Aphids on marigolds is a feature that can be a bit strange and worrying, because, after all, these plants are supposed to repel garden pests.
Believe it or not, it is possible that marigolds attract aphids due to special circumstances. Let’s investigate the causes of the condition, as well as what to do to eradicate them!
- Why Are There Aphids on the Marigolds?
- How Can You Eliminate Aphids on the Marigold?
Why Are There Aphids on the Marigolds?
There are aphids on the marigolds because of its lack of strong smell; it can also be due to environmental conditions, or aphids are on the neighboring plants. In addition, it can also be due to the lack of natural predators, excessive fertilization, plant stress, or lack of plant diversity.
– Lack of Repelling Marigold Scent
Marigolds usually keep aphids away, but only if they have a strong scent. Hybrid marigolds might lack a strong smell, so they won’t keep aphids away and might attract them instead.
Often times, the smell of marigolds is what keeps general pests away; however, when the plant is already one that has become weakened it can no longer be as repellent. This may be due to overwatering or they are receiving more sunlight than they need.
Do marigolds keep aphids away, is a worrying notion, because normally, they do, but aphids can appear on marigolds for several reasons, including cultivar susceptibility, environmental conditions, and a nearby infestation.
– Environmental Conditions
Aphids prefer to infest plants in warm weather. While marigolds are hardy, they can still attract aphids in specific conditions. These conditions will keep the aphids welcoming and inviting them to come more. Hence, the infestation can have an uproar when the intensity of the humidity and warmth is great.
– Aphids in Neighboring Plants
Aphids can spread to your marigolds from nearby plants that already have them. Controlling their populations early is crucial because they reproduce rapidly. When a gust of wind hits them at times, they can stick to the marigolds and this way, the plant will have an infestation as they would feed on and weaken the plant.
– Lack of Natural Predators
Ladybugs, lacewings, and other bugs that eat aphids are their natural enemies. Aphids can increase without control if your garden doesn’t have these helpful insects. They will not have the freedom to thrive without feeling unsafe, and the multiplication will be fast as well.
Using too much nitrogen-rich fertilizer can make plants grow lush and tender, attracting aphids. Remember to use balanced fertilizers and avoid overfeeding your marigolds. The excess of the nutrients or minerals in the fertilizer will easily lure them, and as they feed on it, this will be a food source.
– Plant Stress or Weakened Plants
Plants that are unhealthy or stressed are more likely to get aphids. When the plant is one that has weak-looking leaves, this is what they will come to. In addition, the older foliage, or over watered leaves will always be their target.
– Lack of Plant Diversity
Planting different plant species in your garden disrupts pest spread. Monoculture, producing the same plant, aids pests like aphids to spread and thrive, as aphids will go from one to the other and cause the rest of the plants to weaken too.
How Can You Eliminate Aphids on the Marigold?
You can eliminate aphids on your marigolds by first identifying the pest before treating them. You have many treatment options, including manual removal. In addition, you can also try to use some biological controls, natural remedies, diatomaceous earth, growing companion plants, reflective mulch, and use chemical insecticides.
– Handpick Aphids and Prune the Plants
Inspect your marigold plants regularly, especially during the growing season when aphids are active. Do this in good light to spot aphids easily and check stems, leaves, and flower buds, including the undersides and tips of new growth where aphids tend to gather.
They can be green, yellow, or black, so you must ensure the magnifying glass may help in the early stages of infestation. Look out for other signs of infestation, like sticky honeydew secretions and ants. Keeping a record of your observations, including the date, extent of aphids, and changes over time, will help you assess your control efforts.
For a minor infestation, gently shake the plant or use a soft stream of water to remove aphids. Wear gardening gloves to protect yourself and avoid spreading them. Pinch and squash aphids with gloved fingers without harming the plant, and make sure to dispose of them.
Focus on areas where aphids gather, like undersides of leaves and new growth. Regularly handpick aphids for ongoing infestations to prevent their population from increasing and to keep them at bay, especially before winter. If certain areas are heavily infested, consider pruning those parts.
Use clean, sharp pruning shears to snip away affected areas, especially on the undersides of leaves and stem tips. Make clean cuts at a 45-degree angle above a leaf node or near the main stem.
Collect and seal the pruned plant material in a plastic bag to prevent aphids from escaping and re-infesting the garden. After pruning, wash away any remaining aphids or eggs with a gentle stream of water.
– Hose Down Aphids with Strong Water Pressure
To control aphids on your marigolds naturally, use water pressure. Get a garden hose with an adjustable nozzle for a solid but gentle stream, so you should also ensure that you check the undersides of leaves and tender stems where aphids tend to cluster.
Set the water pressure appropriately before directing it to your marigolds. Start from the bottom, moving upward, avoiding excessive force that could harm the plant. Do this regularly, especially when you spot more aphids, so make sure that the consistency is crucial to keeping your marigolds aphid-free.
Combine water pressure with other natural methods like growing companion plants or attracting beneficial insects to your garden for better results. These methods work together to reduce aphid populations.
On the other hand, you should also try to relocate the plant, because transplanting marigolds to a different location can avoid aphid infestations. In short, if the new spot is aphid-free, it won’t guarantee long-term protection.
Aphids can spread from nearby infested plants through wind or other means. This is why, it’s essential to use preventive measures and keep an eye on your plants for lasting aphid control.
– Use Biological Controls
Attract natural predators to your marigold garden to control aphid infestations in an eco-friendly way. Ladybugs, lacewings, and parasitic wasps are beneficial bugs and insects that reduce aphid populations and create a healthier plant environment.
