An aphid infestation can be daunting and frustrating because aphids may seem almost impossible to eliminate. They are tiny, difficult to spot, and attack in swarms, making them quite challenging to control. However, the key is always to be alert to arrest the situation as early as possible to give your plants the best chances for a quick recovery.
Plants can recover from having aphids if effective treatment methods are applied consistently. You may also boost the chances of recovery if you identify the aphid early and act swiftly. To facilitate your plant’s swift recovery, you should ensure you properly maintain your plants.
We will talk about what you can do to help your plants recover quickly from an aphid infestation, how you can identify such a situation at the earliest possible time, and what you can do if you find yourself in the middle of such a predicament. We will also briefly discuss aphids and how they can destroy your plants. Let’s start!
How To Help Your Plant Recover From Having Aphids
Plants can quickly recover from aphids if you catch the situation early on through regular monitoring and scrutinizing your plants. Know your plants’ growth habits so you can easily detect any changes. Be alert to slight differences in color and texture.
You should also choose proven effective methods in eliminating aphids. Don’t stop until they’re entirely gone. Even so, ensure your plant’s health and wellness by choosing safe and organic aphid extermination methods that are proven effective against pests but non-toxic for plants.
Here are some things you can do to help your plant recover once you’ve gotten rid of aphids:
Assess the damage done to your plants. Cut off leaves and stems that are more than 50% damaged since these will unnecessarily waste the plant’s energy. Cutting them off will redirect energy into producing new healthy leaves. Remember not to cut off more than 80% of foliage because the plant might have too much trouble recuperating without having enough leaves for photosynthesis.
Focus on Plant Health
Give your plant a boost on the road to full recovery by including an all-natural fertilizer whenever you water your plant. Choose one that is tailor-fitted to your plant’s needs. Consider adding fertilizer weekly to give your plant a steady supply of nutrients. You may dilute some types of fertilizers to prevent damaging your plant.
It would be best to give your recovering plant a clean slate. Pull it out of its pot and move it to a new, sanitized planter. Provide fresh soil since the aphids may have already infested the old soil.
What Are Aphids?
Aphids are tiny, soft-bodied bugs that suck nutrient-rich fluids from plants. They are pear-shaped, with long antennae protruding from their heads and two short tubes coming from their behinds. They come in many colors – brown, gray, white, black, yellow, and pink – but are commonly light green.
These bugs are difficult to spot with the naked eye, but they move rather slowly and can thus be relatively easy to control. They feed in groups and are not at all picky with their food.
Most aphids are wingless, but they can develop wings when stressed about food scarcity brought about by their sheer number. Wings allow them to fly off to healthier plants and start a new colony there.
How To Tell if a Plant Has Aphids
Aphids feed on a plant’s nutritious juices. They get their sustenance from a plant’s leaves, flowers, stems, fruits, and even the roots. Aphids typically go for new growth because they are often tastier, more tender, and juicier.
Here are some clues that may signify that an aphid invasion is underway:
Sticky Leaves or Stems
This sticky, sweet substance, called honeydew, is usually secreted by insects that suck on plants. When left uncontrolled, honeydew will attract other insects (such as ants) that gather it for food. This can further hinder your plant’s growth and rob it of even more nutrients.
I’ve written an extensive guide about drowning scale insects on your plants. Don’t miss it: Can You Drown Scale On Your Plants?
Curling, Shriveling, Misshapen, and Yellowing Leaves
These signs usually mean that aphids are already feasting on your plants. Leaves will begin to yellow and wilt when they’re devoid of nutrients. Don’t forget to check your leaves’ undersides because aphids love hiding there.
Black Leaves, Branches, and Stems
The black substance, called black sooty mold, is a fungal growth. The culprit here is the honeydew that aphids have secreted onto your plant. The black sooty mold blocks photosynthesis, inhibiting your plant’s food and energy production.
Galls on Leaves, Roots, Flowers, or Fruits
Abnormal growth called galls sometimes forms on a plant when infested with pests. They usually aren’t harmful, especially those that occur in leaves. They’re more of a physical issue rather than a health concern.
Most galls are relatively harmless because they are mostly made up of plant tissue and result from a plant’s efforts to recover from pests or injury. However, galls growing on stems are potentially harmful, and pruning is the quickest remedy.
