Cinnamon is a wonderful spice. It adds flavor to both savory and sweet dishes, was once used as a love potion, and was a perfume for the wealthy of Rome. But did you know that cinnamon is great for your garden?
There are two types of cinnamon. Ceylon is a buff-colored cinnamon and is mildly sweet. Cassia is the cinnamon sold as “cinnamon” in many countries, including the United States. It is brown in color. Both are harvested from the inner bark of a tropical evergreen tree. Cinnamon oil comes from the pods of the cinnamon tree and is used both as a flavoring and medicinally.
The spice is nutritious for you and it’s also very good for plants. Here are some of the ways you can use cinnamon in the garden.
- Save your seedlings! Cinnamon is a proven to kill fungus. This means that your delicate seedlings can be saved from an array of plant diseases. These diseases, collectively known as “dampening off” can be prevented by dusting your soil with cinnamon.
- Grow some roots! Rooting hormones stimulate root growth, obviously. But cinnamon is the best root hormone you can use. Instead of using chemical root hormones just apply some cinnamon powder to the cut stems of plants when you plant them to stimulate the growth of roots.
- Make ants march away! Ants are a problem in my garden. They seem to think I plant solely for their benefit. Sprinkling a little cinnamon around my plants kills these voracious little insects and it keeps them away for quite a while. If you have ants in the house you can sprinkle cinnamon around the entrances and the ants will head for the hills!
- Axe the aphids! Mix 8 teaspoons of cinnamon oil with 1 gallon of water and spray plants afflicted with aphids. First spray the plants with water to knock off as many aphids as possible. Then using a pump sprayer, use the cinnamon oil/water mixture to spray the stems and leaves of the plants. Be sure to get little crevices on the stems or in the bark (if the plant has bark) where aphids lay their eggs. Be sure to spray the soil where the aphids have fallen. Do not use a heavier concentration of cinnamon oil to water as cinnamon oil is hot and can burn the plants! Repeat every two weeks as needed.
- Give your injured plants emergency care! I fell in the garden yesterday. In addition to hurting myself I wounded a bean plant. It may take a while for me to feel better but brushing the plant with cinnamon will help it heal faster and prevent infection. Yep. Plants get infections, too and cinnamon can help prevent a wounded plant from falling ill.
- Say goodbye to the mushrooms you don’t want! This year has been unusually dry but in wet times I get unwanted mushrooms sprouting in the garden. By dusting the garden with cinnamon in the wet spring weather mushrooms and weeds vanish.
- Take care of your indoor plants, too! Mold, mildew, and gnats can all be a problem for house plants but cinnamon can save them. Just sprinkle some cinnamon on the soil and plants will thrive. It works great for seedlings that you start indoors as well.
- Keep bugs out of the sandbox! Although this isn’t actually a garden application you definitely want to keep bugs out of the kids’ sandbox. Just mix some cinnamon into the sand and bugs will stay away!
- Get rid of mosquito larvae! Mosquitoes lay eggs in any standing water they can find. Kill the larvae by pouring a little cinnamon oil into any standing water. The larvae won’t stand a chance!
- Save yourself! Cinnamon oil applied topically is a great mosquito deterrent. So, when you’re working in the garden lightly apply some to your exposed skin and keep those little vampires away!