To invite these helpful predators, plant flowers like daisies, fennel, yarrow, and alyssum that attract them naturally. Release the beneficial bugs and insects when aphid infestations are active for immediate interaction and predation.
Ensure predators are evenly distributed throughout the garden to prevent localized aphid hotspots. On a regular basis you should try to observe the garden after release to gauge the effectiveness of predators and make adjustments if necessary.
Help the beneficial bugs and insects settle in by providing supplemental food like sugar water or pollen during the initial stages. Avoid using chemical insecticides alongside biological control as they may interfere with the beneficial bugs and insects’ efforts.
– Apply Natural Remedies
Combat aphids in marigolds with natural remedies like neem mixtures, an effective and eco-friendly insecticide from the neem tree. To apply, get pure neem oil, dilute it with water following the guidelines, and spray it on affected areas.
Apply every seven to fourteen days, or as recommended, until the aphids are controlled. Use neem mixtures during less warm parts of the day to avoid harming beneficial bugs and insects, and avoid direct sunlight to prevent leaf burn. Test the treatment on a small section first to check for adverse reactions.
Insecticidal soap is another safe option, this is a great option as it dehydrates and kills aphids without harm to humans or beneficial bugs and insects. Use plant-specific insecticidal soap, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and spray on infested areas to repel aphids.
Apply insecticidal soap in the morning or late afternoon, and reapply every five to seven days if needed or as recommended on the product label. As with other plant treatments, always do a patch test to ensure compatibility and sensitivity.
– Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is a natural powder from fossilized algae that helps with aphid infestations in marigolds. It’s non-toxic and works effectively. You can find food-grade diatomaceous earth at garden supply stores, and when you use it you should make sure it’s labeled as food-grade for safety.
To do this process properly, apply the diatomaceous earth during dry weather. Lightly dust it around the base of marigolds and on stems and leaves. Check the affected areas regularly and reapply as needed, especially after rainfall or irrigation. When you are using siatomaceous earth, it acts as a barrier, keeping aphids away from marigolds and preventing them from spreading.
It’s safe for beneficial bugs and insects like ladybugs and bees, which helps maintain a balanced ecosystem. Consistent application is essential to control aphids effectively. Wear gloves and a dust mask to avoid irritation when handling diatomaceous earth.
– Grow Companion Plants
Companion planting involves placing certain plants near marigolds to naturally repel aphids and protect marigolds. Garlic is an effective companion because its smell deters aphids. Chives also work well as companions, masking marigolds’ scent from aphids.
Mint repels aphids and offers shade to marigolds, and you can also place some petunias because they can deter various pests, including aphids, by creating a barrier around marigolds. To make this technique effective, arrange the plants strategically near marigolds.
Regularly check the companion plants’ health and avoid overcrowding for better results. Companion plants help with pest management and foster biodiversity, supporting beneficial bugs and insects and strengthening marigolds against aphids.
– Install Reflective Mulch
Reflective mulch helps keep aphids away from marigolds, confuses aphids, making it harder for them to locate the plants, and preventing infestations. For practical use, ensure the reflective mulch covers the soil evenly and extends slightly beyond the plants. Be gentle when placing it to avoid harming the roots or disturbing the plants.
This technique is simple and requires minimal effort, so for this you can cut reflective materials to fit your garden or use ready-made plastic sheets from garden supply stores. Apply the reflective mulch early in the growing season to deter aphids before they become a problem.
Regularly check and maintain the mulch throughout the season, but be cautious about placing it in direct sunlight as it can raise soil temperatures. To avoid stressing the marigolds’ roots, consider using a layer of traditional organic mulch underneath the reflective material for insulation and moisture retention.
Reflective mulch deters aphids and enhances plant growth and flower development by reflecting more sunlight. It may also discourage other insect pests that rely heavily on visual cues.
– Spray Chemical Insecticides as a Last Resort
If natural remedies don’t work for severe infestations, use insecticidal sprays cautiously, following the label instructions. Ensure that you apply during early morning or late afternoon when aphids are active, and avoid windy or rainy conditions. Aim precisely at aphid-infested areas using a calibrated sprayer.
Target only affected parts of the marigold and protect non-target organisms by avoiding spraying on open flowers. Use a shield to safeguard surrounding plants.
Hence, you must now understand the chosen insecticide’s active ingredient and its potency against aphids to avoid overuse and resistance development. Prioritize environmental safety by avoiding water sources and considering nearby beneficial bugs and insects.
Wear protective gear during application and follow proper storage and disposal guidelines. For long-term pest control, you can try to combine cultural practices, natural predators, and targeted treatments to maintain a balanced and sustainable ecosystem in your garden.
On the other hand, you must also remember that combining chemical insecticides with natural remedies is only sometimes advised. It may cause unintended harm to beneficial bugs and insects. Try natural remedies first and only use chemical insecticides if nothing else works.
While aphids can occasionally land on and infest marigolds, you won’t have to worry anymore as you know how to deal with them. Let’s go over the most important reminders we’ve covered:
- Use natural remedies like handpicking, introducing beneficial bugs and insects, and using neem mixtures or insecticidal soap.
- Consider growing deterrent companion plants like garlic and chives.
- Use chemical insecticides responsibly as a last resort, following instructions and considering environmental impact.
- Attract beneficial bugs and insects like ladybugs to help control aphid populations naturally.
- Regular monitoring and early action are crucial for effective aphid management.
With your newfound techniques, your marigolds are sure to grow healthier and produce more vibrant blooms for you to enjoy!
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