Each month V.D. Kaviraj answers questions about plants and plant problems. Kaviraj is one of the foremost pioneers of Agro-homeopathy and author of the book, Homeopathy for Farm and Garden.
The completely revised and enlarged edition with an additional 176 pages is now available:
Send your questions! (with pictures when possible -JPG or GIF format) to email@example.com with the subject “Plant Doctor”.
Note: When I refer to treating plants with homeopathic remedies, this is the standard dosing procedure: Put 20 drops of a 6X potency in a litre of water. Succuss the bottle 50 times. Put this litre in the watering can, fill it up with 19 litres of tap water and stir. If the watering can is smaller, the amount of remedy put in must be proportionally smaller. Thus a 10 litre can needs only ½ litre and just 10 drops of the remedy. Apply the contents of the watering can to the roots of the plants to be treated.
I have a beautiful row of cucumbers but there are huge amounts of pill bugs there too and they are eating the stems of the cucumber plants down near the ground. If they are not stopped they will kill the plants. What can I do to get rid of them?
Kaviraj: Hi Chris, those pillbugs can be gotten rid of by the same critter causing the probem. That is, the remedy Porcellio, made by www.considera.co.uk or by www.narayana-verlag.de is made from the pillbug and will stop them eating your seedlings and plants when applied to the roots.
I have an organic farmer looking for a solution to weevils in his silo. I was thinking of Ruta, but you have other options in your book, at least for the plants themselves. The grain is cereal – barley and wheat. Currently he is using carbon dioxide gas. What would be the best remedy and how should it be applied?
Madeleine Innocent -Homeopath
Kaviraj: Hi Madeleine,
In a silo it is a little difficult, since you cannot apply a liquid remedy there, because of the risk of rot. My best advice is to use Ledum in a dried or powder form. I do not know who, other than an herbalist that may be able to supply this herb in sufficient quantities, and the problem of application is another conundrum we have to solve. The only solution I can think of to avoid this, is to give a dose of Thuja just before harvesting, so the grains have some protection.
Every year our pomegranate plant is attacked by some fungal disease like:
1. leaf & fruit spot by Alternaria alternata
2. fungal blight of phytopthora sp
We are spraying a few allopathic drugs that are useless to control this problem.
Can you suggest a homeopathic medicine for spraying?
Kaviraj : Hi Sandeep,
The best remedy for fungal diseases is Silicea. Alternatively, Carbo veg and Sulphur can be tried if Silicea does not control the fungus. If the fungus is grey in appearance, the best remedy is Silicea, but some react very well to Carbo veg. Without photos it is a little difficult to diagnose and be specific about the remedy to use.
My name is Bruno and I’m from Brazil. In the last edition of Ask the Plant Doctor – June 2011, one of the questions was about “greening”, a disease caused by bacteria that affects citrus. I’m not sure if it’s right, but on Wikipedia it is referred to as Huanglongbing ().
Thank you so much!
Kaviraj: Hi Bruno,
It is of course always possible to pass on my email to a colleague, because two always know more than one and I cannot pretend to know everything. It would be nice to hear his take on the problem and what he proposes as the solution. I have no experience with this problem and it is the first time I hear about it.
Dear Dr. Kaviraj,
In my apple orchard in the Italian Alps, organic since 20 years ago, we never had insects that destroyed the farm. Many insects, many attacks, but pretty much equilibrated. Instead for the last couple of years, we’re invaded by an insect that destroys, generation after generation, all the plants. It’s called Leucoptera Scitella, leaf miner, that obviously doesn’t have any rivals. Also this year I’m trying with an isopathic of the insect. I’ve tried different dilutions – 4k – 7k – 30k – already on the first generation, but without any result.
In first generation, we also used the Neem, without any result. Only 10 years ago, this insect uses to do just some small damage and then disappear. It never did any devastation like these last years. The really hot weather of the latest years also allowed the insect to make many generations, so every time an always bigger damage. This insect is now also visible in the orchards cultivated with chemical products, and they can manage it, but with some difficulties. Do you have any suggestion to manage this insect?
Thanks in advance for taking the time to read this.
