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No one likes to carefully grow a plant and rather than beautifying the environment, gets eaten up by pests.
It amounts to a waste of time right? But, this is exactly what aphids do to petunias. They suck away nutrient saps from petunias and still deposit viruses that grow into molds in the petunia.
Petunias are south-Americans by nativity but have spread to almost every continent in the world, growing better in temperate regions.
Petunias are sun lovers and require at least five hours of sunlight daily to produce well. They are usually propagated by seeds but can be propagated asexually as well.
Blossoming in spring, the flowers of petunias are often associated with the superstitious belief of being able to ward off evil spirits.
Other than this belief, petunias are cultivated for their beautiful flowers and aesthetic appeal.
Aphids on the other hand are stubborn pests that attack petunias as a parasite, obtaining nutrition from the petunia leaf while causing considerable damage to it.
Aphids have an annoying reproduction system called telescopic development.it is such that, wingless female aphids reproduce baby aphids that are born pregnant, without the help of males.
So one reproductive process can fill the leaves of your petunias with more than enough tiny aphids that do not hesitate to suck off every nutrient-bearing sap from the leaves of the plant.
The control of Aphids on plants, especially petunias, is often difficult. This is because, over time, aphids have developed some kind of resistance against various insecticides, such that the use of these insecticides on the plant does not weaken the aphids.
Aphids attack petunias more because like petunias, aphids are lovers of temperate regions and sunlight.
This article outlines the various effective ways of getting rid of aphids on Petunias. It explains the necessary insecticides, their chemical composition, and how each of these chemicals/insecticides functions in ridding your petunias of aphids.
Getting Rid of Aphids on Petunias
The process of ridding petunias of aphids can be broadly categorized into three namely:
- Chemical Control Methods
- Biological control methods
- Mechanical control methods
Each of these categories and their components is explained below.
1. Chemical Control Methods
The following are chemical methods used for aphid control:
- Application of Home-Based Liquid soaps
This is a simple, cheap, and easy chemical control method for aphids on petunias.
These home-based liquid soaps are the same types used in homes for dishwashing and laundry.
It contains some fatty acids that go into the cell membrane of aphids and tear them open. The cell contents leak out of these broken cell membranes, killing the aphids.
Home-based liquid soaps are safe for application on the petunias and do not cause adverse effects to the soil, leaves, or important microorganisms on the soil. They only destroy the aphids and keep the plant free from aphids.
Liquid soaps should not be applied to the petunia plant without first mixing it in water to form a solution.
Include soya bean oil or any home-based oil in the solution and sprinkle the affected leaves thoroughly using a hand sprinkler.
Sprinkle emphasis should be on the underparts of leaves where aphids love to stay. Repeat the process weekly, until all the aphids are gone.
- Use of insecticidal oils
The application of insecticidal oils on petunias is also an effective means of getting aphids off the sticky leaf surfaces of petunias.
A necessary insecticidal oil you could check out for control of aphids is neem oil.
Neem oil, also called margosa oil, is gotten from the Azadirachter tree. Neem oil contains chemical compounds that destroy the respiratory and reproductive abilities of aphids when in contact.
The neem oil is cheap to get and does not need special procedures for application.
To apply the neem oil concentrate on your aphid-infested petunias, mix 5 tablespoons of neem oil in water, and stir until the neem is fully incorporated with the water.
You can add a drop of soap to make bonding easy.
Once fully mixed, sprinkle the neem oil mixed in water on the top and undersides of the leaves. Repeat this process at least twice every week until there are no more aphids left on the petunias.
- Use of commercial insecticides
Commercial insecticides like neemsol ga, curator ga, and zero pests are effective for the control of aphids on plants.
They contain chemicals that inhibit aphid hormonal secretions for reproduction and cell division. Inhibition of these processes causes the aphids to die out.
The mode of application prescribed by the manufacturer should be strictly adhered to as any deviation can lead to the destruction of the petunias alongside the aphids.
The application of commercial chemicals is usually not the best form of controlling aphids. This is because the chemicals have a long-term buildup on the soil and make the soil unfertile after consistent application.
Use insecticides only in situations of over-infestation.
2. Biological Control Methods
Biological control methods connote the introduction of natural predators of aphids on the leaves of petunias to predate and feed on the aphids.
