Getting rid of aphids on petunias can be started by using a strong stream of water from your hose to remove them. Do this carefully so the petunia flowers and leaves are not damaged. Allowing natural insects like ladybugs and lace worms to take care of them is a great way but neem oil or natural herbal oil sprays may be the last resort to remove the aphids.
What are aphids and why do they like petunias?
Aphids are tiny insects that love to attack stems and branches of plants. They suck the sap and gather in groups to feed. They can cause damage to the plant as they suck the essential goodness from the plant.
Petunias are particularly sensitive to the aphid attack and can quickly suffer and wilt when they are infested. Petunias make a tasty treat as lots of sap travels up and down their stems and into their leaves.
Aphids can also cause sooty mold which can look like white growth that stick to the corners inside the stems. Moisture will gather in these corners and form mold which looks terrible and can damage the plant.
I have found sooty mold on aphid infections on indoor plants very quickly. Placing indoor plants outside is a great way to deal with this quickly as the plant can be squirted with water and cleaned up naturally.
How to remove aphids from petunias
Check out these easy ways to remove aphids from petunias that start off small then grow to match the scale of the problem.
Blast the petunia with water with a hose or sprayer
Using water to remove aphids is a great way to avoid pesticides and insecticides, which kill the aphids, but also kill can beneficial insects and aphid predators. Petunias are a delicate plant so take it easy when squirting the plant directly.
Using the shower setting on your hose is a good start but a delicate jet stream can also work. Filling a spray bottle with water and using the direct fast squirting nozzle can be a gentler way to remove the aphids without damaging the plant.
Attract aphid predators
Aphid predators such as ladybugs, lacewings and wasps are a great way to control the aphid population on your petunias. Interplanting with predator attracting plants is a great natural way to deal with the pests.
Growing plants that attract the insect predators is a great way to naturally bring them into your yard. Mint, fennel, caraway, yarrow and tansy are all loved by aphid predators.
Spray with soapy water
A simple spray can be made up to treat an aphid attack on petunias. Add just a few drops of dish soap to a spray bottle with clean water. This soapy water mix can be sprayed onto the aphid which can smother and kill the bugs.
This process may need to be repeated a few time to successfully remove the pests completely but it is simple, cheap and easy to do at home.
For a large aphid infestation that is taking over your petunias it may be time to step up to a horticultural oil.
To deal with a large infestation of aphids on your petunias, neem oil can be used to treat the problem. Neem oi is technically a vegetable oil which comes from pressing the fruits and seeds of the Neem tree.
The Neem tree is native to India and grows fast. This oil can be sprayed on aphids every few days and they can be gone from your petunias after 2-3 weeks. Follow the instructions on the pack and get rid of aphids from your garden.
Natural oil sprays
Natural oil sprays are another great way to treat aphids on petunias. Natural essential oil sprays can deter aphids when sprayed onto the affected areas. Natural plant oils like Rosemary Oil and Peppermint Oil are both smells that aphids hate.
Grow healthy petunias to keep aphids away
Growing healthy petunias can be the best way to keep aphids away. Healthy plants will be more resistant to attack. Planting petunias in full sun, giving them regular water and preparing the soil well will help them to grow large, healthy and fend off aphids.
Prepare the soil with compost and aged cow manure before planting and they will be happy with the high nitrogen boost and free draining soil.
Mulch petunias with bark mulch to keep the moisture in the soil and keep weeds away.
Distract the aphids
Aphids can be sent in the wrong direction, away from your petunias by planting decoy plants in another area of your garden.
While aphids love to chew on brassicas including broccoli and cauliflower, they also love nasturtiums so will head to a corner filled with these flowers.
Choose a quiet corner of your garden that gets lots of sun to plant some decoy nasturtiums. They have bright orange or yellow flowers and aphids love them. It is better for them to chomp on nasturtiums than your beautiful petunias.
How to get rid of aphids on petunias | Summary
Petunias can be a tasty dish for aphids and they can quickly get decimated by a hungry horde of aphids. Aphids reproduce rapidly, taking over a patch of petunias. Squirt the off with your hose, try some home made soap spray and reach for the neem oil if they get too far out of control.
Aphids will attack new rose growth, citrus, delicate star jasmine shoots and pea sprouts. I have had a lot of success with allowing the natural balance of ladybugs to find their way into the garden and to deal with the aphids directly.
I have also been growing violas which seem to be more resistant to aphids than petunias. None of the violas have been eaten by aphids this year and I have done nothing to control for them. Violas are a beautiful, tiny flower that looks great and come in great colors.