While essential oils relieve stress, improve our mood and help us sleep better, it is also possible they affect plants. How we use a diffuser determines whether a plant receives the benefits of essential oils or is suffocated by them.
Diffusers can positively and negatively affect plants depending on the usage and essential oil content. Directing the diffuser outlet towards the plant, using concentrated essential oils, or oils that contain synthetic components can kill plants. However, diffusing essential oils such as peppermint, thyme, eucalyptus, clove, basil oil, and lavender can encourage plant growth and deter plant pests.
In this article, we’ll discuss how diffusers affect plants, types of diffusers, various essential oils that are beneficial for plants, and highlight the best diffusers best for plants.
How Diffusers Affect Plants
Essential oils are natural plant material derivatives that are biodegradable, easy to extract, and don’t persist in the soil or water. They are a complex mixture of components that act together within plants, making them less likely to develop insect resistance than chemical pesticides (which are typically based on a single product).
There is absolutely no chance that using a high-quality diffuser and natural essential oils would harm your plants. However, a mist of essential oils directed toward plants can affect plants negatively.
Benefits of Essential Oils to Plants
Plants can benefit from essential oils in many ways even though they don’t provide any nutritional value to the plant. Certain essential oils:
- Give plants unique scents that attract pollinators.
- Can serve as natural pesticides to keep pests at bay.
- Exhibit antifungal properties.
- Are known to promote plant growth.
How do Diffusers work?
These essential oils are best emitted into the air by electronic diffusers. However, different types of diffusers disperse oil differently. There are three main types of diffusers:
- Ultrasonic diffuser
- Evaporative diffuser
- Nebulising diffusers
Ultrasonic diffusers disperse essential oils through the vibration of a plate that produces ultrasonic waves that split oils into microscopic droplets scattered into the air. Usually, these diffusers contain a water tank in which drops of essential oils are added, and ultrasonic waves lead to a mist that scents the air.
Evaporative essential oil diffusers use a fan to dispense tiny droplets of essential oils into the air.
Nebulizing diffusers don’t require heat or water and split essential oils into atoms, dispersing the purest form of essential oils. These diffusers often use a greater quantity of oil than the other two types.
Best Essential Oils to be Diffused Around Plants
Some essential oils are superior to others in terms of their effect on plants. These are the essential oils that have a great positive effect on plants:
Eucalyptus essential oils possess a broad spectrum of desirable properties for plant growth. They are non-toxic to humans and perfect for pest management.
In fact, studies have demonstrated that eucalyptus essential oils protect plants against mold, wood rot, fungi, and mildew. When dispensed near plants, eucalyptus essential oils show species-specific toxicity in managing weeds.
A downside of using eucalyptus essential oil for plants is its characteristics can vary by species, climate, season, and even plant age. Eucalyptus oils are also not efficient at controlling weeds or pests that dwell in soil because they are insoluble in water.
Lavender essential oils can affect the root growth of a plant. Lavender also possesses antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Research demonstrates it can be effective against weeds even when applied in low concentration. These oils can also serve as an insecticide effective against flies, fleas, mosquitos, and spiders.
Peppermint essential oils stimulate plant growth. They have a herbicidal action as they prevent seed and early seedling germination of various herbs.
These essential oils have antimicrobial properties and are highly effective in controlling fungus growth. They can also repel insects like flies, mosquito larvae, aphids, spiders, snails, and slugs.
Lemongrass essential oils stimulate plant growth and serve as an insect repellent. They are effective antibacterial agents and can protect plants against microbes that cause diseases.
Frankincense essential oil works well with almost all plants. You can also replace frankincense with geranium if you don’t like its smell, as both work in the same way.
Lemon works as an insect repellant for plants. Studies have shown it is particularly effective against Vine Mealybug.
Basil essential oil promotes plant growth and shields them from fungus and insects.
Thyme essential oils have bactericidal, fungicidal, and insecticidal actions.
Plentiful Air has more detailed information on antibacterial and antifungal essential oils available here.
Rosemary is a powerful insecticide that kills pests and attracts pollinators. They are also reported to have a herbicidal effect.
10. Tea tree
Tea tree prevents fungal diseases and destroys insects. This non-toxic oil exhibits antimicrobial properties with the potential to protect plants against microbes.
Clove essential oils are highly effective in controlling a number of weeds. They can repel various insects, including aphids, ants, and wasps.
Are there any Negative Impacts of Essential Oils on Plants?
Applying too much essential oils is adverse for plants because they can build up as a thick layer on their surface, obstructing airflow and sunlight. Without air or sunlight, photosynthesis cannot occur, and plants wilt and die.
Take particular care to avoid using essential oil diffusers near edible plants and vegetables. This is because the scents of essential oils may overpower the sensory qualities of edible plants, fruits and vegetables. If you have to use essential oils, make sure to use the ones that adequately match the type of fruits or vegetable.
Can Diffusing Essential Oils Kill Plants?
Diffusing essential oils will not kill pants unless the essential oils are concentrated, contain synthetic components. The key to safely using essential oils for plants is to keep their scents at a minimum and avoid positioning the diffuser too close to plants in order to prevent direct misting on plant.
Use distilled water to dilute essential oils in appropriate concentrations to harness their maximum benefits, from antifungal to growth stimulating and bioherbicidal properties.
It is better to use one essential oil at a time to avoid damaging the plant unknowingly.
Can you Use a Diffuser as a Humidifier for Plants?
A diffuser cannot be used as a humidifier for plants. Of the three types of diffusers, ultrasonic is the only diffuser to disperse water droplet with essential oils. The amount of water dispersed is not enough to influence the relative humidity of a room and will not influence a plant’s moisture requirements.
Using a diffuser as a humidifier is not an option to fulfil the water needs of a plant.
Best Diffusers to Use Around Plants
High-quality essential oils and diffusers are crucial to using essential oils around plants safely.
Here are a few best essential oil diffusers that are safe for plants. You can click each to check the availability and latest prices on Amazon or the brand’s website.
1. PureSpa Natural Essential Oil Diffuser
The PureSpa Natural from Pure Enrichment uses cutting-edge ultrasonic technology to disperse essential oils and transform the air around your plants to stimulate their growth. This compact and stylish diffuser runs from 8 to 10 hours, covering large areas of around 250 sq. ft.
This powerful diffuser has an auto shut-off feature,200ml water tank capacity, multi-colored LED lights, whisper quiet operation, and 2 years warranty.
This diffuser can gently disperse an essential oil and water mixture into the air, helping to lightly moisturize your plants.
2. HoMedics Ultrasonic Aroma Diffuser
The HoMedics ultrasonic essential oil diffuser can create a blissful environment around your plants. This powerful diffuser has a 6.5-hour continuous and a 13-hour intermittent runtime.
Other prominent features include a clean and sophisticated design, 140ml water tank capacity, and low noise operation. It comes with a 2-pack essential oil starter kit.
3. Pure Enrichment Essence Aromatherapy Oil Diffuser
Pure Enrichment’s PureSpa Essence Aromatherapy Oil Diffuser is one of the best diffusers to be used around plants. With its ultrasonic wave technology, it can freshen the air and efficiently disperse cool mist covering a medium sizes space (up to 160 sq. ft).
Additional features include elegant design, seven colored LED lights, silent operation, auto-off timer, 100ml water tank capacity, and a 5-years warranty.
For best effect, add all natural plant-safe essential oils (free of any synthetic ingredients) and put the diffuser near your plant.