Are there any natural substances I can use to keep insects from invading my gardenias? Aphids in particular love gardenias. Someone mentioned putting whole peppercorns on top of the soil around the plants to ward off insects. Is this ok, and what about mixing a solution of baking soda and water to spray on leaves? I have also noticed very small, but long and slim black insects in the flower itself. What are they, and how can I get rid of them?
Insects and Gardenias
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
The long insects sound like thrips. Here is an article on them:
I prefer neem for controlling all these kinds of insects. It is organic (made from the neem tree), harmless to people and pets and beneficial insects. Here is more information: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/pests/pesticides/neem-oil-uses.htm