Hydrangea Pests and Bugs

Hydrangeas, beloved for their lush blooms, often fall victim to pesky bugs. The most common hydrangea pests include aphids, spider mites, white flies and Japanese beetles. These pests suck sap, damage leaves, and compromise the plant’s health. Identifying these bugs early is crucial for the well-being of hydrangeas.

hydrangea pests bugs

How to Treat Different Pests on Hydrangeas?

Treating pests on hydrangeas means finding ways to remove or kill the insects that harm these plants. Different pests require varying methods to manage them.

For example, if aphids are the problem, you can spray soapy water on the hydrangeas to get rid of them. This simple mixture sticks to the aphids’ bodies and suffocates them.

Beetle infestations can be handled by picking the bugs off the plant and dropping them into a bucket of soapy water. This method directly removes the pests.

If spider mites are present, introducing natural predators like ladybugs can help, as these beneficial insects eat the mites.

However, it’s important to use the right treatment for each type of bug to be effective.

– Aphids

Aphids are small, green or black insects that feed on the sap of plants causing leaves to curl. To feed on the sap, these soft-bodied insects will usually attack new growths because they’re much easier to penetrate.

Ants on your hydrangeas can also indicate an underlying aphid problem because ants like to feed on the honeydew left behind by aphids.

If you don’t want to go down the route of insecticidal soaps and sprays, you can try addressing the issue by first spray hosing down the leaves with water.

If this doesn’t work, you’ll need to spray your hydrangeas with a broad range insecticidal soap or one that’s formulated to kill off aphids.

– Beetles

You’ll be quick to notice these bugs with shiny green and brown bodies munching on the petals or leaves of your hydrangeas.

Swarms of beetles can take down an entire plant in a matter of days, so if you notice them on your hydrangeas, it’s best that you take them down first.

The most straightforward way to deal with them is to remove them manually. Pesticides are another option.

hydrangea beetle

– Slugs

Slugs are another pest that can start eating the leaves of your hydrangeas if decaying matter is not around for them to feed on instead.

Ragged leaf edges or holes in your hydrangea leaves signal a slug problem. Slugs are active at night and can be captured with slug traps.

You can also spray the plant with soapy water to deter them from the leaves.

– Spider Mites

Spider mites gather on the underside of leaves and spin protective silk webs. As insects that feed on the sap of plants, they puncture leaves.

The webs are one way to tell if you have a spider mite infestation; the other way is to look for yellow or off-white spots on the leaves.

Spider mites thrive in hot and dry conditions. To treat a spider mite infestation, you can use miticides, natural or not, such as neem oil and Pyrethrum.

Ladybugs are a natural predator of spider mites. You can introduce ladybugs to your garden, and they will help you keep spider mites at bay.

spider mite infestation

– Whiteflies

Another sap-feeding insect that can damage hydrangeas are whiteflies. These are small, 1/16 inch long, white-winged insects that live on leaves.

Symptoms of a whitefly infestation include yellowing of the leaves, accumulation of honeydew (and ants as a corollary). In advanced cases, stunted growth and dieback can also be observed.

As far as insecticides go, the insecticide imidacloprid is most efficient against whiteflies. However, it has a detrimental effect on pollinators and other beneficial insects, so you might want to use it as a last resort.

Natural alternatives include neem oil or you can use a homemade mixture of dish soap, water and rubbing alcohol.

hydtangea whiteflies

How to Keep Pests Away from Hydrangeas?

Keeping pests away from hydrangeas means stopping bugs from harming these plants. First, give your hydrangeas space from other plants. Crowded plants invite more bugs. Next, spray your hydrangeas with water to knock pests off.

Cut away any parts of the plant that bugs have already infested. You can also spray your hydrangeas with safe chemicals before pests show up. This acts like a shield against bugs.

Attract birds or insects that eat these pests to your garden. These animals are natural controllers of pest populations.

Keeping Distance Between Plants

When you plant hydrangeas, make sure they have enough space between them. This space allows air to flow around each plant, which helps keep them dry. Wet leaves can lead to disease and attract pests.

By giving plants room, you avoid creating spots where bugs can easily spread and hide. This means keeping plants far enough apart that their leaves don’t touch when they’re fully grown.

Flushing with Water

Flushing with water means using a strong stream of water to wash bugs off hydrangea plants. When pests like aphids or spider mites invade, they can be hard to spot with the naked eye. However, they leave clues like sticky leaves or fine webs.

Gardeners can use a hose to spray the leaves and stems of the hydrangea. This acts like a rainstorm, knocking the bugs to the ground. Most insects that trouble hydrangeas cannot return to the plant once they’re washed off. Doing this can reduce the number of pests without using chemicals. It’s a simple method: you just point the water at the plants.

Pruning Infested Areas

Pruning infested areas means cutting off parts of a hydrangea plant that bugs have invaded. When insects like aphids or spider mites make a home on the leaves or stems, the plant may start to look sick. Getting rid of these infected parts can help stop the bugs from spreading. It’s like removing a bad apple from a bunch to keep the rest healthy.

You use sharp tools, like pruning shears, to snip off the damaged areas. You should always clean your tools after pruning to avoid spreading the pests. Remember to dispose of the pruned pieces away from your garden, so the pests don’t come back.

Preventive Spraying

Preventive spraying means using a spray before bugs attack hydrangeas. Imagine putting on sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun. Preventive spraying is like that, but for plants. It’s used to guard them against pests. You do this by spraying a substance on the hydrangeas which keeps the pests from wanting to come near.

This can be a chemical or a natural solution, like neem oil or insecticidal soap. By spraying these on your plants regularly, you help stop bugs from moving in and causing damage. It’s an important step for taking care of your hydrangeas and making sure they stay healthy and good-looking.

Encourage Natural Predators

Encouraging natural predators means inviting wildlife that eat pests. Some bugs are good for your garden because they feed on the bad bugs that harm your hydrangeas. For example, ladybugs love to eat aphids, one of the common pests found on hydrangeas.

Therefore, having ladybugs around can naturally control your aphid problem without using chemicals. You can encourage these helpful bugs by growing plants that they like or by not using pesticides that might kill them. By doing this, you create a healthy garden where the good bugs help get rid of the bad ones.

Hydrangeas   Updated: November 21, 2023
avatar Hi, I'm Amy, a devoted horticulturist and the creator of PlantIndex.com, where I use my expertise to help beginners foster their green thumbs. My blog is a vibrant community where I unravel the complexities of gardening and share my profound love for nature.
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