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Old 06-06-2010, 01:04 PM
 
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I was wondering if any of the knowledgeable gardeners here could help me identify what is happening to my potted geraniums and a little cosmos.

I woke up a few days ago and saw that something seems to have eaten the leaves of my geraniums as well as those of a little cosmos I have in a pot.

Is this the work of a caterpillar? I did see one or two in the pot area (not on leaves) a few weeks ago but never saw any ever since.

http://i284.photobucket.com/albums/l...a/IMG_7609.jpg

http://i284.photobucket.com/albums/l...a/IMG_7608.jpg

http://i284.photobucket.com/albums/l...a/IMG_7607.jpg

If it is what I think it is, what should I do?

Again, this is the first time in my life I have anything planted in a pot/flower beds (excluding one other time in the past when I had some flowers on the balcony and the hot sun of the South killed them in less than two weeks).
Right now I am in Massachusetts.

Thank you so much.

PS: Pardon the misspelling in the title: I meant "caterpillar".

Last edited by syracusa; 06-06-2010 at 01:12 PM..
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Old 06-06-2010, 01:21 PM
 
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Those tiny black things in the last picture look like aphids. Some regular insecticide should be enough to take care of them.
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Old 06-06-2010, 01:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Padgett2 View Post
Those tiny black things in the last picture look like aphids. Some regular insecticide should be enough to take care of them.
You can also spray them off with regular water. if there is a garden supply store that carries ladybugs you might want to release them in your garden. Voracious eater, they took care of my infested autumn sedum about a month ago.
As for the geraniums, what did the caterpillars that you found look like?
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Old 06-06-2010, 01:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by TXNGL View Post
You can also spray them off with regular water. if there is a garden supply store that carries ladybugs you might want to release them in your garden. Voracious eater, they took care of my infested autumn sedum about a month ago.
As for the geraniums, what did the caterpillars that you found look like?
I only saw a couple of them...a while ago. I think they were green-ish/gray-ish.
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Old 06-06-2010, 01:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Padgett2 View Post
Those tiny black things in the last picture look like aphids. Some regular insecticide should be enough to take care of them.
So should I get some regular insecticide from Home Depot? Those tiny black things are only on the cosmos. I was just shocked when I woke up this morning and I saw the leaves of the cosmos all gone. Yesterday they were completely whole. It must have happened last night.

The geraniums don't have those - only the signs of being crunched by something.
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Old 06-06-2010, 01:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
So should I get some regular insecticide from Home Depot? Those tiny black things are only on the cosmos. I was just shocked when I woke up this morning and I saw the leaves of the cosmos all gone. Yesterday they were completely whole. It must have happened last night.

The geraniums don't have those - only the signs of being crunched by something.
Might be slugs getting the geraniums.
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Old 06-06-2010, 04:24 PM
 
Location: Albemarle, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXNGL View Post
Might be slugs getting the geraniums.
That was what I thought too. The geraniums are too moist too. They need to dry out between waterings.

Go out at night with a flashlight and see what's eating them. If you want to use a general pesticide, you can, but I'd try handpicking them first. Could be the work of one or two critters.
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Old 06-06-2010, 07:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by paperhouse View Post
The geraniums are too moist too. They need to dry out between waterings.
Hi Paperhouse,

This really caught my attention. I suppose you referred to my geraniums, and not in general. I am curious though how did you figure out that they are too moist, as I did not post any picture of the geranium plants themselves?
Is there any way you were able to tell by the look of those two leaves I showed in the link?

This is really helpful information. I do know that the soil is supposed to dry out between waterings and I DO wait until it gets dry. However, I also read that they like the soil to be somewhat moist, just not drenched, and that I should put some mulch at the base so that the soil retains the humidity longer. I did. I have not watered them in a while now but we've had quite a few days of rain lately and between the added mulch and the rainy days the geraniums are probably on the moist side, indeed.

I am just really curious as to how you were able to tell just by the look of those leaves!!

Thanks a lot!
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Old 06-06-2010, 07:38 PM
 
Location: The mountians of Northern California.
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We have problems with aphids on our roses. I have one of those fertilizer attachments for the garden hose. I put some dishwashing liquid into it, then spray my plants with it. I read somewhere that aphids usually stay where they were hatched, that they are not highly mobile bugs. So washing them off will usually get rid of them. But you need to look underneath the leaves too. If you have an area that is really covered in aphids, then you should trim it off if you can and toss it out. The dish soap seems to work pretty well and is easy to do. Some people have told me that they mix veggie oil and water to spray on their plants. I am afraid that might burn the plants on warm, sunny days.
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Old 06-06-2010, 08:34 PM
 
Location: NC, USA
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Pardon the misspelling in the title: I meant "caterpillar".

Not a problem, I too keep a dictionary close at hand.
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