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What's eating my geraniums?

Posted by layneev z6 CT (My Page) on
Thu, Aug 2, 07 at 12:53

Hello, all. I also posted this on the Geraniums forum, so I apologize to those who frequent both, but I thought the experts here might have an idea, too. In May I planted a number of hardy geraniums in a big new bed under a large sugar maple, along with epimediums, alchemilla, tiarella, a few others. Everything seemed to be going fine, lots of blooms, etc. But over a couple of weeks I began to notice that there weren't as many blossoms, or leaves, and then one day I became acutely aware that SOMETHING has eaten just about every leaf of three Johnson's Blue, one Nimbus, one Rozanne, two or three macrorrhizums. Several more macrorrizums (Spessart and Album) seem okay, not blooming so much any more but they still have most of their leaves! The three Biokovos look nibbled on but not totally eaten. But the Johnson's Blues, Nimbus and Rozanne look like spider plants! It does look as if a few new leaves are coming in. None of the other plants seem affected. I've been watering regularly when we don't get rain, to try to get everything established. I don't see any slugs or sign of slugs. We do have deer, but not this close to the house (usually....), and I've sprayed the new plants a couple of times this year with Deer Solution so nothing (so far...) has been eaten, and I think if it was a deer the whole plant would be eaten, not just the leaves delicately nibbled off. Anyway, any thoughts would be much appreciated. Thank you all!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: What's eating my geraniums?

  • Posted by nancyd 5/Rochester, NY (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 2, 07 at 15:54

You'd be surprised. Deer don't eat the entire plant, just the parts they like. I've got headless phlox all over my front garden. They left the stems and leaves intact - but no flowers. They do the same with lilies.

RE: What's eating my geraniums?

I had the same problem with my Rozanne and Johnson's Blue this year. In my case, it was definitely deer; I caught them in the act in the early hours of the morning. [insert shaking fist]. It's interesting, because they had never touched them in previous years. I sheared off the munched-on areas, and they've come back nicely with a little help from Liquid Fence.

The deer also did in my oriental lilies and many of my prized daylily cultivars (not touching any of the common varieties) when I missed a round of Liquid Fence while on vacation. They didn't touch my hosta this time, which is curious because it's usually their appetizer of choice. Go figure.


RE: What's eating my geraniums?

Wow. Very interesting. Always something new to learn about the deer (usually something PAINFUL!) I'll do another squirt of Deer Solution on everything. Someone also thought it might be rabbits, so I guess I'll squirt on some hot pepper, too. I hope the plants are able to grow slathered with all the pest deterrents! Thanks also, Jessica, about shearing the munched area off, I haven't really known what to do with the bare stems, guess I'll just shear them off. Thank you both, for the information and also...deer misery loves company!

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