Why are petunias sticky? | Gardening On

Petunias can be sticky

Have you ever found your petunias sticky? This is a problem, because the cause of them becoming like this is a plague that we must discover in order to identify and, consequently, apply the most appropriate treatment so that the plants recover.

But of course, there are several pests that can do that, so it is important that each and every one of them is known. Thus, we will ensure that they have a greater chance of getting ahead.

What are the pests that make petunias sticky? There are several, so let’s see them separately:

Sea Conches

Snails cause damage to plants

Snails cause damage to plants

We all know what snails are like: they are invertebrate animals that have a shell, and a very soft body with a fairly long neck. Good, they love moisture; in fact they come out shortly after it has rained, or even if it is lightly sparkling (or as we Spanish sometimes say: four drops fall).

Since they are herbivores, they eat plants, and have no preferencesor at least I would not say that they have them because I have seen them eat even cactus with thorns. Of course, the most serious damages are those suffered by plants, let’s say, harmless, that is, those that do not have thorns, and are also very tender, such as petunias.

What are the symptoms and/or damage that we will see? Mainly one: the leaves will be bitten. And yes, we will also realize that the petunias are sticky due to the saliva of these animals.

Treatment is quite simple: you just have to use a snail repellent, or a molluscicide (for sale here!). But if we opt for the latter and we have pets, it is important to make sure that the product is not toxic to them.


Plants can have mealybugsPlants can have mealybugs

Image – Flickr / Katja Schulz

The mealybugs They are one of the most common pests that the vast majority of ornamental plants have, including petunias. They appear especially during spring and summer, as the heat benefits them. There are many types, but the ones that can make our protagonists sticky are the ones that look like cotton, like the ribbed cochineal or the cottony one; that is to say, there are others, such as the San José louse, that go more unnoticed because they hardly secrete molasses after having fed.

This molasses is a substance that can make the leaves stick togetheror that the flower buds have difficulty opening. And, also, it is the one that can attract other pests, such as ants, which feed on said substance.

If we talk about the symptoms and damage, what we will see will be discolored spots in those areas where the mealybugs were. I mean, at first glance what will attract our attention the most will be the pest itself (those cotton balls that we mentioned before and their offspring that are like little white dots), but if we remove a mealybug then that is when we see the damage. Of course, it is important to keep in mind that they are concentrated on the underside of the leaves and at the base of them. It is in these places where we will have to search first.

The treatment, as petunias are small, is quite easy to apply. I recommend using diatomaceous earth (on sale here!), which is a natural and ecological product. You simply have to wet the plants with water and then pour the diatomaceous earth on top, on both sides of the leaves, and also the surface of the substrate. Of course, do it when the sun is not shining, since otherwise the water would burn the leaves when the magnifying glass effect occurs.


Insects can yellow the leaves

Insects can yellow the leaves.

The aphids or aphids are another very common pest that, like mealybugs, they secrete molasses which, too, attracts ants (in fact, if a plant has ants, it most likely has aphids as well).

These are animals that measure about 0,5cm long, with a green, orange or bluish-black body depending on the species. We will see them more in summer than in springbecause they prefer the heat since that is when they have a greater activity.

What are the symptoms? Well, if we suspect that a petunia has aphids, what we will do is inspect leaf undersides, stem bases, flower buds, and open flowers. It is in these places where they cause the most damage, which also greatly weaken the plant. For example, on the leaves we can see discolored spots, the flowers could wither before their time, and the flower buds wither without opening.

The treatment to apply can be the same as that of mealybugs, that is, diatomaceous earth. An anti-aphid insecticide can also be applied, but following the instructions on the product’s packaging.

As you have seen, there are several pests that make petunias sticky, but we hope these tips will help you get your plants back on their feet.

Why are petunias sticky? | Gardening On

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