Does cayenne pepper hurt plants? Plant lovers ask this question often! 

Here’s the truth.

Cayenne pepper, a type of capsicum, is used to flavor dishes. The red-colored vegetable is eight times hotter than red chilies.

This spiciness makes it a good candidate against garden adversaries ruining your hard work. You can either use it in liquid, powdered, or crushed form to prepare a repellent; all forms are equally effective. 

Now you may ask, “Will Cayenne Pepper hurt plants?”

The answer is NO! There are no known side effects of cayenne pepper. Cayenne pepper is non-toxic and won’t burn your plants.

It is, in fact, a natural insecticide and pesticide that repels pests like lace bugs and spider mites and keeps animals like squirrels from eating up edible parts of your plants. 

Cayenne-Pepper-plantWhat makes Cayenne Pepper Hot and Effective Against Animals?

Cayenne Pepper contains capsaicin, an active compound known to have some medicinal properties.

However, it is also a chemical irritant that causes a burning sensation on the mammalian tissues it comes in contact with. Since plant tissues are resilient, they remain safe.  

How to Use Cayenne Pepper to Prepare Animal Repellent 

Cayenne Pepper can be used in multiple ways to prepare a repellent. 

Method 1: Fresh Cayenne Pepper Spray

To prepare Cayenne Pepper spray, buy fresh Cayenne Pepper from the store or pick it from your garden (if grown).  


  • Add 1 gallon of water, and two tablespoons of Cayenne Pepper cut into small pieces in a cooking pan.
  • On a high-medium flame, allow it to come to the boiling point. Now lower the heat flame and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Switch off the flame. Let it stay in the pan for 24 hours. 
  • After a day of rest, use a sieve to strain the mixture. This removes pepper pieces and flakes. 
  • Add two tablespoons of vegetable oil to the mixture. Oil helps the mixture stick to the plants. 
  • Decant the mixture in a spray bottle to spray on your plants.

You can use this spray for 2-3 months. Post that; it loses its potency.

fresh-Cayenne-Pepper-plantsSome Tips:

  1. When the mixture starts boiling, stay away from the heat as the vapors can irritate your nose, throat, and eyes. 
  2. If fresh cayenne pepper is not readily available, you can use Cayenne powder or crushed flakes.  

Method 2: Cayenne Pepper Saucy Spray

Use hot Cayenne Pepper sauce. It is readily available in the market. The sauce dissolves quickly, and the mixture is ready in no time. 


  • Take hot sauce and water in a ratio of 1:10.
  •  Add approximately six drops of soap to it. Soap helps in imparting sticky nature to the solution.
  • Decant it into a spray bottle. The spray is ready to use on the plants.

Note: Do not over concentrate your solution. Your purpose is to drive the animals away without causing harm to them.

Also, spray only on the problematic areas visited frequently for desired results. 

How Often Should You Use Cayenne Pepper?

If you choose to sprinkle Cayenne Pepper powder on the plants, it may get washed away with the rains. Therefore, re-dust after every bout of rain or weekly.

But, if you witness high squirrel activity, dust it more often.

Cayenne-Pepper-cut-in-halfIf you use liquid spray, the reapplication need not be as frequent as in powdered form. In addition, the presence of oil will protect it from strong winds and light to moderate showers. 

Similarly, if you spritz saucy spray, the re-spritzing will require some time. 

Direct Application

You may also apply Cayenne Pepper in the powdered form directly:

  • Take a powdered Cayenne Pepper container.
  • Open the sift’s part with smaller holes.
  • Lightly dust the powder on the leaves closer to the ground level.

Make sure to cover the stems and the ground surrounding your plants. Use the same strategy with liquid spray or saucy spray. 

How to Make Cayenne Pepper Powder Last Longer on the Plants?

You can make the Cayenne Pepper Powder more sticky using the following tactics:

  • Take petroleum jelly. Buy if you don’t have it.
  • Take a scoop full of petroleum jelly in a bowl.
  • Add some powdered cayenne pepper to it.
  • Mix the two with a spoon.
  • Wear your gloves.
  • Now spread a thin layer of the mixture on the stems of the plants closer to the ground.

Cayenne-Pepper-powderThis application helps the dusted cayenne pepper to stay longer.

Effect of Cayenne Pepper on Different Animals and Insects


If you see your pet dog uprooting the plants, sprinkle some cayenne pepper around to keep it away.

Cayenne Pepper will not harm your dog. However, its eyes, nose, and throat may remain irritated for some time. 


Add two tablespoons of garlic powder to the liquid Cayenne Pepper spray you have prepared. Rest the solution for a day.

Then sprinkle it on the leaves, fruits, and vegetables. With this home hack, rabbits will stay away from your plants.

However, do not use crushed pepper; it may enter the nose and whiskers of the burrowing animal and cause immense distress.


The chemical present in Cayenne Pepper, capsaicin, drives cats away. You can either use crushed pepper or liquid spray.

While preparing the latter, add mustard oil instead of vegetable oil as cats hate the former.

Besides the plants, spray the liquid-repellent at the periphery of the garden. The spicy scent will keep cats at bay.


Ants are sap-sucking insects that love feeding on young plants. Circle the source of an ant infestation or create a wall with Cayenne Pepper.

Ants do not like to walk over powdery substances implying zero harm and maximum repellence.

Alternatively, you can spray your liquid solution to wash them away if they have already climbed up on the plants. 


Cayenne Pepper is a natural insect repellent. To get rid of Aphids, sprinkle the solution on leaves and stems.  


Cayenne Pepper is one of the most effective squirrel repellents too. You can spray it around in liquid, powder, or crushed forms.

Plants like Kale, a favorite of squirrels, will stay protected once you spray this solution. 

Wrapping Up!

Cayenne Pepper is an inexpensive way to deal with garden menaces. It is entirely natural, non-chemical based, and carries no side effects.

The best part is that cayenne pepper is non-toxic and does not burn or hurt your garden plants.

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