I was told that cayenne pepper is a good option to keep cats away from my plants. But I was afraid the heat would burn my plants. I did some research and found out if cayenne pepper is harmful or not.

No, cayenne pepper will not hurt plants because they are immune to cayenne pepper. You can use the cayenne pepper to deter animals and pests from eating your plants. Sprinkle the cayenne pepper on and around the plants to do this.

I’ve researched ways on how to use the cayenne pepper on your plants and if there are any alternatives. You can find all of the information if you keep reading below.

Does Cayenne Pepper Help Plants?

Cayenne pepper is non-toxic to your plants. It’s mostly beneficial as a repellent to keep animals and some insects away from your plants.

You can use cayenne pepper spray to get rid of animals and pests that may be digging up your plants at night.

The main ingredient in cayenne peppers is capsaicin that irritates the skin and taste buds of animals. Furry critters, like squirrels, rabbits, and deer don’t appreciate the spicy hot flavor of cayenne peppers, so they’re less apt to dine on your plants after taking a taste.

It is also found to be toxic to some insects like spider mites and lace bugs as it damages their nervous system.

List Of Pests That Cayenne Pepper Repels

Cayenne pepper can keep animals and pests away from your garden plants. Here are some of the common garden pests that you may find it helpful against.

  • Rabbits
  • Squirrels
  • Deer
  • Voles
  • Raccoons
  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Skunk
  • Spider Mites
  • Millipedes

How Do I Use Cayenne Peppers on Plants?

You can use the cayenne pepper in different ways on the plants depending on what you need. You can make a spray using the cayenne pepper or sprinkle the powder on plants. Rain will wash away the cayenne pepper so it’s best to apply after rains.

Make a Cayenne Pepper Spray For Plants

The best way to use cayenne pepper to deter animals is to make a spray and apply it to your plants.

To make the spray you can either use fresh cayenne peppers from your garden or store. Or you can use the pepper flakes you may have bought. I’ve written a post that will help you grow some hot and spicy peppers in your garden.

  • Take 1 gallon of water and 2 tablespoons of the chopped up cayenne pepper or flakes in a cooking pan.
  • Heat the mixture on a high-medium heat till it starts boiling. Then lower the heat to medium and let it simmer for a while.
  • Make sure to keep your face away from the steam that may arise during this cooking process. Otherwise, you can get some serious irritation on your face, nose, and throat.
  • Once the mixture has cooked for about 15 minutes, you need to close the heat. Let it stay in the pan for 24 hours.
  • This will give the mixture the most potency when used as a spray to deter pests and animals.
  • After 24 hours, you can use a sieve to remove the pepper pieces or flakes from the mixture. You just need the liquid that has the full-strength of the cayenne pepper.
  • Mix 2 teaspoons of biodegradable vegetable oil into this mixture. This oil will help the cayenne pepper mixture to stick to the plants without harming them.
  • You can fill the strained mixture in a spray bottle for use in your garden. The cayenne pepper spray will last you 2-3 months before it loses its potency.
spray bottle
Spray bottle I use to water or spray neem oil

Before using this spray, put it on a few leaves and let it stay for a few hours. If the leaves don’t suffer from any negative effects, you can continue using the spray on the entire plant.

Spraying Cayenne Pepper On Plants

To use the cayenne spray you created, you need to spray it on all the parts of the plants that are been attacked by pests and animals.

It’s best to apply this spray in the morning after you have watered the plants. You don’t want to apply it in the afternoon as the heat from the sun will bake this mixture and harm the leaves.

The effect of the spray will last you a few days and then you need to reapply. If it rains in your garden, the spray will get washed away and you need to reapply immediately.

If you’re spraying the cayenne pepper on your vegetable plants, make sure to wash the leaves or vegetables well after the harvest. Otherwise, you’ll get an unwanted spicy flavor from the vegetables.

Create a Cayenne Pepper Barrier

If you want to deter insects from crawling up to your plant, a cayenne pepper barrier is something to consider.

You can sprinkle the cayenne pepper powder around the edges of your garden, individual plants, or flowerpots.

