something eating columbine flowers, plus leaf holes

arylkin(5b, south of Chicago)June 20, 2013

This is my first year in a house and the first with a garden. IâÂÂve been reading a lot about plants and feel like IâÂÂm becoming somewhat educated about them, but when it comes to garden pests I know very little.

IâÂÂve been noticing holes on my hostas, which I attributed to slugs (although I canâÂÂt say IâÂÂve ever seen one). I tried doing a ring of coffee grounds on top of the mulch around them, but I canâÂÂt say that IâÂÂve noticed a difference. I think itâÂÂs time for some more drastic measures.

Also, IâÂÂm noticing that something is eating other plants in my garden, from coneflowers, to black eyed susans, even a bit on a geum, lupine, and goldenrod.

Today, I saw that one of my columbine flowers had been eaten and there was a little green bug perched on top of it. It was one that was nearing the end of its lifespan, but the eating damage was clearly caused by something bad.

When I went to look at it a couple hours later the bug was still there.

Here's a pic:

Then leaf damage on coneflowers:

black eyed susan:


dwarf shasta daisy:

then the assorted hosta damage:

IâÂÂd really welcome any advice, as well as what to do to control these problems in my garden. I am not averse to using chemicals as long as they wonâÂÂt harm someone if they touch a leaf a day or two after application. I don't really want to harm the bumble bees I get though, would a regular insecticide hurt them?

This post was edited by arylkin on Thu, Jun 20, 13 at 21:21

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I have found that spraying cold caffienated coffee on the leaves of my Hostas helps if the slugs get to bad. I have not found coffee grounds spread around those plants to be much of a deterent. Diamotaceous Earth, fairly expensive, has done more then the coffee grounds.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 7:10AM
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Here's my philosophy on the subject :-) Bugs eat plants, mostly foliage, sometimes flowers. 99% of the time it is cosmetic......mildly affects the appearance but does NO harm to the plant. Unless it is something that is very visible/showy - like a container planting or an entry planting - I generally do nothing. A few holes in a few plant leaves is not the end of the world. I do bait for slugs and snails, of which I have huge populations, otherwise I'd never be able to grow hostas or dahlias. Or many annuals.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 3:25PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

columbine should be near peak.. ignore that..

and i agree with gal ...

you have incredible MINOR damage..

short of building a conservatory.. and going operating room sterile and clean.. just enjoy nature for the diversity of things in it ... including the leaf munchers ...

the hosta forum peeps have all kinds of remedies on various damage ... visit them.. though i have never heard of cold coffee ..

the biggest lesson a newbie should learn in the garden.. is to share it.. learn.. observe..

but rarely is it requisite.. that action has to be taken ...

though things get ugly.. RARELY will a bug or two kill things ...

yes.. cyclically there are marauding hordes.. and even those dont kill... but MIGHT require some action ...

but nothing you show.. really requires much of any reaction... IMHO ...


    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 6:22PM
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arylkin(5b, south of Chicago)

Thanks, I guess I was just worried since it was only June and I was having these problems (I was envisioning an August garden without a leaf left on the plants).

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 10:37AM
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