Insects that predate on aphids include ladybugs, parasitic wasps, predatory midges, lacewing larvae, rove beetles, hoverflies, and ladybirds.
These predatory insects can be bought from endogamists or attracted to the plants using special scented sprays.
These insects get into the petunias and feed on the aphids without causing harm to the petunia plant.
Wasps do not necessarily need to feed on aphids, they instead lay their eggs inside of the aphid eggs, parasitizing them.
The eggs, now parasitized, can no longer hatch into new aphids and so slowly, the aphid population is reduced on the plant.
3. Mechanical Control Methods.
Mechanical control methods involve the manual removal of aphids and their eggs from the leaves of petunias.
You can mechanically remove aphids using either a spray hose or a wet cloth. A spray hose is effective when the aphid infestation has considerably covered the plant leaves.
Connect your pressure hose to a clean source of water and spray the leaves. Caution should be taken in spraying the water to prevent the pressure from the water from breaking the stem of the petunias.
A wet cloth on the other hand is effective at the early stages of infestation. It involves dipping the cloth in water and wiping the leaves clean of aphid and their eggs.
A disadvantage of the mechanical control method is the amount of time it consumes. Farmers usually do not have this kind of time considering their daily schedules.
Signs of Aphids on Petunias
The following are ways to know that your petunias are being attacked by aphids:
- Leaves turn yellow: Petunias need enough nutrients to stay green and blossom.
In the event of an aphid infestation, nutrients get sucked up quicker than they are gotten from the plant roots.
The leaves suffer from this and begin to discolor, changing from the usual green to a faded yellow.
Aphids also block the leaves from getting enough sunlight which is necessary for photosynthesis.
An inability to carry out photosynthesis leaves the petunias yellow and discolored.
- Growth of mold fungus: aphids not only suck nutrients from the plants, but they are also vectors that deposit viruses on plants.
They also deposit honeydew on the plant leaves which hardens and turns into molds on the plant leaves.
- Stunted growth: this is an obvious symptom given that aphids empty the petunias of necessary nutrients that make for growth.
With aphids in the petunias, they can not bloom at blooming time. Their stems and roots also fail to expand to the maximum sizes because the nutrients that make for growth have been sucked up by aphid pests.
- Curled up leaves: Curling of leaves is another way to ascertain that your petunias have an aphid problem and is not getting the right amount of water to the leaves and stems.
Leaf molds caused by honeydew droppings on the leaves also cause drooping and curling of the leaves.
Can Petunias Recover from Aphids?
Aphids do a considerable amount of damage to the leaves of the petunias and can lead to the death of the plant if steps are not taken quickly to control the pests.
But the destructive process of aphids on petunias is a gradual one.
Petunias can recover from damages done by aphids if the pests are spotted on time, gotten rid of and the plant is subjected to intensive care.
After the expulsion of aphids from a petunia leaf, the next step should be adequate watering and sufficient application of fertilizer to make up for lost plant nutrients.
Done correctly and sufficiently, the plant can recover in a considerable amount of time.
Will Soapy Water Kill Petunias?
The answer to this question is dependent on the temperature within which the soapy water is sprinkled.
Petunias react unfavorably to soapy water when it is sprinkled at a temperature higher than ninety degrees Fahrenheit.
it is recommended to spray your aphid-infested petunias with a liquid soap solution in the morning or evening when the atmospheric temperature isn’t high yet.
How Do You Get Rid of Green Bugs on Petunias?
“Green bugs“ is another name for bugs that attack plants. To get rid of these bugs from petunias, apply mild insecticides to the garden.
Ensure to introduce natural predators of these bugs into the garden. Neem oil can also be effective on a few bugs. Study the bugs that attack your petunias and apply neem oil when necessary.
What Insects Affect Petunias?
The following are ten popular insects that affect petunias:
- Japanese beetle
- Spider mites
- Spotted cucumber beetles
- Asiatic beetles
Petunias are mostly grown for their beautiful appeal. Unlike other flowering plants, petunias are not unfriendly to the heat of the sun.
They can stay in sunlight for about five hours without getting brown leaves.
Blooming every spring, petunias have a stubborn pest enemy called aphids, that attacks the leaves and sometimes leads to the death of the petunia plant.