While geraniums are easy to grow, you may notice some small, pesky bugs- those are probably aphids. Aphids are annoying in small numbers but can seriously damage your geraniums in large numbers. Thankfully, there are several options when it comes to preventing and getting rid of aphids. We researched this topic thoroughly so you can get rid of these pests quickly.
To get rid of aphids on your geraniums, you can use either a commercial or homemade solution. Commercial solutions tend to last longer, while homemade solutions may have to be applied every few days. Common solutions include:
- Insecticidal soap
- Diatomaceous earth (DE)
- Neem oil
- Homemade solutions
We compiled all the information here so your geraniums can thrive aphid-free. Let's take a closer look at the problem and how to get rid of the pests.
What Are Aphids?
Aphids are small bugs that eat the sugars in plants, especially the leaves and stems. While a few aphids will not likely cause lasting damage to a plant, they multiply quickly, so it is crucial to get rid of them as soon as possible.
Because they may have wings, aphids are occasionally called plant lice or greenfly.
What do Aphids Look Like?
Aphids are small and come in a variety of colors, from green to pink to brown. Green is most common and blends in with leaves, making them difficult to spot.
A common sign of aphids is leaf curl. The leaves may also be sticky with honeydew, which aphids excrete. If you notice honeydew on the leaves, wipe it off as soon as possible. Even if there are no longer aphids on the plant, honeydew can foster the growth of mold, which inhibits photosynthesis.
While they can be found anywhere on most plants, they are usually on the undersides of leaves. This is especially the case for flowering plants such as roses and geraniums. Other common spots for aphids to feed are stems and the tops of leaves. While the insects can be found inside flowers, it is not common.
What Types of Aphids Attack Geraniums?
Rose aphids and Oleander aphids commonly attack geraniums. While any kind of aphid may attack geraniums, those are most common on geraniums and other flowering plants. Because aphids generally have a waxy film that many solutions attack, most solutions will work for all kinds of aphids.
While it is not essential to know which specific kind of aphid is attacking your geraniums, it can help when it comes to prevention and identification.
What Insecticides Should You Spray on Geraniums?
Insecticide soaps are a common organic option. When bought, they usually are premixed and ready for immediate application. This is an excellent alternative to a soapy water or vinegar mixture. It is convenient since it is premixed and usually has detailed application instructions and does not have to be applied as often as DIY mixtures.
While Pyrethrin Concentrate is an organic option, which is crucial if you are trying to keep an organic garden. A perk of using insecticides like Pyrethrin concentrate is they usually are used in small doses. Likewise, they typically do not need to be applied as often or as frequently as home remedies.
Diatomaceous earth is a common solution to a wide array of garden problems. It is a general insecticide, so it is not only useful for getting rid of aphids but also insects in general. Like many of the other solutions that get rid of aphids, it affects the waxy coating on the insects.
How do I Get Rid of Aphids Without Pesticides?
The most common pesticide-free option to getting rid of aphids is soap, water, and cayenne spray. To make it, mix one quart of water with one teaspoon of dish soap, then add a dash of cayenne.
While plain dish soap and water can work and kill aphids, it often takes longer than other remedies and needs to be applied every two days or so.
If there is a large infestation of aphids, after applying the soapy water mixture, sprinkle flour on the afflicted plant. The flour disrupts the aphids' digestive system. Because this is a slower acting solution, is it best used in conjunction with an insecticide or soapy water mixture.
A mixture of organic Neem oil, water, and a touch of dish soap, is an effective organic pesticide. It is poisonous to pests, so when they nibble on the leaves, they ingest the poison, which kills them. Neem oil is safe for animals and humans, though. It needs to be reapplied every couple of days, or if it rains.
Can I Use Vinegar to Kill Aphids?
Yes, you can use diluted vinegar to kill aphids. Create a mixture of around one part vinegar and three parts water, which dilutes the vinegar enough not to damage the plant of the soil while also making it potent enough to kill the aphids.
Like many other home remedies, a vinegar solution works best when applied every two to three days. Most varieties of vinegar will work for this mix, but apple cider vinegar and white vinegar are most common.
Make sure to dilute the vinegar sufficiently. If undiluted vinegar comes in contact with the soil, it can damage or kill the plant, and the aphids will likely not be affected. If you are worried about applying vinegar to the leaves, a soap mixture may be a better option for you.
Does Epsom Salt Kill Aphids?
Epson salt can be used in a soap mixture to kill aphids. Using the mix of mix one quart of water with one teaspoon of dish soap, add a tablespoon of Epsom salt and mix well. Then spray the mixture on the afflicted plant.
Apply the Epson salt mixture once every three to five days until the aphids are gone. This mixture kills the aphids and helps prevent other pests.
Do Banana Peels Keep Aphids Away?
While there has not been a lot of study on if banana peels keep bugs away, it is a relatively common natural remedy. Many gardeners claim cutting up a banana peel and burying it in a light layer of soil prevents aphids and other pests.
Banana peels are more of a preventative than a solution, so you must rid your self of the infestation first. Then you can apply banana peels to help keep aphids from coming back.
This remedy also supposedly helps prevent other insects such as ants and lacewings. Similarly, using orange peels is also noted as helping prevent pests.
This method is supposed to work because of d-Limonene damages the waxy coating on the exterior of many bugs.
Will Cinnamon Kill Aphids?
Cinnamon oil and powder kills and repels aphids.
Using two teaspoons of cinnamon oil in a soapy water mixture is the most effective and potent application of cinnamon. A dash of cinnamon powder can also be used in a soapy water mixture to aid in its effectiveness. Likewise, cinnamon powder can be sprinkled on and around plants to help prevent future pests. Cinnamon is also an effective fungicide.
Can Geranium Recover From Aphids?
Yes! Thankfully, most of the time, geraniums can recover from aphids. Geraniums generally do not need help to recover from aphids as long as they were already in a suitable condition and were in good health before the aphids attacked.
If your geranium is in bad shape or was not doing well before it was infested with aphids, consider moving it to a sunnier spot. Geraniums need full sun to thrive and to produce flowers. Lack of sun is a common problem with geraniums.
If your geranium is already getting enough sun and water, a lack of nutrients may also be a problem. A nitrogen-rich fertilizer can help your geranium bounce back from aphids. Occasionally giving geraniums fertilizer also helps prevent future damage from pests as well as weather.
As long as the aphids were only moderate in number, geraniums should bounce right back from the pest. If there were a large number of aphids, it might take a bit longer for the plants to recover, but they should still get back to thriving in a few weeks.
Do you have some more questions about caring for your Geraniums? Check out these interesting articles to learn more about geraniums and how to make yours thrive.