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Care Guide
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Pests & Diseases
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Plantain lilies 'Alligator Alley'
Plantain lilies 'Alligator Alley'
Plantain lilies 'Alligator Alley'
Hosta 'Alligator Alley'
Hardiness Zones
Hardiness Zones
3 to 10
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Care Guide for Plantain lilies 'Alligator Alley'

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Watering Care
Watering Care
Details on Watering Care Watering Care
Soil Care
Soil Care
Sand, Chalky, Slightly acidic, Neutral, Slightly alkaline
Details on Soil Care Soil Care
Ideal Lighting
Ideal Lighting
Partial sun, Full shade
Details on Sunlight Requirements Ideal Lighting
Ideal Temperature
Ideal Temperature
3 to 10
Details on Temperature Ideal Temperature
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Plantain lilies 'Alligator Alley'
Sunlight
Sunlight
Partial sun
Hardiness Zones
Hardiness Zones
3 to 10
plant_info

Key Facts About Plantain lilies 'Alligator Alley'

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Attributes of Plantain lilies 'Alligator Alley'

Lifespan
Perennial
Plant Type
Herb
Plant Height
30 cm to 60 cm
Spread
60 cm to 90 cm
Leaf Color
White
Yellow
Green
Flower Size
7 cm
Flower Color
Purple
Leaf type
Deciduous
Ideal Temperature
0 - 35 ℃

Scientific Classification of Plantain lilies 'Alligator Alley'

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Common Pests & Diseases About Plantain lilies 'Alligator Alley'

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Leaf rot
Leaf rot Leaf rot
Leaf rot
This pathogen can cause the leaves to rot.
Solutions: Bacterial infections need to be treated quickly to prevent the spread to neighboring, healthy plants, potentially wiping out large sections of your indoor or outdoor garden. In mild cases: Use sterilized (10% bleach solution) pruning shears or scissors to remove any infected plant parts, making sure to dispose of them off site. Use a copper-based bactericide to treat the unaffected foliage, as well as the soil, and neighboring plants. Follow the manufacturer’s rate and timing directions found on the product label. In severe cases, where more than half the leaves are affected: Remove all of the infected plants from the garden, disposing of them off site. Treat the soil and neighboring plants using a copper-based bactericide. Follow the manufacturer’s rate and timing directions found on the product label.
Flower withering
Flower withering Flower withering
Flower withering
Flowers may dry out due to a sudden change in environment or because the plant has completed its normal flowering period.
Solutions: If flower withering is a natural progression due to age, there is nothing that can be done to slow or stop the process. Once hormones within the plant begin the process of senescence, it’s irreversible. For lack of water, immediately water the plant using room temperature rainwater, bottled spring water, or filtered tap water. Water container plants until excess water drains out the bottom; water in-ground plants until the soil is soaked but there isn’t standing water on the surface. In the event of nutritional deficiencies, the best solution is to use a granular or water-soluble liquid fertilizer, and apply it to the soil at about half the recommended dosage. Keep it off the leaves and make sure granular products are watered into the soil well. If the plant is infected with a bacterial or fungal pathogen, there is no course of treatment that cures the diseased plants. The best solution is to remove the infected plants and dispose of the plant material off-site. Do not put in a compost pile.
Caterpillars
Caterpillars Caterpillars
Caterpillars
Caterpillars are fleshy moth or butterfly larvae that come in an array of colors, patterns, and even hairstyles. They chew on leaves and flower petals, creating large, irregular holes.
Solutions: Even though caterpillars are diverse, they all chew on plant parts and can cause significant damage if present in large numbers. For severe cases: Apply insecticide. For an organic solution, spray plants with a Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which specifically affects the larval stage of moths and butterflies. Be sure to coat plants, since caterpillars need to ingest Bt for it to be effective. This will not harm other insects. Spray a chili extract. Chili seeds can be cooked in water to make a spicy spray that caterpillars don't like. Spray this mixture on the plants, but be aware it will also be spicy to humans. Introduce beneficial insects. Release beneficial insects to the garden that eat caterpillars, such as parasitic wasps. For less severe cases: Hand pick. Using gloves, pick off caterpillars on plants and dispose of them in a bucket of soapy water. Dust plants with diatomaceous earth. This powder is harmless to humans but irritates caterpillars. Therefore, it will make it difficult for caterpillars to move and eat.
