Is This Viral "Baby Powder" Hack the Best Way to Protect Garden Bulbs From Pests? We Ask the Experts

Is baby powder the new must-have item you need in your gardening arsenal? These experts explain

A garden in spring with a green lawn and tulips in the border
(Image credit: Getty Images)

With the onset of spring, we're eager to quit twiddling our green thumbs and get back into gardening mode. While we appreciate the creativity behind a thrifty planting hack, not all viral tips are true to their word. So, when we came across this new trending tip that uses a cheap household item to protect tulip bulbs from the likes of insects and root rot, we were interested, to say the least.

According to this latest planting trick, baby powder is the answer to healthier blooms, but we couldn't help but wonder if it's the new tulip protectant or yet another trap that could actually harm your backyard.

Considering that the internet is chock-full of trends that tend to snake their way onto our socials, it can be difficult to sift through the lot and find advice that's backed by science. To put the rumors to rest once and for all, we spoke to a couple of experts to find out whether this gardening tip is one to incorporate into your spring gardening routine or not.

Does this viral gardening hack work?

The viral trend suggests dusting tulip bulbs in baby powder before planting them in your flowerbeds or pots, and we weren't the only ones approaching the trend with caution. Zahid Adnan, founder of The Plant Bible, tells us that a touch of skepticism is warranted and points out that it's essential to scrutinize such viral videos through the lens of botanical science.

'There's no substantial evidence to support the efficacy of baby powder in deterring pests or preventing root rot specifically in tulips,' he says. 'These flowers are generally not favored by common garden pests, and root rot is more commonly caused by overwatering or poorly drained soil.'

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Pest control expert Meg Pearson of Critter Control explained that repellents like baby powder are popular and regularly touted as effective online, but in practice, their efficacy is spotty and short-lived at best. 'Pests may initially be repelled by their scent, but over time, they will likely discern that there is no real danger and will continue to invade as they please,' says Meg.

In fact, using baby powder while planting tulips is not only unhelpful but can also cause damage to your backyard's ecosystem. 'Applying substances like baby powder to plants can potentially disrupt their natural processes and may even harm beneficial organisms in the soil,' says Zahid. Despite baby powder not being the new must-have gardening item, we found other ways to protect your tulips for a flourishing modern garden - and these tips come highly recommended by our trusted experts.

How do you properly protect your tulips?

Tulips in container garden

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you're having trouble keeping pests away from your tulips, gardening expert Tony O'Neill advises gardeners to use diatomaceous earth, a natural nontoxic powder that can effectively deter soft-bodied garden pests. He also points out that preventing root rot is fairly easy so long as you focus on improving the soil conditions of your flower bed or container garden. 'Ensuring good drainage, using compost to enhance soil structure, and being mindful of watering practices will be more beneficial for your garden's overall health,' he says.

That being said, pesky pests are an unfortunate hurdle that any gardener is sure to come across at some stage. To keep them at bay, Meg advises erecting a small fence around the perimeter of your garden that rises around three feet high and digs at least 12 to 18 inches into the ground. This is a great way to keep both pests that climb and burrow from entering the backyard.

Although you need to protect your flowers from some pests, not all insects are a nuisance to plants. Zaid tells us that besides practicing good garden hygiene, wildlife gardening - encouraging natural predators like ladybugs and lacewings - is another proven method to promote healthy tulip growth.

So, if you ditch the baby care products and stick to the trusty garden essentials next spring, you'll have a beautiful backyard of flourishing tulips that'll bloom in their own time - no baby powder necessary!

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Amiya Baratan
News Writer

Amiya is the News Writer at Livingetc. She recently graduated with a Masters Degree in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London and has lent her words to beauty, fashion and health sections of lifestyle publications including Harper’s Bazaar and Women’s Health. Her experience as a research analyst has equipped her with an eye for emerging trends. When she’s off the clock, she can be found reading, listening to music or overanalysing her latest Co-Star update.