Kaviraj: Hi Caterina,
A leafminer insect can be controlled in 2 different ways. The first is Thuja and the other is Ledum palustre. These remedies can deal with such problems and my experience says that Thuja is the best of the two. I have used it for leafminers on several plants, and always with good results. You can also try the Ledum, which may be better on orchard trees. The best is to divide the affected plants in 2 groups, one of which receives one remedy and the other, the other remedy. Leave one tree untreated, so you know whether the remedies are working.
I am writing from Popayan Colombia where I own a farm. We do coffee cultivation and certified organic produce and good experience in a quality cup! In varieties such as caturra, Rust (fungus Hemileia Vastatix) has been one of the most difficult to combat pests. They attack due to the strong rainy season, and climate change is projected. I would like your recommendations including for controlling Broca (Hampei Hipothenemus insect) in the grain. Thanks for your input.
Maria Teresa Mejia Tobon
Kaviraj: Hi Maria,
Rust diseases can be controlled by either Belladonna if the rust is very dark red, or if of a brighter red colour, Aconite is indicated. On the other hand, if very yellow, Sulphur is indicated, while for some types of rust Ferrum phos may be the remedy. Since you have not provided any photos, it is hard to determine the correct remedy.
Dear Dr. Kaviraj
I want to know how homeopathy might help in storing rice grains naturally as they get lots of worms and other pests if kept without medicine sprays ..
Kaviraj: Hi Ashish,
For the answer to your problem, see my advice above to Madeleine, another questioner.
I live in the midwest, US and have leaf miners in my pepper plants. I have removed the infected leaves but wonder if there is something more I could do?
Thank you and I look forward to any input.
Kaviraj: Dear Amy
For the answer of how to get rid of leafminers, see the above post to Caterina from Italy.
Dear Dr. Kaviraj,
I have sweet peas on the balcony, and many of them, just before the blossom is fully open, seem to “break off” about 5 cm away from the blossom. They then hang limp, are cut off from the water supply and wither. Some of the same plant, are doing well. It doesn’t only happen in one plant, but various. Any idea? Thank you very much for your advice and commitment,
love from Portugal,
Kaviraj: Hi Tin,
You may use Carbo vegetabilis to eliminate this problem, or alternatively Silicea. The best is to use one remedy on some of the plants and the other on other plants, to see which works best. On the other hand, it may be wise to use the companion, which is Solanum tuberosum. This is a natural companion plant and provides some of the things the peas might be lacking.
Wishing you success!
Greetings Dr. Kaviraj,
I wish to thank you for the educational and detailed information you provide on plants. I have been studying homeopathy online, on my own and with a teacher for about a decade and I know I have only touched the surface. My husband and I grow large medicinal gardens for my herbal remedies, art and food. I have had much success with treating myself and animals. We live in Andalusia., Al, USA.
We are just about in the gulf of Mexico. Our soil is clay and sand and we use organic mulch and seaweeds etc. to enrich it. Most of my herbs do very well but the common garden sage does not. I have tried on several different locations and it does well for a few weeks and then shrivels and dies overnight turning limp .
It seems to die from the bottom up and the leaves do not turn brown or crispy but seem to just fold in upon themselves. One might they think they needed water, but that is not the case. I have enclosed a picture that I hope may be of some use.
I do not over or underwater and the soil is not too rich, nor too devoid of nutrients and is well drained. I do not see insects, worms etc, but I wonder if there may be a particular bacteria or virus that attacks this one plant. It gets ample sun and is partially shaded during the midday hot sun here .
Might you suggest a remedy to assist this particular plant back into balance. I humbly thank you in advance. If you have time and desire please visit my website below for your enjoyment.
Namaste – Patricia
Kaviraj: Namaste, Patricia.
You might have some success in applying Silicea or Carbo veg to the plants. To me it appears as if they are too weak to survive in the soil. It may also be useful to pull up a plant and inspect the roots. Some plants are susceptible to root-knot nematodes and this can also be the problem. To eliminate the nematodes – if present – use either Calendula, Cina or Staphysagria. I look forward to seeing pictures of plants that no longer have the problem.