Coneflower flowers being eaten - Help

OakleyMay 15, 2010

I did a search about this but couldn't find anything out on the flower iteself. But something is eating the petals off my Coneflowers while the plant itself looks great.

I sprayed it but I'm not sure if it's a bug or a critter eating them. If it keeps up, I'm yanking them from my garden. :(

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Whoa! Hold on the Gnute!

Don't be so quick to make rash decisions!
With all the rain we've been getting, the plants are very saturated and "juicy". It has been wonderful for our flowers, but it has been pure heaven for insects, as well. May is the peak of insect problems for all gardeners. They hatch and are ravenous little buggers. Soon Mother Nature will get things under her control and you will be glad you didn't yank them out of your garden.

It could very well be Caterpillar larva and soon they will emerge in their glorious beauty and fill your garden. (Can't say for certain without inspecting your plants. It could be grasshoppers or those pesky, evil little JP Beetles.)

But, if it bothers you to see them munched on, powder them with "a little" bit of Sevins and hang tight. They will soon recover from the munching and come back to bloom like all get out.
I promise.


    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 12:28PM
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midnightsmum (Z4, ON)

Try to get a pic of the damage. I just saw my first earwig yesterday. They would happily hide in between the petals, munching away.


    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 1:01PM
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Well, darn. My Photobucket is messed up. The page will load just fine except the place where I do downloads. That box is missing! I'll try later.

You all sound like my husband. "Don't pull it out! Use Sevin!" lol.

I'll buy some Sevin dust in a couple of days. It's just the petals that are being eaten.

I remember last summer around August the same thing happened but it was eating the whole plant, not just the petals. Now it's just the petals.

I'll try to send a picture later.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 1:35PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

Annie, what's a Gnute?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 4:35PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

Click on a blank spot on the photobucket page and the button will appear. Been happening to me a lot lately.

It could be goldfinches. They like to pull the petals off flowers to get at the fleshy seeds, even when they're immature. So don't pull them yet. Try covering them with pantyhose or something else to see if you can get a few blooms.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 5:39PM
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That was supposed to be:

"Hold on thar Gnute!"

I screwed it up.

For all you 'youngins' out there, that is a references back to the old movie & TV westerns of the 40s, 50s, & 60s. That was an expression used in one of the old cowboy movies and was an old geiser by the name of Gabby Hayes - a loveable, toothless, tobacco chewing, bearded old stagecoach driver, who often yelled that out when someone was going to do something "mighty hasty".
I remember another one too that I used on here last year. "Whoa, Nellie!" meaning, stop right there! Gabby was our favorite character.

Those old westerns were full of action but filled with humor. At least, it was funny to us back then. I like to use old sayings like that from my childhood memories when I get the chance. I was born in the 50s, but TV stations in California played ALL the old westerns from earlier times over and over and over in the 60s, and my brother and I watched every one of them.

Sorry, I couldn't help myself from writing that. (blush)


    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 6:11PM
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Good, it's working now.

And just for kicks, My Pretty Lady of the Day!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 10:41AM
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Uh, Pam.

Were there more petals on those flowers before?
To me, it just looks like your Coneflowers are just beginning to flower- not missing petals. They look like that in the Spring when they first begin to bloom...mine do anyhow.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 12:41PM
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Yikes. lol. Yes, they're just beginning to bloom. In fact, these were the first that just opened last week! But where are the other petals? Don't they all grow at the same time on one flower?

You have to remember, this is only my second year growing them, first year of them coming back from seed so I'm excused for my stupidity. heh.

So, these look okay?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 1:49PM
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    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 2:21PM
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Annie, I feel like I adopted you as my big sister! I like it! I tell my husband what "Annie" says regarding how to grow things. He's impressed!

My love of cottage gardening has gotten in his blood, today he bought a lot of herbs and is fixing him a raised bed surrounded by stone.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 5:45PM
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Yes, the flower buds look skimpy at first and then petals come on more and more every day until they are fully "there"! Soon, your Coneflowers will be coming on and blooming like gangsbusters and the butterflies will visit your garden and add their colors to it.

That is very sweet - I have a little sister! ;)

Lucky you to have a man get into gardening with you...or beside you.

Mine is an enabler, and that is wonderful. I can do what I want with the house and yard, within our budget, that is, but he isn't interested in the least in what I do that I can discern. I try to talk to him about my flowers and gardens or show him things I am doing and he doesn't seem to be paying any attention. I might as well just be saying, "Blah, blah, blah". I am sure I must sound like the teacher on the Charlie Brown cartoons to him. :)

Happy for you to have him take such and interest in gardening like that. That is just wonderful.


    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 6:19PM
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I love it, Annie! The teacher on Charlie Brown! I'm sure DH gets that from me too.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 11:56AM
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I don't recall the damage looking like your picture, but I have had the goldfinches pull the petals off both my coneflowers and my zinnias.

Totally Confused

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 1:04PM
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I am going out here in a bit to take a picture of my first coneflower bud that is just developing. You will see that it looks very much like yours, Pam. Some varieties of Echinacea (but not all) just start out like least that has been my experience here in Okie.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 2:13PM
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don't think this is a development issue...i can see the 'bites' out of the petals on my fancy double (fluffy) coneflower. (the single petal coneflower next to it is untouched). i have goldfinches, and i am sure the usual garden pests (though have not seen any on my coneflower)...who is the culprit here and what can i do?

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 8:45PM
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lucygoose(Zone 5/N.W. In.)

Mine have been eaten like this for two years now...i think it is this striped beetle I have makes me mad as I have not see petals at all.....mine look just like the picture posted...:-(

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 8:28AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Have any of you gone out at night with a flashlight? If you see missing or damaged petals during the day, but no pest then it could be an insect at night is eating the petals. I was out last night looking for Asiatic Beetles that have been chewing on Hibiscus flowers and checked out my Echinacea and sure enough there were a few on those, eating the petals. Asiatic Beetles are a solid red color, almost mahogany. They are medium size, about the third the size of a Japanese Beetle or a little smaller and are fairly slow moving. Easy to pick off and drop into soapy water. I noticed they've also been eating lantana and basil. It could also be earwigs which are also out at night and are also easy to knock into a cup of soapy water.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 7:01AM
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