Leaf beetles
Leaf beetles Leaf beetles
Leaf beetles
Leaf beetles are a class of colored insects 1 to 2 cm in size. They gnaw on leaves and petals resulting in small, round holes scattered over the surface.
Solutions: For less serious cases: Remove beetles, nymphs, and eggs. Remove all life stages of the beetles and kill them by placing them in a bucket of warm, soapy water. This can be done more easily by placing the bucket under affected leaves and shaking the plant. This method is most effective in the afternoon when leaf beetles are more active. Always dispose of insects in a sealed bag or container to avoid escape and spread. To treat more serious infestations: Apply organic insecticides. Use naturally-derived insecticides before moving on to synthetic insecticides. Neem oil and pyrethrum are naturally-derived insecticides that should be applied following label instructions. Apply synthetic insecticides. Examples of insecticides effective for leaf beetles include carbaryl, permethrin, and bifenthrin. Apply insecticides according to label instructions.
close
Leaf rot
plant poor
Leaf rot
This pathogen can cause the leaves to rot.
Overview
Overview
Leaf rot is very common among both house plants and garden plants. It affects foliage and occurs mainly when the leaves become wet due to rain or misting by the gardener. The cause is fungal disease and this is facilitated by the fungal spores adhering to wet leaves then penetrating the leaf and expanding rapidly. Damp conditions and poor air circulation will increase chances of infection taking place. Another factor are leaves that are damaged or have been penetrated by sap sucking insects that facilitate plant penetration.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
  1. Spores are able to cling to a damp leaf and penetrate, often through an existing wound.
  2. A small dark brown mark appears which expands rapidly as sporulation starts to take place.
  3. Quite quickly these bull's eye like circles can link together and the whole leaf turns dark and loses texture.
  4. Leaf drop occurs.
Disease Cause
Disease Cause
These symptoms are caused by a bacterial infection invading the plant. Bacteria from many sources in the environment (air, water, soil, diseased plants) enter a plant through wounds, or in some cases the stomata when they are open. Once inside the leaf tissue, the bacteria feed and reproduce quickly, breaking down healthy leaves.
Bacterial infections threaten most plant species, and are more prominent in wet weather that more easily transfers the bacteria from plant to plant, or from soil to plant.
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Flower withering
plant poor
Flower withering
Flowers may dry out due to a sudden change in environment or because the plant has completed its normal flowering period.
Overview
Overview
Flower withering occurs when flowers become weak, droopy, wilted, or faded until they can’t be revived. During withering, they begin to wrinkle and shrink until the flower becomes completely dry or dead.
Any flowers, regardless of the plant type or the climate they are grown in, are susceptible to withering. It is a worldwide problem across houseplants, herbs, flowering ornamentals, trees, shrubs, garden vegetables, and food crops.
Unlike wilting—which withering is often confused with—withering can be caused by different things and is often due to more than a lack of water. Withering can be fatal in severe cases.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Flower withering progresses from very mild cases to severe occurrences that kill the flower. The severity of the symptoms is related to the cause and how long the condition is allowed to progress before action is taken.
  • Wilted, droopy flowers
  • Petals and leaves begin to wrinkle
  • Brown papery streaks or spots appear on the petals and leaf tips
  • Flowerhead shrink in size
  • Petal color fades
  • Yellowing leaves
  • Complete death of the flower
Disease Cause
Disease Cause
The main causes of flower withering include natural age progress, lack of water, nutritional deficiencies, and bacterial or fungal diseases. It’s critical to determine the underlying cause when flower withering is noticed. This will guide the best course of action, if treatment is possible.
