Protecting Your Marigolds from Pests
Marigolds are a very easy to grow annual that can grow quite tall depending on the variety. There are several different species of marigolds as well as colors and shades. Many gardeners love the way that marigolds can be either grown in pots or for mass ground covering and display.
Unlike a lot of plants, marigolds do not have a lot of different pests that bother them. In fact, marigolds can often be planted as a partner to other plants to help ward off some pests and bugs. That does not mean that there are not some different pests that will bother, and ultimately kill off your marigolds if allowed to. Here are a few steps you can take to protect your marigolds.
Protection from Aphids
One of the most destructive pests for any type of flower in a garden, especially for brightly colored annuals, is the aphid. These pests will devour everything in its path. You will see some sticky secretions on leaves and new buds if there is an aphid infestation. In order to rid yourself of these aphids, you will need to use a chemical known as rotenone in the evening hours.
Protection from Caterpillars
Marigolds are a target of many different species of caterpillars. They will devour the entire plant if allowed to. At times there may be only a few caterpillars to worry about, but they have been known to infest marigolds quickly. The best way to deal with them is to handpick them off the flowers. You can spray the plant with a commercial caterpillar remover if the infestation is bad.
Protection from Japanese Beetles
Japanese beetles will settle for marigolds if there are not any roses around. Controlling Japanese Beetles is very similar to controlling caterpillars. Once you see that there are starting to be some holes in the leaves and flowers, you should begin to look for these Japanese Beetles. As you see them, simply pick them off the flower and drop them into a bucket of soapy water. This will kill them so you can dispose of them in the garbage. If the infestation is very bad, then an insecticide with pyrethrin/pyrethrum will work well. Do not try to use any of the traps that are available. This will only attract other beetles which will not fall into the trap and feed on your marigolds.
Protection from Leafhoppers
When you begin to see that the leaves are discolored or even disfigured, you have a problem with leafhoppers. The best way to protect your marigolds from these dangerous bugs is to lay a white polyspun garden fleece over the plants early in the spring. This will prevent the bugs from having any access to the plants.
Protection from Mites
When there are stripped and discolored leaves, the problem may be due to small mites. These bugs are small, spider-like insects that are no larger than a speck of pepper. They thrive in the hot summer and will attack plants that are already suffering from heat. If you notice that your marigolds have mites, you can rid yourself of them by spraying heavily with water for three days. You can also use a light horticultural oil that will smother the mites on the plants.