17What is eating my dahlia leaves, means that you fear for your dahlia plants as their leaves are going, and you do not know why and who did it.

What Is Eating My Dahlia Leaves

Well, even though pests of dahlias may be a bit tricky and hide from you, we have arranged a comprehensive list of all the pests that you should watch out for and how to find them.

Read this article to learn more about your gardening enemies and how you can over come them.

What Pests Are Eating Your Dahlia Leaves?

Some common dahlia pests that you want to check the plants for are moth and butterfly caterpillars, earwigs, gastropods, deer, spider mites, squirrels, grasshoppers, and thrips. These  bites will be seen or even examined in order to find the key insect or animal that ate the leaf.

– Spider Mites

Your dahlia leaves may be turning pale, and you do not know the cause, mostly because you are feeding the plants well and growing them in the right conditions. If this is true for you, wear and glove and start checking the underside of the leaves. You may be surprised by what you would easily spot them.

If you do not see anything underneath the leaves, the plant is free from spider mites and other insect pests. However, if you see some red arthropods covered in silk, the plant is infested with spider mites. These mites suck the dahlia leaf sap and weaken the plants.

– Snails and Slugs

These are slow-moving animals that cause havoc on your dahlia plants. You may love to see snails, especially the ones with beautiful shells. However, note that the larger the snail would give more damage to it, and can cause your dahlia plants to be harmed. What’s worse is that you might be sleeping when the slugs and snails eat your dahlia leaves at night.

As pests operate at night, you need to find the sleeping or hiding location of snails during the day so that you can remove them. Check around banana trees and other bushes in your garden as snails and slugs usually rest in such places, and you can catch them eating the leaves.

– Deer

Do you want deer to visit you at home so that you can give them treats? That’s wonderful. However, you need to monitor them, especially when you are growing dahlia plants, as deer eat the leaves of these beautiful plants. Deer cannot enter your garden or yard except you give them access by opening your garden or yard.

Deer do not leave bite marks on the leaves of your dahlia plants, they eat the leaves completely. Even if the leaves have some remaining parts, they will resemble what was torn by others. The best way to tell that deer are eating dahlias in your garden is to find their poop around the plants.

– Earwigs

These are insects with forceps attached to their abdomen, with which they can easily cling to surfaces. There are so many types of earwigs and those interested in dahlias mostly feed on the dahlia tubers, leaves, flowers, etc. 

They mostly burrow into the soil, so you cannot find them easily. However, you can sometimes see them on the leaves of your dahlias.

To know if there are earwigs in your garden or not, place a heavy object such as a rock or log on the soil and leave it there for a few days. After three or four days, go to the object very early in the morning and lift. It. Under the object, you will see many burrowers that attack your plants from the soil. If you have earwigs in your garden, you will see them under the object. 

Pests are Eating the Leaves on My Dahlia

– Squirrels

Squirrels are no good news in your garden. It is key to know that these cute animals will not eat your dahlia leaves. They will start with the leaves, nuts, and fruits or other plants in your garden, especially vegetables before they move to the dahlia plants.

Do squirrels eat dahlia flowers? Sure they do, as long as the part of the plant is soft, they will eat it and come back.

– Thrips

Of course, there are thrips on dahlias. These insects are very popular insects that attack so many types of plants. This means that if there are trips in your area, there is a high chance that they will soon visit your dahlia plants, and the marks of their eating will be seen. This is why you must watch out for them. They may not give your plant’s leaves any bite marks, but they may turn the leaves pale and the plant sick.

– Moth and Butterfly Larvae

Of course, everyone loves to see the beautiful wings of butterflies and moths. Their wings come in different colors, sizes, and shapes, and they help to beautify your garden. While these insects are innocent and do not harm your dahlia plants, they lay eggs on or around the plants and their larvae are very disastrous to dahlias, and get their nutrients from the leaves of your flowers.

Some moth larvae known as cutworms stay in the soil and attack your dahlia plants from below. Other larvae of moths and butterflies stay on the leaves and attack the plants from above. Note that if you can find one moth or butterfly larvae on the plant, there is a high possibility that there are surely more.

– Beetles

You are going to monitor your plants and appreciate their beauty as well; however, you notice that there are beetles on the leaves. You may be thrilled to see such beautiful insects on your beautiful plants, but when you realize the damage that beetles cause on dahlia plants as well as others, you would wish that there were no beetles on the leaves. They will eat the leaves and degenerate them.

Beetles will eat dahlias; their leaves and flowers, turning your beautiful plants ugly. Beetles make holes that are mostly round with varying sizes. These bugs do not transmit any disease to the plants, so if you see yellow spots on the leaves, beetles are not the only pests attacking your dahlias.


How to Keep Pests Off From Eating Dahlia Leaves

You can stop pests from eating Dahlia leaves by making a bug spray, placing a fence, using a motion sensor, spraying the plants with water, using diatomaceous Earth around them, by inorganic pesticides, and placing birds near them to eat them.

– Make a Bug Spray

You can make use of a homemade bug spray for dahlias’ pests as most of their pests are insects (bugs). To make the spray, pour water and dish soap into a spray bottle and then mix them thoroughly by shaking the bottle. This bug spray is very effective to repel and even kill insects and insect larvae on your plants.

Prevent Leaves on Dahlia To Be Eaten

As a product made with water, the bug spray can get dry quickly, which means that you should only use it when you have to. For example, you can target pests that attack your plants during the day and then spray the leaves with the product in the morning. Nonetheless, just make sure that the bottle is with you, especially when you are examining your plants, so you would swiftly spray them away.

– Fence the Plants

If the pests attacking your dahlia plants are mammals like deer, rabbits, etc., the best way to keep them off your property so that they do not harm your plants is by fencing the plants. It does not matter if the fence is made of wood or wire mesh, you just need to keep these pests out.

Some mammals like rabbits, deer, voles, groundhogs, and rats look for holes in the fence that they can pass through. If they can’t find holes, they may dig the soil and pass under the fence. To keep them off your garden, consider installing a fence six inches or more deep into the soil.

– Use Motion Sensors

These devices enable you to keep your plants safe, especially at night when you are sleeping. They either work as cameras to record the events happening at night or as an alarming system to notify you of intruders in your garden. Some also have a water system to spray the pests attacking your dahlia plants with water.

These devices are best for rabbits, deer, and medium to large-sized mammals. They are not so effective against smaller animals such as snails and slugs.

To install them, keep them close to your dahlia plants and other plants of interest which means that attacked by pests, in your garden. After two times of being caught, they will no longer come and eat the leaves because the environment isn’t comfortable for them anymore.

– Spray the Plants with Water

A cool way to remove bugs, snails, rabbits, and other pests from your plants is to spray them with a high-pressure hose. Your plants will be free from pests and at the same time be richly hydrated. You want to target the leaves with the pests. Also, check that the water pressure is too much so that you do not damage the plant in the process.

Remember that you can overwater your plants in the process, so only do this when you need to. You can spray the leaves in the morning so that excess water on the leaves will evaporate at noon. This is the answer if you are wondering how to stop earwigs eating dahlias

– Make Use of Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a popular product that farmers and gardeners use to keep pests off their gardens. This product is often used as an ingredient in a lot of insecticides, so it is proven to work in your garden. You just need to apply it to the soil to repel cutworms and other insects that prefer to attack your dahlias from the soil.

Please remember to follow the instructions as written on the product label so that you do not burn or hurt your dahlia plants. Also, try out other products first before you use this one.

– Buy Inorganic Pesticides

If you have tried every homemade product or natural remedy and you still have pest problems in your dahlia plants, it is best that you head over to the store and buy yourself an inorganic pesticide.

Before heading to the store, be sure that you know the pests that are attacking your plants first, so that you won’t try to attack something that isn’t there. Just as you get the right pesticide and apply it, the problem will be solved

A con of using these pesticide products is that your gardening technique will no longer be fully organic. Also, these products can kill pests as well as other insects that may be beneficial to your dahlia plants. For example, ladybugs help to control the population of spider mites. Using the pesticide will kill both the spider mites and ladybugs.

– Place Farm Birds

Farm birds can help keep your dahlia plants safe from pests by always searching for and eating the pests off the plants. Chickens, pheasants, turkeys, guinea fowl, etc. are examples of farm birds that happily and naturally feed on and control thrips and other bugs, so you should not be afraid that they will get sick.

Get rid of pest infestation on Dahlia Leaves

Note that if you have used pesticides in the garden before, you should not allow the birds eat from the garden, as pesticides are toxic to birds. Also, remember that some of these birds scratch the soil to search for worms and nematodes, so you should always monitor them and prevent them from destroying the dahlia roots.


How do I make homemade insecticide for Dahlia Leaves?

Create a homemade insecticide for Dahlia Leaves by mixing soap and water, or try a natural solution like neem oil or garlic spray.

Will eaten Dahlia Leaves grow back?

Unfortunately, eaten Dahlia Leaves won’t grow back. Focus on providing proper care and protecting new growth from pests.

How do I keep snails from eating my Dahlia Leaves?

Prevent snail damage on Dahlia Leaves by placing barriers like copper tape or crushed eggshells around the plants or using organic snail repellents.


Dahlias are truly beautiful and thanks to the tips in this article, you can now grow them pest-free.

Remember the following to get a pest-free gardening experience:

  • If your dahlia leaves are turning pale, but you do not know why turn the leaves and check for pests on the underside.
  • Even though you can bathe leaves to remove bugs, remember not to overwater the plants in the process.
  • If most of the pests disturbing your dahlia plants are bugs, make a bug spray and use it to repel them.
  • Ensure you install your fence at the right depth so that animals cannot dig and pass through the soil beneath the fence.
  • Just in case no other method works for you, go to the store and buy some insecticides from a local gardening store.

What are you waiting for? To remove those bugs from your dahlias right away, you know all the possible and right ways to do so. You will no longer have bite marks, instead healthy plants.

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