Check the soil for moisture and then closely examine the entire plant for signs of nutrient deficiencies. If neither of those appears to be the cause then cut open the stem below a flower. If a cross-section reveals brown or rust-colored stains it is safe to assume that this is a bacterial or fungal infection.
If the flower is nearing the end of its normal lifespan, genetic coding within the plant increases the production of ethylene, a phytohormone that controls senescence, or cell aging and death. Cell division stops and the plant begins breaking down resources within the flower to use in other parts of the plant.
In all other cases, flower withering happens when the plant seals off the stem as a defense mechanism, stopping transport within the vascular system. This prevents further water loss through the flowers but also stops bacteria and fungi from moving to healthy parts of the plant. Once water and nutrient transport stops, the flower begins to wither and ultimately die.
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Caterpillars
plant poor
Caterpillars
Caterpillars are fleshy moth or butterfly larvae that come in an array of colors, patterns, and even hairstyles. They chew on leaves and flower petals, creating large, irregular holes.
Overview
Overview
Caterpillars can cause problems for home gardeners. If not managed, these insects can defoliate a plant in just a matter of days. However, home gardeners face a challenge because these caterpillars eventually turn into beautiful butterflies and moths, which are important for pollination and the general ecosystem.
There are thousands of different species of caterpillars and many will only target certain plants. If caterpillars are posing a problem, they can be removed by hand, or gardeners can use insect-proof netting to protect their valuable plants.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Caterpillars are the larvae of butterflies and moths. During the warmer months, butterflies and moths that visit gardens will lay their eggs on the underside of leaves.
When the tiny eggs hatch, the young larvae emerge and start feeding on the leaves of the plant. Depending on how many larvae have hatched, they can easily defoliate the plant in a very short period of time. Caterpillars will shed their skin as they grow, around 4 or 5 times during this feeding cycle.
Symptoms of caterpillars eating plants appear as holes in the leaves. The edges of the leaves may be eaten away as well, and flowers can be affected as well.
Some are easy to see, but others need to be searched for. This is because their bodies are often camouflaged to look like part of the plant. Gardeners need to look carefully along the stems of the plant as well as under the leaves. Also, look for tiny white, yellow, or brown eggs that can be found in groups on the underside of leaves.
Once the caterpillar is fully grown, it transforms into a pupa or chrysalis. Then, after a period of time that varies according to the species, a butterfly or moth will emerge from the pupa and the cycle begins again.
Solutions
Solutions
Even though caterpillars are diverse, they all chew on plant parts and can cause significant damage if present in large numbers.
For severe cases:
  1. Apply insecticide. For an organic solution, spray plants with a Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which specifically affects the larval stage of moths and butterflies. Be sure to coat plants, since caterpillars need to ingest Bt for it to be effective. This will not harm other insects.
  2. Spray a chili extract. Chili seeds can be cooked in water to make a spicy spray that caterpillars don't like. Spray this mixture on the plants, but be aware it will also be spicy to humans.
  3. Introduce beneficial insects. Release beneficial insects to the garden that eat caterpillars, such as parasitic wasps.
For less severe cases:
  1. Hand pick. Using gloves, pick off caterpillars on plants and dispose of them in a bucket of soapy water.
  2. Dust plants with diatomaceous earth. This powder is harmless to humans but irritates caterpillars. Therefore, it will make it difficult for caterpillars to move and eat.
Continue reading in our app - it's better
A database of 400000+ plants and unlimited guides at your fingertips...
qrcode
Scan the QR code with your phone camera to download the app
Leaf beetles
plant poor
Leaf beetles
Leaf beetles are a class of colored insects 1 to 2 cm in size. They gnaw on leaves and petals resulting in small, round holes scattered over the surface.
Overview
Overview
Leaf beetles range in size from 1.5 mm to 2 cm. Both adult beetles and their larvae eat the leaves of many different types of plants. There are over 35,000 different species of leaf beetles, in a variety of colors including gold, green, yellow-striped, and red striped. Some of these have been mistaken for ladybirds because of their shape and coloring. They can be oval, round, or elongated in shape. These insect pests are most active in spring and summer.
