Get the most out of your hard work and money! If you spend just a little time once every couple of weeks to make sure your pots stay healthy, you can enjoy them all summer long! You know that feeling you get when you first plant your pot and you stand back, look at it and it makes you smile? Well, I get that same feeling by taking care of them…and you can too! Happy, healthy plants reward us with more beautiful flowers! And who doesn’t enjoy that?
So to help you, our summer posts will primarily be based on the things we see while we’re out taking care of our customers’ planters so you can recognize them and take care of them too. We might throw in a Plant Talk here and there just to have it available to you later on.
Here we go…This is what we saw this week!
Even when we do the best we can, some pests and diseases can be a problem. This week, we are seeing holes in leaves and flowers caused by caterpillars. The caterpillars are the larvae of butterflies and moths, so no matter which part of the country we live in, we all have some species in our area…and each species has its own favorite plants to eat. For example, here in Kansas we have a caterpillar that eats our geranium and petunia flowers. You may or may not have this particular moth in your area, but will have another species that will cause similar damage.
Here’s what the damage may look like:
Something else you may see is the caterpillar frass (poop!) below the damage. It looks like this:
How to Deal with it:
- a) You can pick off the caterpillars. You will need to check for them regularly. When the eggs are first hatched, the larvae are too small to see. They start to eat and grow immediately, so if you’re going to use this method, you need to move quickly!
- b) You can spray with Spinosad (an organic bacterium that kills the caterpillars). There are others, but the one that I use is called Captain Jack’s Deadbug Brew.
- c) You can ignore them and live with the damage. Leaves and flowers with holes can be pinched off and plants will produce new ones.
I usually spray so there is minimal damage and so I don’t have to keep going back to check on them. FYI, even when you spray, there will be some damage. The caterpillars have to ingest the bacterium to die.
See something else in your planters and need help identifying it? Leave a message here and we’ll do our best to help!