Botanical insecticides are increasingly attracting research attention as they offer novel modes of action that may provide effective control of pests that have already developed resistance to conventional insecticides. They potentially offer cost-effective pest control to smallholder farmers in developing countries if highly active extracts can be prepared simply from readily available plants. Field cage and open field experiments were conducted to evaluate the insecticidal potential of nine common Ghanaian plants: goat weed, Ageratum conyzoides (Asteraceae), Siam weed, Chromolaena odorata (Asteraceae), Cinderella weed, Synedrella nodiflora (Asteraceae), chili pepper, Capsicum frutescens (Solanaceae), tobacco, Nicotiana tabacum (Solanaceae) cassia, Cassia sophera (Leguminosae), physic nut, Jatropha curcas (Euphorbiaceae), castor oil plant, Ricinus communis (Euphorbiaceae) and basil, Ocimum gratissimum (Lamiaceae). In field cage experiments, simple detergent and water extracts of all botanical treatments gave control of cabbage aphid, Brevicoryne brassicae and diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella, equivalent to the synthetic insecticide Attack® (emamectin benzoate) and superior to water or detergent solution. In open field experiments in the major and minor rainy seasons using a sub-set of plant extracts (A. conyzoides, C. odorata, S. nodiflora, N. tabacum and R. communis), all controlled B. brassicae and P. xylostella more effectively than water control and comparably with or better than Attack®. Botanical and water control treatments were more benign to third trophic level predators than Attack®. Effects cascaded to the first trophic level with all botanical treatments giving cabbage head weights, comparable to Attack® in the minor season. In the major season, R. communis and A conyzoides treatment gave lower head yields than Attack® but the remaining botanicals were equivalent or superior to this synthetic insecticide. Simply-prepared extracts from readily-available Ghanaian plants give beneficial, tri-trophic benefits and merit further research as an inexpensive plant protection strategy for smallholder farmers in West Africa.