Care of canna lilies

YAY! My cannas have just peeked from the soil and I am so excited! It seems a bit early, but I’m not complaining. Spring is here and in a month or so I’ll have that gorgeous color all over the yard.

Gardeners in areas with scorching hot summers often complain about keeping their summer flowers alive. When temperatures climb over 95 degrees, I agree – it can be a challenge. Some plants love the heat, though, and one of the prettiest of those is the canna lily.

Not actually a member of the lily family, the canna is closely related to the banana and ginger. In fact, canna’s foliage is very banana-like in shape but much more colorful. Cannas, depending on variety, grow from 1 to 10 feet in height. If you’re looking for something to screen away neighbors, choose one of the taller varieties and plant several in a clump. “Black Knight” is gorgeous, with bright red flowers and almost black foliage. A more traditional-looking variety, and one of my favorites, is “Robert Kemp.” Take a look at that RED!

Then, there are the flowers – tropical and vibrantly colored. Best of all, cannas, aside from their water requirements, are easy plants to have around. Let’s learn how to care for a canna lily.

How much to water a canna

Water is the most important aspect of caring for the canna. Especially during periods of hot weather, the soil should remain moist at all times. If it needs water, it’ll wilt, so keep an eye on it in the beginning to get a feel for how often you need to water.

Fertilize the canna

The ideal time to fertilize your canna is right before it produces its first flower of the season. Sprinkle 2 lbs. of 5-10-5 fertilizer for every 100 square feet of canna bed. Don’t place the fertilizer right at the base of the plants, but about 6 inches away. Water the soil until it’s saturated, to soak the product to the plants roots. Fertilize monthly while the canna is flowering.

Deadhead

Deadheading the canna not only promotes new blooms but makes it look more attractive as well. Unlike other flowering plants, though, cannas require careful deadheading. If you cut the stalk too far back you may destroy future blooms. Use very sharp snips and clip the flower off just beneath the head.

Storage

Not all of us will need to dig up our cannas in the winter — but those who live in areas with harsh winters will want to get them out of the ground and store them. After the blooming season, the canna’s foliage turns yellow. This is your cue to cut the foliage to within 1 inch of the soil.

Then, carefully dig the rhizome from the soil and place it in a cool, dry area for about three hours. After this, wrap the rhizome in peat moss, place it in a box (poke a few holes in the box to allow air to circulate) and leave it in an area where the temperature remains between 40 and 60 degrees F over the winter. Sprinkle a few drops of water over the peat moss once a month until spring when you can plant the rhizome out in the garden.

Want more? Divide the canna

Divide canna rhizomes when you pull them from storage in spring. It’s an easy job, just divide them so that each section has at least three “eyes.” Depending on the size of the rhizome, you can either break it apart by hand or use a hand saw or knife. I use my cheapy little EverSaw and it works like a charm.

I receive commissions from purchases made through links in this post. I have not, however, received any products for free — all of the ones I refer you to are those that I purchase and use in my own garden.

Photo Courtesy: Muhammad Mahdi Karim/Wikimedia Commons

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by Matt Gibson

Canna lily flowers (also known as Indian shot) are large, colorful and bold. Despite the name, they are not related to true lilies. The rhizomatous perennial is often grown as an annual in cooler climate areas, but in the proper zones, or if stored during the winter, cannas can bring bright luminous color to your garden for years and years. Easy to grow and relatively low maintenance, cannas provides a deep presence of color to your garden from both its blooms and leaves throughout the growing season.

The iris-like (sometimes orchid-like) blooms that range in color from eye-catching shades of red, pink, salmon, and orange to a more subtle yellow or cream seem to emerge from tall stalks that tower above the lush foliage below. Despite the beauty of their massive flowerheads, canna lilies are frequently grown for their foliage alone. The large, paddle-like leaves come in many shades of green, blue-green, maroon, and bronze. The foliage is often striped, variegated, and iridescent, sometimes reminiscent of stained glass when the sunlight shines through them.

Cannas would be a glorious addition to any garden even if they never bloomed, but luckily they produce lovely blooms (prolifically if deadheaded regularly) from late spring or early summer, all the way to the first frost. When most other flowers fall or simply stop producing blooms in the heat of late July and August, canna lilies thrive. For the most eye-catching effect, plant your canna lilies in tight clusters or groups, or in mixed borders.

When fully matured, canna lilies can reach three to six feet in height, and span one to three feet wide at their base. They are resistant to deer and attract many beneficial insects and pollinators, such as butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, and larger birds (due to their tall stalks and massive flowerheads).

