Damage control for aphid infested plants

Elizabeth4838(Portland, OR)November 12, 2003


I have nine hellebores that I got last spring. Six were labeled Hellebore 'red hybrid' or 'blue hybrid.' The other three are Helleborus argutifolia. I have had the pleasure of only seeing one of the argutifolias bloom this year. The others grew some new leaves but that was about it. Now I find that three of the hybrids and the arguitifolias have pretty bad aphid problems that I just discovered (back sides of leaves are coated with the little green demons). In November. Isn't that weird? I'm pretty sure they haven't had this problem all summer as I check my plants for bugs. The argutifolias seem to be weathering the attack pretty well, and look like they are getting ready to bloom. Still, I blasted all the aphids off on Sunday and did so again today (a new crop). The hybrids are not doing so well. One has some blackish leaves that look pretty sad and are covered with white powdery specks (aphid castings?) that also kind of look like whitefly. I do see signs of new growth in the center of the plant. My question is: Should I just cut off all the aphid infected leaves of the hybrids that are looking their worst? It seems like the leaves can't be doing the plant much good at this point.

Will doing that mean that I'll go another year w/o seeing the hybrids bloom?


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Aphids love hellebores - in fact hellebores even have their own aphid species, Macrosiphon hellebori, although they can be infected with other aphids as well. If the infestation is severe and donesn't respond to hosing them off, it may be best to remove the infected foliage. In addition to causing the plants stress, aphids can vector viruses and other diseases. No, it won't affect the flowering at all - lots of hellebore growers, myself included, routinely remove the old foliage of x hybridus in winter as the new growth becomes visible.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2003 at 10:39AM
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