So you want to get rid of aphids on petunias? For the most part, petunias grow without facing significant challenges from pests. 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 on how to get rid of aphids.
What Are Aphids?
The aphid is a small, soft-bodied insect. They are always wingless when in their immature form.
Aphids are distinguished by 2 short tubes cornicles. You will often find aphids in small numbers on your plants.
This gives a false sense of security as their population rises and colonies develop quickly.
Aphids on petunias vary in color, black, pink, green, even a dusty gray. Some aphids have wings and others are wingless.
Aphids are common insect pests 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, buds, and growing tips of petunias.
How can you tell if your petunia has aphids? Look for curling and distorted leaves, stems, and branches, stunted growth and plant malformations.
Aphids, mealybugs, and plant 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.
Aphids 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 the use of 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.
A strong stream of water 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:
- 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.
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 leaves.
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:
- 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.”
The Nasturtiums flower are favorites with aphids. They would migrate to them.
The downside – while you may be protecting your petunias, you are inviting more aphids into the area.
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.