Varieties of Cannas

There are hundreds of different varieties of cannas, with a wide range of heights, leaf types, flower colors and shapes available to gardeners around the world. The many varieties are the result of hybridizing about nine different species of cannas together and then crossing the hybrids with each other.

There are four sizes of canna lilies to choose from. Pixie canna lilies grow to one and a half to two feet high. Dwarf cannas reach two to three feet. Medium canna lilies grow three to five feet high and tall cannas grow five to six and a half feet high.

Here are a few varieties that are especially pretty and unique:

Zulu Pink – Reddish-black foliage with pink flowers, around Three feet tall.

Bangkok – Bright yellow flowers, dark green leaves with narrow white stripes.

King Humbert – Red flowers with dark purple-bronze foliage.

Tropicanna – A newer set of hybrid varieties with rainbow-like foliage with stripes of gold, pink, yellow, green, and burgundy topped with bright nearly-neon colored blooms.

Black Knight – Bright red flowers above dark maroon leaves.

Growing Conditions for Canna Lilies

Hardy in USDA zones eight through 12, canna lilies enjoy the heat, preferably full sun, though partial shade is also acceptable. Choose a location that receives at least four hours of direct sunlight, ideally morning or afternoon sun. Canna lilies prefer moist conditions and a neutral to slightly acidic well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Cannas also thrives in bog-like conditions. If growing indoors, plant canna lilies in large containers near brightly lit windows.

How to Plant Canna Lilies

During the spring, after the threat of frost has passed, plant canna lily groups about one to two feet apart. Plant rhizomes horizontally with the eyes facing upwards, covering with about three to six inches of soil. Water thoroughly after planting and add a layer of mulch to help retain moisture.

Care of Canna Lilies

Once established, keep the soil around your canna lilies moist, watering freely during dry spells and anytime rainfall is less than one inch per week. Keep a thin layer of mulch around cannas lilies as well to help assist in moisture retention.

Though canna lilies are not picky about the kind of fertilizer that you use, some will work better than others. Fertilize your lilies with a high-phosphate fertilizer once per month for continual blooms. For an extra boost, apply a 5-10-5 or 10-10-10 in the spring, and two more times during the growing season. For an organic fertilizer alternative, try fish emulsion fertilizer. Fish emulsion fertilizer is high in nitrogen, which will increase the height of your lilies, but it is one of the best organic options available. If you have rose food or tomato food fertilizers on hand, both are great options for canna lilies as well.

In zones seven and warmer, canna lilies can be left in the ground all year long. However, in zones six and colder, you will need to bring them indoors or dig up the rhizomes after the first killing frost if you want to enjoy them again the following season. Alternatively, you could move your lilies to large pots and allow them to continue growing throughout the winter indoors. You can choose to replant them in the ground when spring rolls back around after the last threat of frost has passed or replant them in larger pots at this time. Spring is also the perfect time to divide the plants if necessary.

Staking may be necessary for taller cannas varieties. Keep a close eye on blooms throughout the growing season. As flowers begin to fade, deadhead to promote more flowering. After each flower stem has been deadheaded multiple times, they will stop producing new blooms. At this point, you have two choices. If you plan to keep the plant around for future years of growth, you will want to cut the stem and foliage beneath down to the ground so that new foliage and stems will grow up in its place. If you are growing as annuals, cut the stems down to the foliage, which will continue to bring some beauty to your garden beds until the first frost.

In the fall, cut your lilies back to four inches in height to get them ready for next summer’s explosive growth. In warm climate areas, keep the lilies in the soil until the clumps begin to become very matted. Every three to four years, dig up the roots, separate the clumps and replant in freshly enriched soil.

Garden Pests and Diseases of Canna Lilies

Rust, fungal leaf spot, and bacterial blight may occur if canna lilies are kept in waterlogged soils with poor drainage, or if the lilies are too crowded. Bean yellow mosaic and spotted wilt viruses can also occur. Though canna lilies rarely have issues with pests, caterpillars, slugs, snails, and spider mites can cause damage to your canna lilies occasionally.

Videos About Canna Lilies

YouTube gardening gurus, The Middle-Sized Garden, bring you a comprehensive tutorial video for selecting and growing cannas, no matter where you live. The Middle-Sized Garden is an established UK blog and YouTube channel. For this short film, they bring in broadcaster and expert gardener Stephen Ryan to share his tips and advice on choosing and caring for these exotic beauties:

This helpful film teaches you how to prune canna flowers. Pruning, or deadheading cannas will lead to healthier, taller plants. Since cutting your flowers is a delicate artform, getting a visual aid will help you feel more confident about performing the task yourself. In less than two minutes time, YouTuber Farmer Paula, from South Carolina, teaches you everything you need to know in this video.

