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Beginner Flowers: Whats eating my flower foliage?

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destinip
Oklahoma City, OK
(Zone 7a)

July 24, 2012
3:50 PM

Post #9217239

These are stock vintage red thats what is says on the pack. I have grown them from seed so they are near and dear to my heart. This is my first year to EVER have flower gardens. Something keeps chowing down on my poor flowers leaves. Whats weird is that the rest of the flowers in the pot with them are fine (untouched). Help please I use Specticide that you hook to a hose regularly, but usually it doesnt help this problem. So I use aza max for these flowers. However if I dont catch them in time(everytime) then they start getting eaten. Now they are beginning to become unhealthy.

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JasperDale
Long Beach, CA
(Zone 10a)

July 24, 2012
10:30 PM

Post #9217651

Try using a granular systemic insecticide like is used on roses.
Looks like the damage is from an insect with chewing mouthparts. No visible fecal matter in the photo's so that sort of rules out cutworms and the like.
Systemics work well as the plant takes up the poison and when the culprit ingests it, they die.
purpleinopp
Opp, AL
(Zone 8b)

July 27, 2012
7:31 AM

Post #9220286

Great job on your flowers! Are they the fragrant kind?

Your plant looks like it's nowhere near being in mortal danger from whatever has been sampling it, possibly something that flew away never to return. Different critters like different foliage, as you've seen. Often the culprit is a caterpillar that will turn into a butterfly if left alone. Many gardeners grow specific plants so they can be devoured by caterpillars. It's really not practical or healthy to start slinging 'cides every time something takes a bite out of a leaf. Most of them will also kill the "good bugs" that eat the plant munchers, often making the problem worse by throwing off the natural balance by killing the predatory bugs. That's not a good trade IMO, not to mention the risk of kids and/or pets being exposed, if you have those around.

The Petunia growing with the stock is starting to make some seeds. If you cut the little stems off where there were flowers, it will bloom more and for a longer time. Not all of them look like they were pollinated but if you make a habit of cutting them off, you'll get a lot more mileage out of the plants. (Called deadheading.) I've circled the ones that are clear in your pic. If you would like to save some seeds, a couple pods is usually enough, each one is full of hundreds of seeds. Just make sure you choose one or two that were pollinated (apparent by a swelling green nub inside the little whorl of leaves at the tip.) If you look at your plant, it should be readily apparent nearest the base of the plant which have been pollinated and which haven't. You can put a twist-tie or something on the ones you're saving to remind you not to cut those off. When they turn brown and develop a small crack, they are ready. Don't wait too long or the crack will become wider and the seeds will spill on the ground. The plants they grow are likely to be different than what you have and it's always fun to see "what happens" with saved Petunia seeds.

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destinip
Oklahoma City, OK
(Zone 7a)

July 31, 2012
6:43 PM

Post #9225453

Thank you so much for your advice. I have been wondering what was going on with my petunias. I really studied and watched them. I know exactly when your saying the right time to cut them is I think. That will be a blast to see what will come from the seeds. The flowers are a little fragrant. I really like these flowers I bought them off Ebay so I never have known much about them so that makes them that much more interesting. Here is a picture of the whole flower bloomed. i have had non stop blooms all summer.

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purpleinopp
Opp, AL
(Zone 8b)

August 2, 2012
7:26 AM

Post #9226951

What a beautiful flower! I love that vibrant raspberry color!

Each Petunia flower only lasts one day. Removing those seed things on the Petunias is something I try to do at least twice a week.
destinip
Oklahoma City, OK
(Zone 7a)

August 3, 2012
1:27 PM

Post #9228439

Guess what... I have petunia seeds (lots of them) When can I plant them and what is the right way to start those seeds? I'm so excited to see them grow I can hardly wait. Thank you so much for teaching me.
purpleinopp
Opp, AL
(Zone 8b)

August 7, 2012
9:15 AM

Post #9232995

Hope someone with more experience on that chimes in. I'm usually so busy compulsively deadheading that I never have seeds. Now that I've moved south, they are perennials I don't have to worry about saving. Probably a good candidate for winter sowing. The plants grown from those seeds won't be identical to the "mama" and you may get several different variations from them. The mama is likely a hybrid, which don't produce hybrid seeds.

Had a pretty volunteer plant show up this year, though, so maybe I missed a pod somewhere or a bird dropped it from elsewhere. The palest barely-pink flowers with a lovely but faint fragrance. I took cuttings of it and planted it in 2 other places. Hope it comes back next year!

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Other Beginner Flowers Threads you might be interested in:

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