Heucheras eaten 2012; usual suspects don't seem culprits

Baltimore, MD

The past two summers, my collection of heucheras was largely chewed down to the veins. These included Paris, Georgia Peach, a small one w/white and green leaves, heucherellas and various others, excepting Caramel which was mostly ignored. These plants are located in varying degrees of partial shade in a tiered flower bed. Other plants in the bed include campanula, Japanese ferns, ajuga and astilbes left untouched. The plant bed is about 6' by 8' and is located between the house and a small stand of oak trees with the ground covered by English ivy and organic debris.

Both years I began treatment with beer in 5 small dishes spread around, suspecting slugs but found no bodies in the dishes after several days. Next, I tried to spray w/insecticidal soap. This was impractical as it is almost impossible to cover the underside of the leaves because they are so close to the ground.

I enjoy the variety of colors, shadings and blossoms of these plants and don't want to give up on them. Can you help?

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 7a)

Hi Violet! Do you have deer in your neighborhood? My sister got a bunch of heuchera because she was told they were deer resistant, but they were all deer food within a couple of weeks. But then deer damage wouldn't look like that where the leaves were chewed down to the veins.

I wonder if there are caterpillars or beetles that do this kind of damage?

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Hmm. I have a fair number of heuchera, but I haven't noticed them be eaten -- and we have tons of slugs.

Deer don't touch our heuchera.

We had all of our Sedum Autumn Joy eaten last summer, after having it for years without incident, and I decided the problem was birds. Could birds be eating your heuchera?

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I had a Heuchera eaten to the vein like that, once. I don't know what did it. But those skinny stems were there sticking up and a couple whole leaves...try this link for picture

Sorry - this wasn't too helpful.

You know- in the last couple summers I have learned how devastating Asiatic Garden Beetles can be, to certain plants they like. And they eat at night when you don't see them.

This message was edited Feb 2, 2013 11:03 PM

central, NJ(Zone 6b)


Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

I have slug issues I have pulled them off of some of my Heucheras.

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

As an experiment, maybe you could try putting one of the Heucheras in a little "cage" that would keep birds, rabbits and deer at bay, to see if it improves in comparison to those that you leave unprotected. I'm just envisioning a few stakes and some bird screening material, or the like.

Taylorsville, KY

I had Blister Beetles do that to all my anemones for the first time this year...literally within a day.....

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

That's terrible! Especially for Heuchera -- they can be pricey.

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