Kim Toscano, from YouTube channel OklahomaGardening, explains how to divide and pot canna bulbs that have been stored and preserved during the winter. Many gardeners choose to discard and reinvest in their cannas each year, but saving and replanting your cannas can save you a good bit of money. This short video also teaches you how to divide your cannas by cutting the rhizomes of the dry, stored plant and planting the bulbs four to six inches deep into the soil.

To accompany the video directly above this one, check out this helpful tutorial from YouTube gardening enthusiasts DigitalTV4u, about how to dig up and store canna bulbs for winter. In warmer climate zones, there is no need to store your cannas during the winter, but in colder climates, winter storage is essential. This short film, and the one above it, will give you all the info you need to keep your canna lilies around year after year.

Want to learn more and growing canna lilies?

The Old Farmer’s Almanac covers Cannas

Gardenia covers How to Plant Canna Lilies

Gardening Know How covers Canna Lily Care

Gardening with Charlie covers How to Grow Canna Lilies

SFGate Homeguides covers Canna Lily Identification Guide

The Spruce covers Growing Cannas

Canna Lilies

Canna x generalis

Showy canna lilies feature large, sometimes colorful leaves and gorgeous lily-like blossoms in red, orange, yellow, white and deep rose.

Foliage can be deep green, burgundy, blue-green, or even striped with red-bronze or white.

The combination of leaf and flower color can be stunning and unusual.

These plants are not true lilies. And they’re often described as easy care.

Yes, anyone can grow them…but growing them well, so that they’re gorgeous and full, takes some work. Without it, this can become a ratty-looking eyesore you’ll wish you’d never planted.

Canna lily care can be too intensive for some people. This is certainly not a plant for the armchair gardener – which explains why it isn’t planted more often in home landscapes.

Only an avid devotee of tropical gardening will enjoy providing the regular attention cannas require – water, fertilization, deadheading, and removing browned leaves. They also spread, so thinning out beds every few years may be needed.

But the rewards are great if you have the motivation to do the work.

The sight of a well-kept bed of these plants makes a magnificent landscape statement.

This plant loves water. Some varieties are marginal pond plants that like boggy areas, but most prefer a well-drained location with frequent waterings.

Because of its spreading habit, love of water and need for maintenance, this plant is typically planted alone or with few other plants rather than mixed in with a lot of different things.

Cannas bloom during warm months of the year. They’re available in tall or small varieties.

Rhizomes (they look like funky elongated potatoes) or young plants are usually available in spring at your local nursery.

Plant specs

Regular varieties reach heights of about 4 to 6 feet – dwarf ones grow 3 to 4 feet tall.

These plants do best in full to part sun. They’ll grow in partial shade, too, but won’t flower as much.

Place in an area that isn’t subject to strong winds…against a fence, near the house, or sheltered by windbreak plantings.

Though they’re water loving plants, canna lilies prefer a well-drained area.

This plant is cold tolerant in South Florida but may die back in cooler areas in winter. Even in Zone 10 they may show some cold damage.

Plant care

If you buy a potted plant, add a mixture of composted cow manure and organic peat moss to the hole before placing the plant.

If you’re planting rhizomes, prepare the soil of the bed first by removing some dirt and filling with a mixture of composted cow manure and organic peat.

Dig the hole 3 or 4 inches deep, place the rhizome in with its “eyes” facing up (eyes are nodules where new growth will sprout).

For very tall varieties, you can use tomato cages to help stabilize the plant. Leaves will eventually cover the cage.

This is NOT a drought tolerant plant. Regular watering is a must. Let cannas go too dry and they’ll let you know just how unhappy they are with you.

Water 2 to 3 times a week during warm weather. You might want to add water-retention crystals when planting (See the page on Watering for more info.)

Trimming back browned leaves near the base of the plant is a fairly frequent chore. In spring, cut back any parts of the plant that have sustained cold damage to make room for fresh, new growth.

After a number of years, it’s beneficial to thin out a bed of cannas by digging up some of the rhizomes. You can use some in other areas of the garden if you like.

This plant is a heavy feeder. Fertilize 3 times a year with a good quality granular fertilizer. Supplement feedings with liquid fertilizer to promote heavier bloom.

