How To Get Rid Of Aphids On Petunias

So you want to get rid of aphids on petunias? For the most part, petunias grow without facing significant challenges from pests. 

Petunia flower with AphidsPin

As with other things, there are exceptions to this. One of the most concerning of these is encountering aphids on petunias.

In this article, we will look at how you can identify this problem promptly. We will also share some practical ways how to get rid of aphids.

What Are Aphids?

The aphid is a small, soft-bodied insect with pear-shaped bodies. They are always wingless when in their immature form.

Aphids are distinguished by 2 short tubes of cornicles. You will often find aphids in small numbers on your plants and vegetables.

This gives a false sense of security as their population rises and colonies develop quickly.

Aphids on petunias vary in color, black, pink, green, and even dusty gray. Some aphids have wings, and others are wingless.

Aphids are common insect pests, aside from thrips and spider mites, throughout North America.

What Damage Do Aphids Cause?

Aphid insect pests feed by sucking the sap of plants. They normally attack the green stem or leaves of a plant.

Aphids cluster in large numbers towards the flowers, flower buds, and growing tips of petunias. When feeding on the plant sap, their secretions stimulate the production of plant growth hormones, leading to gall formation.

How can you tell if your petunia has aphids? Look for curling, distorted, yellowing leaves, stems, branches, stunted growth, and plant malformations.

Aphids, mealybugs, and scale insects secrete a sweet sticky substance called honeydew.

Ants search for the honeydew as food. It also forms a growing medium where sooty mold fungus grows.

Aphid populations can spread virus diseases.

How To Control and Get Rid Of Aphids on Petunias?

Petunia aphid control can be done using natural or chemical-based methods.

Natural methods focus on getting rid of the aphids without using harmful chemicals.

Start by inspecting the leaves and stems of your petunia. Look for clusters of aphids on flowers, buds, and new growth.

Early detection sounds the alarm of their presence before they cause significant harm. It will also mean catching them before they multiply.

Get Rid Of Aphids Naturally

If you find a few aphids on your petunia, the first natural option is to wash them off.

Spray Water

A strong stream of water using a garden hose washes the aphids away. Be sure to also direct the strong stream of water to the undersides of the leaves.

If a blast of water does not work, try using a liquid dish soap spray.

Insecticidal Soap Spray

An insecticidal soap spray works best when used for a quick knockdown before a large infestation takes hold.

To kill aphids, they must come in contact with the soap spray.

Make a mild dish soap spray by using the following:

  • 2 tablespoons of Dawn liquid dish soap
  • 1 gallon of water

Insecticidal soap spray will get rid of the aphids and prevent an aphid colony from growing.

Neem Oil

Another natural method is the use of a neem oil pesticide. The insecticidal properties of Neem make it a favorite of organic gardeners.

Mix the combo of neem oil with dish soap and water.

The antifungal properties come in handy dealing with the sooty mold described above.

NOTE: When spraying, always make sure to coat the undersides of the leaves.

You can also alternate using horticultural oil if you don’t have neem oil. Just mix 2 to 5 tablespoons of horticultural oil with 1 gallon of water.

Diatomaceous Earth

Many organic gardeners use a dusting with diatomaceous earth to control a variety of garden pests.

Diatomaceous earth is not registered for use as a garden insecticide. Aphids must actually crawl through it or come in contact with the fine dust to be effective.

Get Rid Of Aphids With Beneficial Insects – Natural Predators

Introducing natural predators is another way to see an aphid infestation dwindle.

Some of the best beneficial insects to introduce include:

  • Lacewings
  • Ladybugs or lady beetles 
  • Parasitic Wasps

These “good bugs” will feast on the aphids without affecting your petunias. 

Use Plants To Distract Aphids On Petunias

You can also introduce other plants as a way to distract or “get rid of aphids.” Companion planting is a good trick for getting rid of aphids on petunias. 

The Nasturtiums flower is a favorite with aphids. They would migrate to them.

The downside – while you may be protecting your petunias, you are inviting more aphids into the area.

Other plants that you may try planting include caraway, mint, or sweet fennel because it attracts aphid’s natural predators.

Strong-smelling plants like chives, garlic, and onions will also protect your petunias.

Get Rid Of Aphids Using Chemical Sprays

Most homeowners can control and kill aphids on their petunias using natural methods.

A chemical approach is often used when the aphid infestation has gone too far.

There is a wide range of pesticides that would do the job.

Some of these come in spray bottles or cans RTU (ready to use), requiring no mixing on your part.

Just spray to kill the aphids.

Make sure you read the label. Be mindful of the potential damage these chemicals may cause to the petunias at the same time.

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