|Phlox paniculata's fall color|
|Phlox after a frost is still pretty, but it has to go. There might be bug eggs hiding!|
Phlox Plant Bugs are tiny and fast moving critters that hide underneath leaves and make it hard to see and smush! So far they don't seem to be a tasty treat for the beneficial insects or birds that visit my garden. Perhaps, their orange and black coloration signals stay away to most insect eating critters.
|The Phlox Bug~soon the leaves with turn yellow and die|
Phlox paniculata is a foundation plant at Clay and Limestone. The Bumbles, butterflies, skippers and a variety of pollinators rely on it for nectar and pollen during our dry and droughty summers. I count on it for color and beauty. It's a tough plant, but it needs help when challenged by a pest like Phlox Bug.
Here's what you can do starting right now to make sure it never gets a proboscis near your phlox!
- Practice good sanitation. Cut back and dispose of infested stems and leaves. Clean up stem and leaf litter in the winter. I cut back every stem I find and threw them in the trash, not the compost. Compost works if yours gets hot enough to cook bugs! Mine doesn't.
- Scout for nymphs and treat. Apply insecticidal soap to both the upper and underside of the leaves. Use a light horticultural or sunspray oil. I haven't had to up my treatment to this.
You might not have this pest in your garden, but, cutting back and disposing of the stems and leaves will go a long way to insure that you won't ever see one of these nasty pests on your Phlox.
Just in case you forget, I'll post about this next fall, too. I pinky swear!
PS Of course you know that I never, ever, ever, ever use pesticides in my garden. I love my bees and other pollinators and don't want to risk causing them harm.
Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.