Plant spacing

Place plants about 2 to 2-1/2 feet apart. Keep them at least 3 or 4 feet from nearby plants.

Rhizomes should go in about 2 or 3 inches deep and a foot or two apart.

Come out from the house about 3 feet. Same goes for planting near a walk or drive.

These plants will grow for a time in a large container.

Deadheading tips

A canna lily’s flowers usually grow in several stages from a single stem.

To keep the plant in more continuous bloom, deadhead on a regular basis.

Once a flower has withered, cut back the stem to just above the next bloom, which will already be starting to open. Once this one wilts, cut the stem again to the next flower.

Once all the blossoms on that particular stalk are gone, cut the entire stalk back as close to the ground as you can get.

Doing this keeps the plant from going to seed and directs its energy into producing more blossoms.

Landscape uses for canna lilies

  • architectural accent
  • along a fence
  • single yard specimen (naturalized in a dedicated bed)

GOOD SNOWBIRD PLANT? NO
COMPANION PLANT SUGGESTIONS: Nearby plants might include fountain grass, yellow elder, copper plant, thryallis, and bougainvillea.

Other plants you might like: Heliconia, Orange Bird of Paradise

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Containers For Canna Lily Plants: How To Plant Cannas In Pots

Flowering plants in containers give the gardener flexibility, the chance to change locations of blooms and move to different sun exposure as needed, and have a flowering presence while beds are being prepared.

Growing cannas in containers is a good way to guarantee summer blooms.

Cannas in Containers

Potting a canna lily is best done in a large container, as the plant needs room for the root system to develop. The larger the pot, the more bulbs you can plant, resulting in more blooms from the canna growing in pots.

Containers for canna lily plants can be made of ceramic material or clay — either glazed or unglazed. They can be a hardy, durable plastic or even half of a wooden barrel. Canna growing in pots can get quite tall, up to 5 feet (1.5 m.). They have large leaves, so choose a pot that is durable and will support the large roots and tall plant.

Plant complimentary blooms of other bulbs and flower seeds for an attractive mixed container to bloom at different times of the year. Experiment and have fun when learning how to plant cannas in a pot.

How to Plant Cannas in a Pot

Choose the container for your potted canna lily, making sure there are drainage holes in the bottom. Add a layer of pebbles or driveway rock at the bottom of the pot to facilitate drainage in addition to the holes.

When potting a canna lily, use rich, organic soil. Fill pots to within an inch or two (2.5-5 cm.) of the top of the containers, then plant the canna tubers 4 to 5 inches (10-13 cm.) deep. Plant with the “eye” pointing upward.

Caring for Cannas in Containers

Keep the soil moist until plants are established. As a somewhat tropical specimen, cannas in containers like high humidity and full, hot sun.

Canna blooms add a tropical presence and bold color to the container arrangements. A mid to late summer bloom can last a few weeks. Deadhead spent blooms and keep soil moist, but not soggy.

Spreading rhizomes should be dug and stored for winter in zones lower than USDA zones 7 to 10, where they’re winter hardy. When storing the rhizomes, cut the tops off and place in a plastic storage bag, or move the entire container into a garage or building where temperatures remain between 45 and 60 degrees F. (17-16 C.).

Rhizomes of canna growing in pots multiply quickly and will need division. Thin the tubers in the early spring or before storing for winter. Slice tubers into pieces, if desired. As long as there in an “eye” in the portion of tuber, a bloom can be expected.

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Friday – August 17, 2007

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Pruning
Title: Deadheading cannas and geraniums
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I’m new to gardening. Your help would be appreciated. 1) I think I read that canna flowers can be deadheaded so they will continue to bloom throughout the summer. What part is actually taken off? There is a round green pod that grows directly below the blooms. Does this get cut off along with the wilted blooms? What about the stem that remains above the leaves? 2) Can geraniums be deadheaded as well? Do I just take off the wilted blooms, or can I cut the stems off as well. Thank you so much for your help!

ANSWER:

We are assuming that the cannas you are raising as ornamentals are hybridized plants, bred for spectacular color. The entire genus of Canna is native to tropical and subtropical regions of North and South America, with some in southern South Carolina and southern Texas. The native Canna glauca (maraca amarilla) is not nearly as spectacular as the hybrids available in commerce, but a lovely plant, nevertheless. In response to your question on deadheading, this website on cannas (or canna lilies, although they are not true lilies) will give you lots of information on care of these colorful plants. The bright-colored “petals” that you see are not actually part of the blossom, which is small and insignificant looking. The “flowers” are actually staminodes and Nature’s intention in creating the bright colors was to attract pollinators who collect nectar and pollen. According to the information we were able to find, it is always good to cut back the entire stalk on which a flower has faded. It is such a vigorous plant that the stalk will quickly be replaced by a new one with new blooms on it.

