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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.

Will cayenne pepper burn my plants? Cayenne pepper will not burn your plants. It only deters animals that would attempt to go near the plants or eat them. Cayenne pepper also acts as a natural insecticide and protects your plants from pests like spider mites and lace bugs.

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.

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. Keep in mind that regardless of the method you choose, you’ll have to reapply after it rains.

Make a Cayenne Pepper Spray

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.

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 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.

Here are some of my favorite container gardening tools

Thank you for reading this post. I hope it helps you with your gardening needs. I’ve listed some tools below that can help you with container gardening. These are affiliate links so I’ll earn a commission if you use them.

Gardening Gloves – I find the Pine Tree Tools Bamboo Gardening Gloves really good for both men and women. It’s made from bamboo so helps absorb perspiration. They are also comfortable and fit very well.

Containers – You know picking the right container is crucial for your container gardening. I’ve written a detailed post on the best containers you can choose from. If you’re happy with a plastic container, you can check out the Bloem Saturn Planter.

Watering Can – This is a must-have tool when you’re growing plants in pots or grow bags. It helps to water the potting soil without splashing on the foliage. The Kensington Watering Can is stylish, strong, and can provide precision when watering potted plants.

TrowelGarden Guru Trowel is my favorite because it’s durable and comfortable to use. My gardening friends really love having a trowel because they use it for digging soil, mixing fertilizer, moving seeds, leveling out the soil, mixing compost or mulch, and also dividing tubers

Bypass Pruner – I really like the Corona Bypass Pruner because it’s durable and gives a clean cut that helps plants recover faster. If you’re looking for something cheap, get the Fiskars Bypass Pruner that is really good as well.

To see an extensive list of the best container gardening tools gardeners recommend, check out this resource that I made for you.