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.
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.
Dear Dr. Kaviraj,
I live in Delhi- India. I have a small garden where I am trying to raise a BHEL tree. The leaves of this tree are offered to Shivaji for Shivratri pooja. The small plant was doing well but this winter it shed all the leaves and now only a tiny very thin trunk is left. I tried to revive it with Rescue Remedy – since there is no fungus etc., but I am afraid I am going to lose it. Please help. This is a HOLY plant and many people are getting upset!! I cannot use inorganic fertilizer.
VDK: Hi Ratina, I know the Bel fruit and the tree. Did you have a great cold spell in the winter with perhaps frost? If so, Aconite may be the remedy to save it. Also, use cow dung to fertilise it, but it must be old cow dung, because fresh dung will kill the tree. Old cow dung is 2 years old and has fermented in a heap. You can also use Phosphorus 6X and/or Kali phos 6X (not the tissue salt) to revive it.
These are my artichoke plants, with a weird leaf curl. The rose has shiny leaves with some stuff on it. Hope you can help! I always read your advice. Thanks a lot.
VDK: Cornelia, this looks like powdery mildew. You can use Silicea or Sulphur as a remedy. Both are good remedies to cure fungal diseases. However, they should not be used simultaneously. It is either/or and not and/and.
We love growing strawberries but they are often attacked by the Strawberry Bud Weavil. Is there an alternative to chemicals?
VDK: Hi Mary,
Friends are beans, borage, lettuce, onions, spinach and thyme. Foes: Cabbage. Allies: Borage strengthens resistance to insects and disease. Thyme, as a border, deters worms. So my idea is to use Phaseolus or Allium cepa as a remedy. And make sure you do not grow Cabbages or the cabbage family near them. That includes broccoli and cauliflower.
We have a large cucumber patch which is invaded by sqaush bugs. What to do?
VDK : Hi Armand,
Companions to cucmbers: Corn, icicle radishes, melon and pumpkin. Helpers: Borage deters worms, improves growth and flavor. Marigolds deter beetles. Nasturtium deters squash bugs and beetles. Oregano provides general pest protection. Incompatible with: Irish Potato
So the remedies that come to mind are Calendula or Tagetus and of course Nasturtium. Origanum is another remedy that can be used.
Dear Dr. Kaviraj,
Thousands of ants are colonizing on my thyme and rosemary pots. Is there a non-toxic solution?
VDK: Hi Hermione,
Ants do not like the smell of Marigolds. Of course this is not of much use in pot plants. However, Mentha piperita and Calendula are both remedies that can be used to deter ants. Also Tagetus. And if you grow some mint with your aromatic herbs, you will increase their smell, taste and essential oil content.
Dr. Plant Doctor,
I grew wonderful tomatoes last year, but just as they began to turn red, they turned black at the bottom and spoiled. I don’t want to repeat that. Any ideas?
VDK : Hi Alexandra,
Tomatoes love Basil, in the kitchen as well as in the garden. Ocymum basilicum is the remedy to use. What your tomatoes suffer from is blossom-end rot. Silicea is also a remedy to use, but that is more useful to soak the seeds before planting them.
Dear plant doctor
We are facing a very severe problem with sucking pests in cucumber and melon crops.
It is a small red pest and can fly plant to plant. This creature is sucking the leaves and smashing the entire crop. Please suggest some remedy for this problem.
VDK : Hi Balreddy,
This sounds like the aphid. Coccinella is the remedy for that. Apply to the roots of all plants and they will disappear in about 24 hours. Also use Ricinus communis, if Coccinella won’t do the trick.
I’ve been practising Homoeopathy for 19 years. I have a patient who is an agriculturist and believes in using natural concepts for growing plants. He wants to avoid pesticides as far as possible. He wants to know whether Homoeopathy has weedicide to kill weeds, so that only regular crop grows without wasting land and energy for the regular crop.
VDK : Dear Dr Girish,
In homoeopathy we have nothing that kills. However, we do have a remedy that will suppress the weeds for a considerable time. It also inhibits the seeds from germinating. It is called Juglans Nigra.
In order to use this, it must be applied thinly to existing weeds, which will then stop growing any further. Three days later, plant the crop. This safety is necessary for the remedy to completely be absorbed by other seeds and be destroyed by UV light, insofar as it remains above-ground. It will be safe to plant other plants 72 hours after application. The weeds will remain suppressed for up to 7 months.