How To Get Rid of Aphids
Getting rid of aphids as soon as you spot them is the quickest way to save your plants. They are voracious eaters and will potentially kill your plants if you leave them to their own devices. Fortunately, aphids are among the easiest pests to eradicate.
Here are a few suggestions on how to get rid of aphids:
Unlike scale insects, aphids are not difficult to dislodge from your plants. A strong spray of water will generally send them flying off. Be mindful that they do not end up infesting some other poor plant.
Make sure to drive them away from your garden by hosing down your plants and directing the water toward a drain or collecting the aphids in a bucket of soapy water as they fall off your plants.
Neem Oil Solution
This oil is one of the safest and most effective routes to ridding your plants of aphids. Remember that neem oil will be most effective if it comes into direct contact with aphids. Spray this solution in early mornings or late afternoons so your plants won’t suffer from leaf burn since neem oil reacts to intense sunlight.
Here is how to make neem oil solution:
- Fill a large spray bottle with 16 ounces (473 ml) of clean water.
- Add 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of neem oil and 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of dish soap.
- Shake the bottle until you mix all the elements well.
Cayenne Pepper Spray
You can kill aphids upon contact when you use cayenne pepper spray. It is easy to make, purely organic, and proven safe for plants. Spray directly on the aphids and wipe them away with a cloth.
Here is how to make cayenne pepper spray:
- Pour 1 quart (946 ml) of clean water into a jar.
- Add 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of liquid dish soap and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
- Mix well.
Isopropyl Alcohol Insecticidal Spray
You should use this spray only on aphid-infested areas. Do not spray this over your entire plant, as this can damage your plant. The best time to use isopropyl alcohol insecticidal spray is in the late afternoons. This time of the day will prevent leaf burn as the sunlight is no longer at its peak.
Here is how to make isopropyl alcohol insecticidal spray:
- Fill a large spray bottle with 5 cups (1,200 ml) of water.
- Add 2 cups (480 ml) of isopropyl alcohol and 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of liquid dish soap.
- Shake the bottle to combine all the elements well.
Yellow Aphid Traps
Like most pests, the color yellow attracts aphids. You can make your own trap and strategically place it in your garden where aphids won’t be able to resist their lure. Traps can effectively rid your plants of aphids and can also be used to gauge how far along an infestation is.
Simply pour salt water into a shallow yellow tray and watch it slowly fill up with aphids. You can also purchase sticky yellow traps from gardening stores or even online. Aphids won’t be able to resist the bright yellow hue.
How To Keep Aphids Away
Prevention is always better than cure. It is much easier to exert effort to keep aphids and other pests away from your plants than to work doubly hard to get rid of them. There are many ways to do so; some even involve buying more plants – a guilty pleasure most plant lovers like indulging in.
Here are a few tips on how to keep aphids away:
Regular Plant Inspection
Inspect your plants regularly (at least twice a week), so you can catch any signs of pests early on. Check the leaves, the stem, the petioles, and even the soil. Don’t forget to scrutinize the undersides of leaves because aphids love hanging out here.
Drive away aphids from your garden, or discourage them from even approaching by strategically placing plants they don’t like all over your garden. You can also scatter these plants near those that aphids have previously invaded. This option is one of the best ways to prevent an aphid infestation.
Here are some plants that aphids can’t stand:
Not all insects are pests. Some are useful for plants because they help get rid of pests by feeding on them. You can attract them to your garden with the help of your flowers. If you’re worried that attracting them might attract pests, you can purchase these natural pest predators from gardening stores or online.
Beneficial insects include:
- Parasitic wasps
Use Insect Netting
Nettings effectively keep pests away by providing a physical barrier between your plants and any insects that may want to claim them as their new home. These are not harmful to plants since they allow sunlight and water to seep through. You won’t need to sacrifice Good airflow either. Make sure to get nettings ideal for the size of aphids to ensure that they won’t be able to squeeze through.
Aphids are among the easiest pests to eliminate because they have soft, unprotected bodies and are incapable of firmly attaching themselves to plants. Once you get rid of them, plants generally recover well, primarily if you address the situation promptly. Employ aphid extermination that will work best with your plants and the current garden setup.