If not controlled, leaf beetles can do a lot of damage to vegetable crops and ornamental plants. They feed on the leaves, flowers, stems, roots, and fruits of different plants. They can fly, which means it's easy for them to move from one plant to another. Some species of leaf beetles only target one specific crop, while others will target many different types of plants. Although a lot of the damage that they cause is cosmetic, an infestation can weaken a plant and leave it prone to other more problematic diseases.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
The first signs of a leaf beetles infestation are small visible holes in leaves. Leaves then become discolored and dark beetle droppings can be seen. As the leaves turn yellow and brown, they will drop off the plant onto the ground. Some leaves will appear skeletonized with only the veins still remaining.
Infestation begins in spring, when the adult beetles emerge from the soil and lay their eggs on the leaves of plants. When these eggs hatch, the young nymphs start munching on the leaves as they grow up. Once leaf beetles are large and mature, they'll fall to the ground and pupate in the soil over winter before starting the cycle all over again.
Leaf beetles also eat holes in fruits and vegetables. These can be seen as small round holes that sometimes have a larger brown area surrounding them.
Solutions
Solutions
For less serious cases:
  1. Remove beetles, nymphs, and eggs. Remove all life stages of the beetles and kill them by placing them in a bucket of warm, soapy water. This can be done more easily by placing the bucket under affected leaves and shaking the plant. This method is most effective in the afternoon when leaf beetles are more active. Always dispose of insects in a sealed bag or container to avoid escape and spread.
To treat more serious infestations:
  1. Apply organic insecticides. Use naturally-derived insecticides before moving on to synthetic insecticides. Neem oil and pyrethrum are naturally-derived insecticides that should be applied following label instructions.
  2. Apply synthetic insecticides. Examples of insecticides effective for leaf beetles include carbaryl, permethrin, and bifenthrin. Apply insecticides according to label instructions.
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Pests & Diseases
Plantain lilies 'Alligator Alley'
Plantain lilies 'Alligator Alley'
Plantain lilies 'Alligator Alley'
Hosta 'Alligator Alley'
Hardiness Zones
Hardiness Zones
3 to 10
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care guide

Care Guide for Plantain lilies 'Alligator Alley'

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Key Facts About Plantain lilies 'Alligator Alley'

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Feedback
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Attributes of Plantain lilies 'Alligator Alley'

Lifespan
Perennial
Plant Type
Herb
Plant Height
30 cm to 60 cm
Spread
60 cm to 90 cm
Leaf Color
White
Yellow
Green
Flower Size
7 cm
Flower Color
Purple
Leaf type
Deciduous
Ideal Temperature
0 - 35 ℃
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Scientific Classification of Plantain lilies 'Alligator Alley'

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pests

Common Pests & Diseases About Plantain lilies 'Alligator Alley'

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Common issues for Plantain lilies 'Alligator Alley' based on 10 million real cases
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Plant disease auto-diagnose & prevention
AI-powered plant doctor helps you diagnose plant problems in seconds.
Download the App for Free
Leaf rot
Leaf rot Leaf rot Leaf rot
This pathogen can cause the leaves to rot.
Solutions: Bacterial infections need to be treated quickly to prevent the spread to neighboring, healthy plants, potentially wiping out large sections of your indoor or outdoor garden. In mild cases: Use sterilized (10% bleach solution) pruning shears or scissors to remove any infected plant parts, making sure to dispose of them off site. Use a copper-based bactericide to treat the unaffected foliage, as well as the soil, and neighboring plants. Follow the manufacturer’s rate and timing directions found on the product label. In severe cases, where more than half the leaves are affected: Remove all of the infected plants from the garden, disposing of them off site. Treat the soil and neighboring plants using a copper-based bactericide. Follow the manufacturer’s rate and timing directions found on the product label.
