Pest on Black-Eyed Susan Container Plant

rachelthepoet(7)May 18, 2012

Hello Everyone! This is my first post!

I planted black-eyed susan seeds on April 2nd, and the plant has been doing very well! The pot is kept outside on my porch and gets full-sun during the day.

This week, I've noticed some chewed up leaves. There are some gnats flying around the plant, but I'm not sure if they could've caused this damage. It has been rainy for the past week, so I'm also not sure if the rain/extra moisture brought in the bugs.

Here is a picture:

http://i698.photobucket.com/albums/vv348/bogiethecat/oneandahalfmonths.jpg

Is it at the point where I need to treat? Do I just let this work itself out on its own? I'm a beginner gardener, and I don't want the bugs to kill my plant! THANK YOU!

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rina_

Rachel,

I don't see any chewed-up leaves...

I would just make sure that soil drains well, and perhaps even separate the clump (seems to be pretty dense). You could have easily 2 pots.
They are easy plants to grow and not demanding.
I am not expert on plants, but try to make sure that all plants have also good air circulation (especially ones prone to powdery mildew) - besides trying not to overwater.

Don't spray with anything, they attract beneficial insects, bees, butterflies, even hummingbirds.
You can cut off (deadhead) flowers when finished flowering to hopefully get few more and prevent self-seeding. I leave them on to ripen the seeds which are great food for birds in fall (love the yellow finches!).

Rina

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 10:20AM
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rachelthepoet(7)

Rina:

Thanks! I've taken your advice and separated the clump into two pots. I'm thinking the crowding might've made the soil too wet and attracted the bugs. The chewed up leaves are in the bottom of the picture. I discovered more chewed up leaves underneath as I was dividing the clumps, so I think I made the right decision.

It's a tough plant to repot! The leaves wanted to go every which way! Hope this helps them have room to breathe!

Thanks too for letting me know not to spray. I want all the good bugs and birds!

-Rachel

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 11:13AM
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rina_

Rachel

What kind of soil did you use in the pot? And does it have a drainage hole?
Did you see any critters around while repotting?

I also like to 'top-dress' (mulch?) my pots - put layer of pebbles on top of the soil. It keeps pots neat, squirrels (!) don't dig that much in my pots, and bugs prefer moist soil-so I spoil their environment at least little bit. The rocks/pebbles will also help to support young seedlings.
You can use small gravel or any decorative rocks.

Rina

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 11:12PM
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kathi_mdgd

Also look for a trail that is shiny around or in the pots,ifyou find that that is called "snail snot" and it means the snails are feasting on your plants,add a little sluggo and it solves the problem.

Also look for those little(we call them) inchworms,they kind of hunch up their backs as they move along.
HTH
Kathi

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 9:26PM
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rachelthepoet(7)

It's been 5 days now since I divided and repotted the black-eyed susans.

I didn't see any critters besides gnats when repotting. And I'm not happy to say that the gnats are still hanging around my now two black-eyed susan pots. When you get close to them, they're noticeable on the leaves and in the air around each plant.

I just use general potting soil (but now I'm wondering if I didn't get enough of the old soil off the roots). Both of my pots have good drainage holes in the bottom.

The plants were definitely both shocked by the transplant. The leaves haven't regained their spunk or color yet. I haven't watered them any on my own since I wanted the soil to dry out, but it has rained a few times.

-Rachel

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 1:20PM
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tropicofcancer(6b)

In my yard, black eyed susans are one of the favorite plants of groundhogs. Columbines are too. I have planted some of them way back in the yard and they make a broom stick out of them every year. But they survive but does not get a chance to flower. On the other hand it saves another patch of susans 15 ft away from it.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 9:53AM
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