Annual Flowers' Insects and Animals

Insects and animals will try to infest your garden. The following chart will help you identify and cure common garden pests for annuals.

 Symptom  Cause  Cure  Annuals
Cluster of small, soft-bodied insects on buds and growth tips; sticky secretions may be evident
Aphids Spray with rotenone or malathion* in evening.
Pot Marigold, Nasturtium, Primrose, Sweet Pea
Leaves chewed away; hard-shelled beetles on plant and burrowed into flowers
Beetles of various kinds
Spray with rotenone or Sevin* **; pick by hand and destroy.
Gourds, Hollyhock, American/French Marigold, Zinnia
Growth tips wilted; small hole in plant stem at point where wilting begins
Borers Snap off at level of hole; spray with endosulfan*, pyrethrum, or rotenone.
Gourds, American/French Marigold, Ornamental Corn, Zinnia
Leaves and flowers chewed away; caterpillars on plant
Caterpillars of various kinds and sizes
Pick off by hand and destroy; spray with pyrethrum, malathion*, or Bacillus thuringiensis.
Nicotiana, Ornamental or Flowering Cabbage, Petunia
Entire young plants wilted; partially or entirely chewed through at ground level
Cutworms Dig in soil around plant base; find rolled up caterpillars and destroy; circle plant with cardboard collar on edge (1 inch below ground and 1 inch above ground).
China Pink, Nicotiana, Ornamental or Flowering Cabbage, Petunia
Leaves peppered with small round holes; small triangular-shaped bugs seen when disturbed
Leaf Hoppers
Spray with malathion* or methoxychlor*; dust with diatomaceous earth.
Aster, Dahlia, Pot Marigold
Leaves "painted" with whitish, curling trails
Leaf Miners
Spray with malathion*; remove badly infested leaves.
China Pink, Hollyhock
White or pinkish fuzzy clumps on stems and at base of leaves; sticky to the touch
Mealybugs Spray with malathion* or pyrethrum; hand kill by painting each bug with alcohol.
Asparagus Fern, Moses-in-a-Boat, Transvaal Daisy
Slime trails on plants; soft sticky slugs on plants after dark; holes eaten in leaves
Slugs and Snails
Set out shallow containers of beer; set out metaldehyde slug bait*; pick by hand.
Hollyhock, Nicotiana, Petunia, Primrose
Leaves yellowing with speckled look; fine spider webs on plant; tiny bugs on backs of leaves
Spider Mites
Spray with a miticide* on backs of leaves; wash or spray with soapy water.
Flowering Maple, Impatiens, Primrose
Small glob of white bubbles on plant stem or leaves; small insect hidden inside
Spittlebugs Ignore unless very pervasive; spray with malathion*; wash off repeatedly with hose.
Bachelor's Button, Four O'Clock
Brown or white flecks on plant leaves
Thrips Spray with malathion* or dust with sulphur.
Gladiolus
Cloud of tiny white flies fluttering around plant
White Flies
Spray with malathion* or diazinon*; use yellow sticky traps.
Heliotrope, Lantana, Morning Glory Vine
*Inorganic treatment
**Copyrighted brand name

Plant diseases are also a threat to an annual garden. Click to the next section to find out if your annual plants are suffering from disease.