Talking about not the most glorious topic today, but one that every gardener comes in contact with at some point or another! Aphids- not a pretty word to a flower lover. They’ll turn a nice plant into a withering, unhealthy one pretty quickly. Fortunately, there are several ways to get rid of aphids and several signs that a plant has these little bugs on them.
A few days ago, I noticed that one of my adorable pots of pansies that so nicely greets us at my front door looked droopy and, well, bad.
The first things I thought of were water and sunlight- I knew this little pot of pansies had adequate amounts of both, so this got me looking more closely at their leaves.
Turning one leaf to see the underside, this is what was there: (ick!)
Knowing it was aphids, I began thinking of the ways to get rid of them.
And immediately I moved the container pot far away from all other plants so as to hopefully not spread them to my other little potted beauties (!).
What is an aphid, exactly, might someone ask? It is a small mite that literally sucks the sap out of a plant. They reproduce quite quickly, meaning when ya spot em, ya oughta start trying to get rid of them.
What causes aphids is another great question. Right now, in late winter, aphids are reproducing more than normal because their natural predator, the ladybug, has not come out of dormancy yet. That right there may be the sole reason to see more aphids at this time of the year. Other reasons can include inappropriate climates for the particular plant, too much water or not enough water, and right after transplanting when your plant is getting acclimated to its new environment are a few other reasons for aphids to appear.
But no worries! There are many sprays that we sell or a home improvement store would carry, and there are also natural ways to get rid of aphids so they will be history in no time.
Because it is nice to use natural products and ways many times, let’s start with natural remedies to get rid of aphids:
*Ladybugs love ’em- they will eat them. If it is spring or summer and you have aphids, more than likely ladybugs will take care of a large part of the problem for you.
*If it is not “ladybug season” or they aren’t taking care of it, mix up a squirt bottle of water and dish detergent.
Add 2 parts water to 1 part dish detergent and spray directly onto aphids. If they’re under the leaves of your plant, be sure you spray them and not just the tops of your leaves. This basically drowns them. Leave the soapy mix on the plant for about two hours and then hose it off. You can reapply this every few days until the aphids are gone.
Sometimes a store bought spray is the best way to go, and here is what to look for in those:
*Look for an insecticide that specifically mentions getting rid of aphids, or look for the main ingredient to be “neem oil”.
Some insecticides may have another oil listed as the first ingredient- this is fine, as the oily substance is what helps get rid of aphids.
Treating aphids is sometimes just part of the gardener’s life! With a spray bottle in hand or ladybugs at your side, you are sure to knock ’em down and keep your plants healthy and happy!
We all want happy plants, after all!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a spray bottle to refill!
What tips can you share with us? Please do!