In response to your second question about deadheading geraniums, we have another question: “Which geranium?” As you know, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to promoting the care and preservation of native wildflowers, so we will deal first with the perennial natives that you might have in your garden in Texas: Geranium caespitosum (pineywoods geranium) , Geranium carolinianum (Carolina geranium) , and Geranium texanum (Texas geranium). These are all Geraniaceae (Geranium family). They would certainly benefit from deadheading, and it would contribute to more blooming.

It is more likely, however, that you are asking about members of the genus Pelargonium, for which “geranium” is the common name. These are subtropical in origin and, like the cannas, have been heavily hybridized in commerce. They are often used in pots for decorative purposes, and should be treated as annuals. Certainly remove blossoms that have begun to fade and dry, taking off the stem to the next joint. They can be broken off, but are better snipped with garden scissors. And snap off any dead leaves at the same time.

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Learn How To Plant, Care and Grow Splendid Canna Lilies

Often grown for their dramatic foliage – large banana like leaves – Cannas are vibrant tender perennials that provide a strong ornamental interest and immediately give a touch of the tropics in the garden or containers. Impossibly exotic, they bloom prolifically from mid summer to the first frost in a flamboyant array of colors varying from red, orange, yellow, pink or cream. Their architectural shapes and eye-catching colors make them perfect for planting as focal plants or massed to create a tropical effect. Easy to grow, they stand proud and bold provided some basic rules are respected.

1. Choose The Right Rhizomes (or Tubers)

  • Choose rhizomes that are large, firm, and plump.
  • The number of eyes (growth points) of the rhizomes is highly correlated to the overall size of the plant and its blossoms. The more eyes, the bigger the plant and more spectacular the flowers.
  • The optimum number of eyes should be 3-5.

Canna ‘Lucifer’

Canna rhizome

Canna ‘Musifolia’

2. Select The Right Site

  • Best flowering occurs in full sun in organically rich, moist and well-drained soils. Canna lilies will survive in the shade but best flower production is obtained in full sun – except in hotter climates where part shade will enable the flowers to last longer.
  • Choose a sheltered spot and soil that has been improved by digging in well-rotted manure or garden compost.

Canna ‘Richard Wallace’

Canna ‘Ambassadour’

Canna ‘City of Portland’

3. Planting Your Canna Lilies

  • Canna rhizomes can be planted from spring (after all danger of frost has passed) through early summer. They may be started indoors as early as a month before the average last frost date (for earlier blooms) or planted directly in the ground after the danger of frost has passed.
  • As they come from tropical and subtropical regions, cannas are heat-loving plants. If conditions are cool or soil temperature is cold, delay the planting until the soil has warmed to at least 65°F (18°C).
  • Plant your canna rhizomes 4 in. deep (10 cm).
  • Planting distance varies with the size of your canna plants. Dwarf cannas (less than 18 in. tall) should be spaced 18 in. apart (45 cm), medium and standard cultivars about 2 ft. (60 cm), and tall vigorous canna varieties (over 5ft. tall) about 3ft. (90 cm).
  • Set the canna rhizome with the growing tips facing up. Cover the rhizome with soil and water as needed. Mulch to keep down weeds and conserve soil moisture.

Canna ‘Phasion’

Canna ‘Erebus’

Canna ‘Picasso’

4. Aftercare

  • Provide consistent moisture during the growing season and do not allow the soil to dry out. After flowering, you may reduce watering.
  • Cannas are greedy feeders. Apply a general purpose fertilizer in mid-season to promote a brilliant display.
  • Deadhead Cannas throughout the growing season to keep them blooming for as long as possible. When a flowering spike has no more buds, it can be removed with shears or a sharp knife down to the next side shoot, where another flowering spike will emerge. Usually, canna produce 2-4 spikes per stem. When the stem is entirely spent, it can be removed from the base (usually at the end of the season).

Canna ‘Apricot Dream’

Canna ‘Toucan Dark Orange’

Canna ‘Rosemond Coles’

5. Overwintering

  • Most canna lilies are winter hardy in zones 8-11, so in these warm climates the rhizomes can be left right in the ground. If you live in a colder area and you want to save your rhizomes for next spring, you may dig them up before the first frost and store them over winter before replanting them next spring. Not sure about your growing zone? