Mass of aphids on gorgeous flowers!! Help!

kristenc(Z8 WA)May 29, 2008

I have two hellebores that are in their second year next to my front door. I cut them back in late March and they have put out masses of glorious flowers and leaves -- only to get what was a bad aphid infestation which I carefully hosed off about 2 weeks 2 weeks later there are twice as many aphids, literally covering the stems and backs of leaves. There is also (I assume not coincidentally) quite a bit of the sticky "condensation" on many of the leaves, and all in all its just a sad thing. As much as it would break my heart to cut the flowers off, I don't know what else to do. I really don't have the time these days to do aphid patrol as often as it appears I would need to keep these plants nice.

Any suggestions at all would be very appreciated.

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It is very much time to cut the flowers off!! Hellebores in this area start blooming in February and by the end of May, the flowers are well past their prime and have set seed - even though they may still look somewhat attractive, it's time. Hellebores have their own species of aphid and they tend to appear at the end of the season when the flowers have gone over - in fact, many hellebore growers use their arrival as an indication that it IS the proper time to remove old flowers. Once the flowers are gone, the aphids pretty much disappear.

btw, the "sticky condensation" is honeydew or aphid excrement. Just wash it off. If you don't, it can be an invitation to the development of sooty mold.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 10:07AM
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