How To Eliminate The Threat Of Aphids Before They Harm Your Hydrangeas

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How To Eliminate The Threat Of Aphids Before They Harm Your Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas are a beautiful addition to any garden. However, they can be attacked by aphids, which can cause yellow leaves, stunted growth, and discoloration. To prevent this, there are a few things you can do. Firstly, plant your hydrangeas in well-draining soil with partial sun exposure. This will keep the plant healthy and discourage aphids. You should also consider planting taller companions nearby to provide shade and attract natural aphid predators like ladybugs and lacewings.

To care for your hydrangeas, provide a balanced fertilizer according to their specific needs, usually in spring and early summer. This will keep the plant strong and well-nourished, making it more resilient to aphid attacks and better able to recover from damage.

Encourage natural allies and discourage ant helpers

Discolored hydrangeas

Ombee Ly/Shutterstock

An easy way to stave off aphids is to welcome their enemies. Ladybugs, lacewings, and hoverflies can become your garden’s aphid-battling heroes. You can encourage their presence by attracting them to your garden. Planting enticing flowers they enjoy feeding on, like dill, fennel, oregano, and thyme, provides nectar and pollen for these beneficial insects. Avoid using broad-spectrum insecticides, as they can harm these friendly predators along with the pests. Additionally, you can plant aromatic herbs, such as garlic, dill, fennel, leeks, chives, and cilantro, to repel aphids.

Next, you’ll want to disrupt the ant-aphid association because ants and aphids often have a symbiotic relationship. Ants use aphids for their sugary honeydew secretions while protecting them from predators. To disrupt this co-dependent partnership, use ant baits or barriers around your hydrangeas. These will deter ants and make it harder for them to reach the aphids.

If you notice aphids, act quickly

Sticky traps for aphids

ccpixx photography/Shutterstock

With a little planning and effort, you can shield your plants and enjoy their vibrant beauty throughout the season. Always remember that prevention is key, and it’s much easier to deter aphids than to have an infestation and have to figure out how to get rid of them. Another deterrent is the use of sticky traps. Simply place sticky traps near your hydrangeas to attract and capture aphids before they reach your plants. Then, regularly monitor the traps and replace them when full.

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, aphids can still infest your hydrangeas. Even if aphids haven’t infested your plants, it is important to remember to regularly inspect your hydrangeas for early signs of aphid activity, such as curled leaves, sticky sap, and the presence of the insects themselves. Early detection allows for swift action and prevents larger infestations. By implementing these proactive measures, you can create a garden environment that discourages aphids and keeps your hydrangeas blooming beautifully.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.