Learn More About the Leaf rot more
Flower withering
Flower withering Flower withering Flower withering
Flowers may dry out due to a sudden change in environment or because the plant has completed its normal flowering period.
Solutions: If flower withering is a natural progression due to age, there is nothing that can be done to slow or stop the process. Once hormones within the plant begin the process of senescence, it’s irreversible. For lack of water, immediately water the plant using room temperature rainwater, bottled spring water, or filtered tap water. Water container plants until excess water drains out the bottom; water in-ground plants until the soil is soaked but there isn’t standing water on the surface. In the event of nutritional deficiencies, the best solution is to use a granular or water-soluble liquid fertilizer, and apply it to the soil at about half the recommended dosage. Keep it off the leaves and make sure granular products are watered into the soil well. If the plant is infected with a bacterial or fungal pathogen, there is no course of treatment that cures the diseased plants. The best solution is to remove the infected plants and dispose of the plant material off-site. Do not put in a compost pile.
Learn More About the Flower withering more
Caterpillars
Caterpillars Caterpillars Caterpillars
Caterpillars are fleshy moth or butterfly larvae that come in an array of colors, patterns, and even hairstyles. They chew on leaves and flower petals, creating large, irregular holes.
Solutions: Even though caterpillars are diverse, they all chew on plant parts and can cause significant damage if present in large numbers. For severe cases: Apply insecticide. For an organic solution, spray plants with a Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which specifically affects the larval stage of moths and butterflies. Be sure to coat plants, since caterpillars need to ingest Bt for it to be effective. This will not harm other insects. Spray a chili extract. Chili seeds can be cooked in water to make a spicy spray that caterpillars don't like. Spray this mixture on the plants, but be aware it will also be spicy to humans. Introduce beneficial insects. Release beneficial insects to the garden that eat caterpillars, such as parasitic wasps. For less severe cases: Hand pick. Using gloves, pick off caterpillars on plants and dispose of them in a bucket of soapy water. Dust plants with diatomaceous earth. This powder is harmless to humans but irritates caterpillars. Therefore, it will make it difficult for caterpillars to move and eat.
Learn More About the Caterpillars more
Leaf beetles
Leaf beetles Leaf beetles Leaf beetles
Leaf beetles are a class of colored insects 1 to 2 cm in size. They gnaw on leaves and petals resulting in small, round holes scattered over the surface.
Solutions: For less serious cases: Remove beetles, nymphs, and eggs. Remove all life stages of the beetles and kill them by placing them in a bucket of warm, soapy water. This can be done more easily by placing the bucket under affected leaves and shaking the plant. This method is most effective in the afternoon when leaf beetles are more active. Always dispose of insects in a sealed bag or container to avoid escape and spread. To treat more serious infestations: Apply organic insecticides. Use naturally-derived insecticides before moving on to synthetic insecticides. Neem oil and pyrethrum are naturally-derived insecticides that should be applied following label instructions. Apply synthetic insecticides. Examples of insecticides effective for leaf beetles include carbaryl, permethrin, and bifenthrin. Apply insecticides according to label instructions.
Learn More About the Leaf beetles more
close
Leaf rot
plant poor
Leaf rot
This pathogen can cause the leaves to rot.
Overview
Overview
Leaf rot is very common among both house plants and garden plants. It affects foliage and occurs mainly when the leaves become wet due to rain or misting by the gardener. The cause is fungal disease and this is facilitated by the fungal spores adhering to wet leaves then penetrating the leaf and expanding rapidly. Damp conditions and poor air circulation will increase chances of infection taking place. Another factor are leaves that are damaged or have been penetrated by sap sucking insects that facilitate plant penetration.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
  1. Spores are able to cling to a damp leaf and penetrate, often through an existing wound.
  2. A small dark brown mark appears which expands rapidly as sporulation starts to take place.
  3. Quite quickly these bull's eye like circles can link together and the whole leaf turns dark and loses texture.
  4. Leaf drop occurs.
Disease Cause
Disease Cause
These symptoms are caused by a bacterial infection invading the plant. Bacteria from many sources in the environment (air, water, soil, diseased plants) enter a plant through wounds, or in some cases the stomata when they are open. Once inside the leaf tissue, the bacteria feed and reproduce quickly, breaking down healthy leaves.