This keeps the insects away because the cayenne pepper is toxic or abrasive to some of them.

Tip: you can use cayenne pepper with diatomaceous earth for an effective organic insecticide.

Chili peppers harvested from my container garden

Burn Cayenne Pepper to Create Smoke

Cayenne pepper acts as an irritant when it’s burnt. You can use this property of the cayenne pepper to remove pests from your garden.

You can burn one ounce of powdered pepper near the plants with pest problems. This will either kill the pests or drive them away from the plants.

Make sure to keep children and pets away from the cayenne pepper in garden when you’re using this method. It can really irritate their eyes and nose.

Is Cayenne Pepper Toxic to Dogs?

Cayenne pepper is not toxic to dogs and other animals like cats, rabbits, and squirrels. It will irritate their nose, throat, and skin if they come in contact with the pepper.

That’s why a cayenne pepper spray or powder can be used to deter such animals from damaging the plants in your garden.

You can find other methods to keep your pets away from the garden. I’ve written a post that shows simple and easy methods you can use for this purpose.

Will Cayenne Pepper Hurt Earthworms?

Cayenne pepper can hurt earthworms because it burns their skin and membranes just like in humans.

You can use the cayenne pepper powder or spray to get rid of insects from the plants. And to prevent insects from crawling into the plants.

But you should not add the cayenne pepper to your compost pile or worm bin for the same reason. It will deter or kill the beneficial organisms present in the compost.

What Can I Use in Place of Cayenne Pepper?

Cayenne peppers are a wonderful, natural option for repelling insects and animals in your garden. It’s especially convenient if you can grow your own cayenne pepper plants.

Using cayenne peppers may not work for every gardener, especially if you have pets or young children. Using cayenne pepper liberally in a garden may be problematic for young children and dogs because it can be an irritant.

Children can get the cayenne pepper on their skin or in their eyes and have a reaction. Dogs can get sick if they get too close to the cayenne pepper.

Fortunately, there are plenty of natural alternatives that you can make in the comfort of your home. If using cayenne pepper isn’t right for your garden, try one of these alternatives to keep those pests at bay.

Can I Sprinkle Cayenne Pepper On Plants?

You can sprinkle cayenne pepper on plants to keep some insect and animal pests away. It works well with rabbits, squirrels, racoons, and spider mites. I would recommend mixing it with diatomaceous earth that will help keep even more pests away from your plants.

Will Cayenne Pepper Hurt Flowers?

No, cayenne pepper won’t hurt flowers because it has no effect on them similar to the leaves. But I would prefer not to spray or sprinkle it on flowers because bees might not prefer it. We need bees for successful pollination in the garden so we don’t want to do something that drives them away.

Cayenne Pepper On Potted Plants

You can get the same benefits of using cayenne pepper on potted plants. Use it as a spray or powder to keep some insects and animals away from your potted plants. You may consider it to keep dogs and cats away from messing in your plants. Some people think it’s cruel to use because it can irritate the animals. So whether to use it or not is a choice you need to make.

Does Cayenne Pepper Hurt Soil?

Cayenne pepper does not hurt soil because it’s organic matter. However, a lot of cayenne pepper will hurt beneficial organisms in the soil such as earthworms which we don’t want. So I would suggest avoid using too much cayenne pepper directly on the soil.

Some Other Pepper Powders

Chili Powder

Chili powder will not hurt plants because there is no effect of chili on other plants. It can be used to keep some animals and pests away from plants. The difference of chili powder from cayenne pepper powder is that it can be a blend of different red chilis that may include cayenne peppers.

Red Pepper Flakes

Red pepper flakes will not hurt plants because it does not have chemicals toxic to plants. You can use red pepper flakes like the pepper powder to keep pests and animals away from plants.

Black Pepper

Pepper is a natural antibacterial agent for plants. So you can use it on plants and soil to prevent certain pests and diseases. It can repel animals such as groundhogs, cats, dogs, and squirrels away from plants.

You can add pepper to plants by sprinkling it on top of the soil near the base of the plant. You can also sprinkle it on the foliage if you find some pests on it.


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