Petunia Hybrida or Petunia is the gardener’s favorite due to their beautiful heavenly flower and charming smell. Petunia plants are widespread as both indoor and outdoor plants and can be seen in baskets, window pots, and buckets.
The attractive pink, purple, white, and yellow petunia flowers are always the gardener’s delight. The beautiful plant attracts both the viewer’s attention as well as the insects and animals who feast on these petunias.
If you want your dear petunia plants to last longer and do not become the food of animals and insects and lose their beauty, you must stay careful to safeguard your plants from harmful things.
You must first identify the dangers posed to your petunia plant and then look for a feasible solution that will not harm your plant’s health but keep the dangerous insects and animals away from the petunia plant.
What is eating my Petunias?
All may be a threat to your petunia plant if you do not assure that they can not reach the petunia plant. Sometimes, it is very difficult to identify what is eating up petunias or creating holes in leaves and flowers. Many such insects and bacterias are difficult to recognize for people.
The bright color of the flowers and their attractive smell attracts many harmful insects and animals to the plant. If you are not keeping the petunias outdoors or if you live in the city, it is least possible that animals or birds have reached out to your petunia.
However, it is possible that even in indoor pots, some insects or worms are eating out a petunia. Various pests and insects like tobacco budworms and other cutworms, aphids, whiteflies, slugs, and snails are the posed threats that the petunia plants face.
They create visible holes in the flowers and plants or eat the plant. To save your plants from these problems, you must identify what is causing harm to your plant and take necessary remedies.
- Tobacco Budworm or Budworm larvae, or small caterpillars may be one of the common causes if you are seeing that some of your petunia flowers are failing to bloom or coming with chewed and damaged petals. These tobacco budworms feed on your petunia flower buds or ovaries and cause hazards.
- In winter, these caterpillars enter the soil and survive up to spring in cold countries. In summer, the condition of the plant worsens. Although tobacco budworms are very common in even indoor plants, it is possible to identify the damage caused by them. Seeing the damaged petals and buds and timely remedy can save your plant from further problems.
- Aphids are little insects that gather under the leaves or stems and suck the sap from your plant. This stops the growth of your petunia plant and causes discolored or falling leaves, and is very hazardous for your plant.
- Whiteflies are also very common near petunia plants that suck their juice and cause damaged leaves and buds to your petunia plant.
- Leafminers are little yellow and black flies that create tunnels in petunia leaves or create holes that become white and cause premature leaf fall.
- Rabbits, deer, mules, chickens, and even rodents also feed on petunia plants. Due to the irresistible fragrance and color of the flowers, it becomes the prey to these animals.
So, if you are planning to keep your petunia plant outside the home, you must keep an eye on the damage of the plant or other signs to find out whether any animals cause the damage. If rabbits are eating your petunia, it will leave droppings or furs, and you can identify the cause through them.
What is eating my Petunias at night?
Tobacco budworms and insects are possibly making feasts on your petunia plant if you find the plant with damaged leaves and buds.
These critters use the nighttime as camouflage to damage your plant remaining invisible from birds and other beneficial insects and leave your plant damaged overnight when they are large in number.
So, if you want to know what is creating hazards for your petunia plant, you can install a trail camera that will keep track of the insects or animals that are causing harm to your petunia plant.
How do I keep bugs away from eating my petunias?
For long-lasting blossoms and healthy petunias, you must use some valuable remedies that will keep the bugs away from your petunias.
- You can pick the budworms by hand and drown them in a soap-water solution.
- Washing off leaves may help to reduce the chances of moth eggs or insects on the plant.
- Earwigs or slugs remain active in the dark. The best way to remove them is to shake off the plant, and these bugs will drop off.
- As the caterpillars remain active at dusk, it is better to remove them with your hands. Culturing the affected area’s soil may also help reduce the bugs’ attacks around the plant.
- Snugs are sails that are very harmful to petunias, especially if they are exposed outdoors. To remove them, you can place a container with plain beer near your petunia plants, buried till the rim.
- To remove the critters, you can place a wet wood near the petunia at night and wait till the morning so that the creatures get attached to it.
- You can even spread egg-shell powders near the plant’s soil. That helps to remove the bugs and insects from the soil.
- Make room for good insects like ladybugs, wasps, birds, and animals that eat harmful insects.
- You can place chicken wires or pour a small number of blood meals to keep the animals away from the plant if you are living in rural areas.
What to spray on petunias for bugs?
To save your petunia from harmful bugs, insects, or animals, you can apply some useful remedies that will surely clear the ground for your petunia to grow well.
- Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki or BTK is available as liquid, powder, or granules, and if you spray them as a solution to remove aphids and other insects from plants. These bacterias are present naturally in soil. If you spray the poison on the plant, the insects will die within a few days.
- Spraying lightweight Horticultural oil on petunia also helps to wash off any insects or eggs from the plant. However, if the climate is too warm in the daytime or too freezy at night, it is better to spray early in the morning or in the evening.
- Using neam oil as a spray to treat the insects that bore the plant or leaves is very useful. The natural extract of the neem tree is poisonous for many harmful insects but good for your plant. You can follow the package instructions and spray the neem oil solution all over the plant. The plant absorbs the oil extract and remains safe from leaf mites and other insects and worms. You have to repeat the treatment at least once a week to keep your plant safe.
- You can also spray non-toxic ready-made insecticide soaps that work on soft-bodied insects like mites, thrips, and aphids. Make sure that the spray is applied directly to the insects.
- Tobacco budworms are challenging to treat through standard bug sprays. So, if your petunia is suffering from caterpillars or budworms or some kind of cutworms, you can use bifenthrin, permethrin, or esphenvalerate.
Thus by treating bugs and insects with non-toxic sprays, you can keep your petunia plant healthy and bloomy for a longer time. Nurturing your petunia no doubt helps to keep it lively and blossomed all the year.
But, if your plant is being attacked by insects and bugs frequently throughout the year, we suggest that you use any one of these insecticide sprays to keep your plant healthy and safe.
However, make sure that you do not overuse pesticides as these may have some side effects, and it is also dangerous for other beneficial birds and insects that may also fall ill due to the poisonous reaction. Overuse of pesticide sprays also harms the plant’s health as well as the soil quality.
Home-made bug sprays for petunia
As it is not always very correct to use pesticides available in the market, you can also opt for some homemade remedies to keep pests away from your petunia plant.
As petunia is very prone to insect attacks due to its attractive look and smell, sometimes it is difficult to avoid pest attacks and keep it healthy for a longer time for novice gardeners. However, we will suggest to you some helpful but easy homemade remedies that will surely make the work easy for you.
- Insect soap: If you want to avoid ready-made insect soaps, just mix one tablespoon of dishwashing soap with 1/4th cup of water to make a soapy mix. You can also add a tablespoon of cooking oil so that the spray lasts on the plant. However, if the temperature outside is too high, avoid spreading oil on the plant. This homemade soap is very useful to keep your plants safe from caterpillars, miles, and budworms.
- Garlic Spray: Garlic spray is another anti-bacterial and anti-fungal spray that helps to reduce the attack of pests and insects. You just have to crush six garlic bulbs, one onion, mix them with 16 oz of water and leave the mixture overnight. On the following day, mix it with a gallon of water to thoroughly spray the mixture on the plant. By repeating the spray once or twice a week, you can reduce the attack of most types of harmful pests and insects on your petunia.
- Epsom salt spray: To remove slugs and beetles from petunia, an Epsom salt mixture can be a good option. You can mix a cup full of salt with 5 gallons of water to make a mixture and spray on the affected areas of the plant. You can also directly sprinkle the salt around the plant’s base to avoid any insect attack.
- Hot pepper spray: If your petunia is getting damaged due to ants or whiteflies, a handful of dried hot pepper powder can do the magic. You can just grind the pepper and sprinkle it around the earth. Else you can mix it with lightweight horticultural oil for a more lasting effect on the plant. You can also add one tablespoon of dishwasher soap with hot pepper and spray on petunia’s leaves to avoid insect attack. Make sure you do not spray directly on bloom, especially if you are mixing oil with it.
- Rubbing alcohol: This spray is very famous among gardeners as it quickly removes bugs from the plant. But you must avoid spraying it directly on the plant. You can just dab cotton in rubbing alcohol and put it directly on the insects rather than the plant. However, alcohol may harm your petunia, so make sure to use it carefully.
- Deer-repellent spray: Often deer may harm your outdoor plants. In such cases, a bottle full of egg and water mixture can help you keep deer away from the outdoor petunia plant. You can also opt for fencing or guards if you are facing problems due to bigger animals.
Keeping your petunia safe and free of insects may be a tough job, but not impossible. Just try to trace the insect or bug and use repellent that will help to keep away such problems.
Petunias are always the gardeners’ pride and to keep it healthy and full of beautiful blossoms is what we all want. So, if you are tense about your damaged and fretted plant, follow our remedies, and you will get back the lively old plant very soon.