Bacterial infections threaten most plant species, and are more prominent in wet weather that more easily transfers the bacteria from plant to plant, or from soil to plant.
Solutions
Solutions
Bacterial infections need to be treated quickly to prevent the spread to neighboring, healthy plants, potentially wiping out large sections of your indoor or outdoor garden.
In mild cases: Use sterilized (10% bleach solution) pruning shears or scissors to remove any infected plant parts, making sure to dispose of them off site. Use a copper-based bactericide to treat the unaffected foliage, as well as the soil, and neighboring plants. Follow the manufacturer’s rate and timing directions found on the product label.
In severe cases, where more than half the leaves are affected: Remove all of the infected plants from the garden, disposing of them off site. Treat the soil and neighboring plants using a copper-based bactericide. Follow the manufacturer’s rate and timing directions found on the product label.
Prevention
Prevention
  1. Clean up garden debris at the end of the season, especially if it contains any diseased plant tissue. Diseases can overwinter from season to season and infect new plants.
  2. Avoid overhead watering to prevent transferring pathogens from one plant to another, and to keep foliage dry.
  3. Mulch around the base of plants to prevent soil-borne bacteria from splashing up onto uninfected plants.
  4. Sterilize cutting tools using a 10% bleach solution when gardening and moving from one plant to another.
  5. Do not work in your garden when it is wet.
  6. Rotate crops to prevent the buildup of bacteria in one site due to continuous cropping.
  7. Use a copper or streptomycin-containing bactericide in early spring to prevent infection. Read label directions carefully as they are not suitable for all plants.
  8. Ensure plants are well spaced and thin leaves on densely leaved plants so that air circulation is maximised.
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Flower withering
plant poor
Flower withering
Flowers may dry out due to a sudden change in environment or because the plant has completed its normal flowering period.
Overview
Overview
Flower withering occurs when flowers become weak, droopy, wilted, or faded until they can’t be revived. During withering, they begin to wrinkle and shrink until the flower becomes completely dry or dead.
Any flowers, regardless of the plant type or the climate they are grown in, are susceptible to withering. It is a worldwide problem across houseplants, herbs, flowering ornamentals, trees, shrubs, garden vegetables, and food crops.
Unlike wilting—which withering is often confused with—withering can be caused by different things and is often due to more than a lack of water. Withering can be fatal in severe cases.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Flower withering progresses from very mild cases to severe occurrences that kill the flower. The severity of the symptoms is related to the cause and how long the condition is allowed to progress before action is taken.
  • Wilted, droopy flowers
  • Petals and leaves begin to wrinkle
  • Brown papery streaks or spots appear on the petals and leaf tips
  • Flowerhead shrink in size
  • Petal color fades
  • Yellowing leaves
  • Complete death of the flower
Disease Cause
Disease Cause
The main causes of flower withering include natural age progress, lack of water, nutritional deficiencies, and bacterial or fungal diseases. It’s critical to determine the underlying cause when flower withering is noticed. This will guide the best course of action, if treatment is possible.
Check the soil for moisture and then closely examine the entire plant for signs of nutrient deficiencies. If neither of those appears to be the cause then cut open the stem below a flower. If a cross-section reveals brown or rust-colored stains it is safe to assume that this is a bacterial or fungal infection.
If the flower is nearing the end of its normal lifespan, genetic coding within the plant increases the production of ethylene, a phytohormone that controls senescence, or cell aging and death. Cell division stops and the plant begins breaking down resources within the flower to use in other parts of the plant.
In all other cases, flower withering happens when the plant seals off the stem as a defense mechanism, stopping transport within the vascular system. This prevents further water loss through the flowers but also stops bacteria and fungi from moving to healthy parts of the plant. Once water and nutrient transport stops, the flower begins to wither and ultimately die.
