Image by Carl E Lewis
By Kathleen Mierzejewski
Gardenias are beautiful flowers that a lot of people put in their gardens because of their beauty and ability to withstand many soil and temperature differences. They last through the season and will beautify any area around the home. However, they are susceptible to a few gardenia insects and related diseases. Let’s take a look at some common gardenia pests and their related problems with gardenias.
Common Gardenia Insects
One of the biggest gardenia leaf pests is the aphid. These can be quite challenging to deal with. These pesky gardenia bugs have soft little bodies and are tear-shaped. They cluster usually below leaves and around new growth on the gardenia plant. The aphids actually suck the fluid from the plant, which is why they like the new growth because it tends to be more lush and moist. Because they are a sucker, these garden insects can spread viruses as well.
As far as gardenia insects go, these particular gardenia bugs are quite hard to control. It is best to keep weeds down to a minimum in your flower garden and if you see ladybugs, don’t kill them. Ladybugs will eat the aphids. There are some pesticides that will work to control aphids, but you want to be sure not to kill the good bugs with the aphids. Neem oil is a good choice.
Another of the gardenia pests is the mealybug. Mealybugs are the most common gardenia leaf pests you will see. They are white and found in masses along the leaves of the gardenia. They tend to hide themselves along protected areas of the plant.
Common Insect Related Gardenia Diseases
Other than gardenia bugs, there are a few other gardenia diseases to consider. One of the worst gardenia diseases is sooty mold. Sooty mold is a foliage disease that turns the leaves of the gardenia black. It doesn’t injure the plant, but it does prevent sunlight from getting to the plant via the leaves, so the plant doesn’t perform as much photosynthesis. This is bad for the plant and can inhibit growth.
Sooty mold thrives on the honey dew created by gardenia bugs like aphids. If you control the aphids, you will also be able to control sooty mold.
Keeping these problems with gardenias in check requires constant diligence. Be sure to check your plants frequently and deal with any gardenia pests quickly to reduce the damage they cause.