a tropical plant database and a fantastic write up about this amazing tree. The author was a Leslie Taylor. I linked the full write up below. I had been looking for traditional uses of various plants and I had found in this write up, just that.
The indigenous people's of the area use the leaves and wood of this tree to treat a variety of ailments, from malaria, measles, indigestion, parasites, and the list goes on. A cold maceration is prepared that kills both lice and nits. This trees wood also kills mosquitoes and their larvae and is used to combat malaria, a mosquito born illness.
Standing water attracts mosquitos........which means buckets of water for dogs, swimming pools, drip pans, and toad pools are all subject to mosquito infestation.....
I had to acquire this.......yesterday.......
Garden PestClick thumbnail to view full-size
What this means for the gardener.....
First of all.......Only 1% of bugs are a problem in the garden. The rest of them.....we want to keep. They are beneficial insects. Whatever you spray on your plants will affect the good bugs as well as the bad ones. Before spraying anything on any of your plants, remember that. Bees, lady bugs, praying mantis, spiders, roly poly's are all beneficial insects. What you spray affects them alongside the bad.
When you garden indoors.....you find that 1%........aphids, spider mites, scales, creepy flies............. eck!. Not only are they annoying, they damage or even kill your plants!.
So what's up with all the pesticides? A pesticide, is any substance intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, mitigating any pest. Various pests. Not just insects. But harmful organisms, including herbs, and fungus.
Pesticide: kills multiple insects and pests. Nature offers many plants to deter and kill, pests.
Insecticide: An insecticide is a pesticide that kills adult insects and their larvae. There are many natural insectides growing in nature. Anise, Cedar, Cinnamon, Tea Tree, Neem, Eucalyptus, Garlic, Onion, Tobacco, and Quassia are only a smidgen of insecticidal plants.
Pediculicide: Kills Lice! Nature also provides us with plants that do this. Anise, Coconut, Neem, Tea Tree and Quassia have been used historically to kill lice.
Larvicide: Kills an insects Larvae. Primarily, Mosquitoes. Nature offers us this as well. Allspice, Dill, and Quassia are the only ones I have found.
Quassia does all of the above......by itself.......
The importance of Quassia's abilities to kill all things that infect house plants is astronomical! This is a dream come true. If this works.......
Natures Other Insecticides
Nature offers us many options for natural insecticides and pest deterrents. Some are used as companion plants to keep select insects (or pests) from attacking crops, others are made into sprays to kill or thwart off offending insects. Some are relatively safe, others can be poisonous if ingested.
The best way to control insects is to not have insects to control. But that is not always the case. Sometimes it happens. In that case, it is best to choose the least toxic yet effective remedy possible.
Here is an overview of some of natures natural organic pesticides.....
Anise: for Lice
Cedar: fleas and flies, Cedar wood is used both in the garden and in high end construction for its ability to repel insects.
Cinnamon: cats and deer despise cinnamon and additionally is used as a natural fungicide.
Tea Tree: ticks, bed bugs, and Lice
Eucalyptus: repels flies. Is planted to dry up mosquito breeding grounds.
Garlic: an effective companion plant for roses to deter aphids but also employed in a spray
Onion: also an effective companion plant to deter aphids, borers, and rabbits.
Tobacco: leaves are steeped in water for an effective insect deterrent. Not recomended for plants intended for consumption.
Quassia: has been proven effective at killing all stages of insect development
Neem: effective against white flies, aphids, caterpillars, thrips, leaf miners, mealybugs, scale crawlers, and beatles
Anise: has been used to kill lice, Anise Oil is added to a fat or oil and applied to hair.
Coconut: oil is used to smother the lice, killing by suffocation.
Neem: is used similar to coconut oil and kills Lice
Tea Tree: added to shampoos to kill Lice
Quassia: a cold maceration is used to kill Lice and Nits
Allspice: contains larvicidal properties
Dill: dill has been used as a companion plant to deter carrot white fly. It's oil added to insecticides to kill larvae.
Quassia: has been shown to be effective against Larvae, primarily mosquito's
Over the last 27 years or so I have fought the battle of bugs from inside to outside. I have planted groundcovers to deter ants, used oils in corners to deter spiders, created organic sprays from garlic, onions, and cayenne, added oils, and made homemade soaps. If it's not one pest, it's another one. Until now, there has not been one product to do it all, safely.
QuassiaClick thumbnail to view full-size
And the testing began........
I dont like using chemicals. I swear I've tried every organic tip and trick known to man to avoid bugs in the first place.....however....
Spider mites are the biggest indoor problem. They kill your plant slowly by feeding on it from the undersides of leaves. They spin these nasty little webs which are easy to see. ......you watch as your plant slowly dries up and just dies, sometimes practically overnight! Spider Mites are EVIL!
Black Gnats are stupid little flies that live in the soil. They are more annoying than anything else, but a houseplant problem nonetheless. They are relatively easily controlled with a larvaecide........
Aphids have been complained about, although I have never personally experienced them indoors. Outside, however, they have attacked my beloved roses and I have seen them on my clients lupines.
There are other indoor pests on the list, mealy bugs, scale, root aphids, rust mites, and a few more. Quassia should stop them all.
Using Quassia is easy. Place two Tablespoons of wood chips in a mason jar, cover with cold water, and allow to stand 24 (minimum) hours. Strain off the water to a squirt bottle. Spray infected plants liberally. You can literally watch spider mites scurry and die......
Spray the plants soil well and those nasty soil creeps are stopped dead in their tracks. For an even more effective soil cleanse, water the infected plant with a Quassia maceration.
Don't throw those chips out....they can be used a few times. And when you think you've sapped them dry? Recycle them to your potting mixture.
Additional and Useful Information on Quassia
- Tropical Plant Database entry for: Amargo - Quassia amara
This free online Tropical Plant Database contains indepth information and documentation on Amargo - Quassia amara
Be responsible! If you choose to try Quassia in your home, purchase from reputable salespersons. Please do not encourage further destruction of our rainforests.
I hope you found this information as useful as I did. I can't say enough positive things about it. Quassia is my #1 go to for pest plant care.
Please feel free to leave comments below. Share your Quassia experience, thoughts, and insights.
As always, Happy Gardening!
© 2017 Kim French