Solutions
Solutions
If flower withering is a natural progression due to age, there is nothing that can be done to slow or stop the process. Once hormones within the plant begin the process of senescence, it’s irreversible.
For lack of water, immediately water the plant using room temperature rainwater, bottled spring water, or filtered tap water. Water container plants until excess water drains out the bottom; water in-ground plants until the soil is soaked but there isn’t standing water on the surface.
In the event of nutritional deficiencies, the best solution is to use a granular or water-soluble liquid fertilizer, and apply it to the soil at about half the recommended dosage. Keep it off the leaves and make sure granular products are watered into the soil well.
If the plant is infected with a bacterial or fungal pathogen, there is no course of treatment that cures the diseased plants. The best solution is to remove the infected plants and dispose of the plant material off-site. Do not put in a compost pile.
Prevention
Prevention
This is definitely one of those instances where prevention is more effective than cure. Here are some preventative measures for avoiding premature flower withering.
  • Water plants according to their needs -- either keep the soil slightly moist or allow the top inch or two to dry out before watering again.
  • Fertilize lightly on a consistent basis, depending upon the plant’s growth. Quick-growing plants and those that flower or develop fruit will need more frequent fertilizing than slow-growing plants.
  • Purchase plants that are certified disease- or pathogen-free.
  • Look for disease-resistant cultivars.
  • Isolate plants showing disease symptoms to prevent the spread to neighboring plants.
  • Practice good plant hygiene by removing any fallen plant material as soon as possible.
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unlimited guides at your fingertips...
close
Caterpillars
plant poor
Caterpillars
Caterpillars are fleshy moth or butterfly larvae that come in an array of colors, patterns, and even hairstyles. They chew on leaves and flower petals, creating large, irregular holes.
Overview
Overview
Caterpillars can cause problems for home gardeners. If not managed, these insects can defoliate a plant in just a matter of days. However, home gardeners face a challenge because these caterpillars eventually turn into beautiful butterflies and moths, which are important for pollination and the general ecosystem.
There are thousands of different species of caterpillars and many will only target certain plants. If caterpillars are posing a problem, they can be removed by hand, or gardeners can use insect-proof netting to protect their valuable plants.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
Caterpillars are the larvae of butterflies and moths. During the warmer months, butterflies and moths that visit gardens will lay their eggs on the underside of leaves.
When the tiny eggs hatch, the young larvae emerge and start feeding on the leaves of the plant. Depending on how many larvae have hatched, they can easily defoliate the plant in a very short period of time. Caterpillars will shed their skin as they grow, around 4 or 5 times during this feeding cycle.
Symptoms of caterpillars eating plants appear as holes in the leaves. The edges of the leaves may be eaten away as well, and flowers can be affected as well.
Some are easy to see, but others need to be searched for. This is because their bodies are often camouflaged to look like part of the plant. Gardeners need to look carefully along the stems of the plant as well as under the leaves. Also, look for tiny white, yellow, or brown eggs that can be found in groups on the underside of leaves.
Once the caterpillar is fully grown, it transforms into a pupa or chrysalis. Then, after a period of time that varies according to the species, a butterfly or moth will emerge from the pupa and the cycle begins again.
Solutions
Solutions
Even though caterpillars are diverse, they all chew on plant parts and can cause significant damage if present in large numbers.
For severe cases:
  1. Apply insecticide. For an organic solution, spray plants with a Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which specifically affects the larval stage of moths and butterflies. Be sure to coat plants, since caterpillars need to ingest Bt for it to be effective. This will not harm other insects.
  2. Spray a chili extract. Chili seeds can be cooked in water to make a spicy spray that caterpillars don't like. Spray this mixture on the plants, but be aware it will also be spicy to humans.
  3. Introduce beneficial insects. Release beneficial insects to the garden that eat caterpillars, such as parasitic wasps.
For less severe cases:
  1. Hand pick. Using gloves, pick off caterpillars on plants and dispose of them in a bucket of soapy water.
  2. Dust plants with diatomaceous earth. This powder is harmless to humans but irritates caterpillars. Therefore, it will make it difficult for caterpillars to move and eat.
Prevention
Prevention
Prevention may require less effort than attempts to eradicate infestations that have already begun. Here are our top steps for prevention:
  1. Monitor plants. Check plants regularly for caterpillar eggs on leaves. If they do not belong to an endangered species, they should be squished.
  2. Use insect netting. Cover plants with insect netting to prevent butterflies and moths from laying eggs on plants.
  3. Apply diatomaceous earth. Apply DE to plants early in the season and reapply after rain.
  4. Encourage plant diversity. This will attract predatory insects including parasitic wasps.
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Leaf beetles
plant poor
Leaf beetles
Leaf beetles are a class of colored insects 1 to 2 cm in size. They gnaw on leaves and petals resulting in small, round holes scattered over the surface.
Overview
Overview
Leaf beetles range in size from 1.5 mm to 2 cm. Both adult beetles and their larvae eat the leaves of many different types of plants. There are over 35,000 different species of leaf beetles, in a variety of colors including gold, green, yellow-striped, and red striped. Some of these have been mistaken for ladybirds because of their shape and coloring. They can be oval, round, or elongated in shape. These insect pests are most active in spring and summer.
If not controlled, leaf beetles can do a lot of damage to vegetable crops and ornamental plants. They feed on the leaves, flowers, stems, roots, and fruits of different plants. They can fly, which means it's easy for them to move from one plant to another. Some species of leaf beetles only target one specific crop, while others will target many different types of plants. Although a lot of the damage that they cause is cosmetic, an infestation can weaken a plant and leave it prone to other more problematic diseases.
Symptom Analysis
Symptom Analysis
The first signs of a leaf beetles infestation are small visible holes in leaves. Leaves then become discolored and dark beetle droppings can be seen. As the leaves turn yellow and brown, they will drop off the plant onto the ground. Some leaves will appear skeletonized with only the veins still remaining.
Infestation begins in spring, when the adult beetles emerge from the soil and lay their eggs on the leaves of plants. When these eggs hatch, the young nymphs start munching on the leaves as they grow up. Once leaf beetles are large and mature, they'll fall to the ground and pupate in the soil over winter before starting the cycle all over again.
Leaf beetles also eat holes in fruits and vegetables. These can be seen as small round holes that sometimes have a larger brown area surrounding them.
Solutions
Solutions
For less serious cases:
  1. Remove beetles, nymphs, and eggs. Remove all life stages of the beetles and kill them by placing them in a bucket of warm, soapy water. This can be done more easily by placing the bucket under affected leaves and shaking the plant. This method is most effective in the afternoon when leaf beetles are more active. Always dispose of insects in a sealed bag or container to avoid escape and spread.
To treat more serious infestations:
  1. Apply organic insecticides. Use naturally-derived insecticides before moving on to synthetic insecticides. Neem oil and pyrethrum are naturally-derived insecticides that should be applied following label instructions.
  2. Apply synthetic insecticides. Examples of insecticides effective for leaf beetles include carbaryl, permethrin, and bifenthrin. Apply insecticides according to label instructions.
Prevention
Prevention
To prevent infestations of leaf beetles, follow these practices.
  1. Regularly check for beetles. To prevent large pest infestations, be proactive about frequently checking plants for pests and removing them quickly.
  2. Clear debris. Clear weeds and debris to remove areas where these beetles may overwinter and hide.
  3. Attract natural predators. Birds and other insects, such as wasps and ladybugs, are effective natural predators of leaf beetles. Encourage them to visit by including a diverse array of plants to provide habitat and food. Also, avoid applying broad-spectrum herbicides that can harm and kill beneficial insects.
  4. Plant aromatic herbs like mint, garlic, or rosemary, as these can repel leaf beetles.
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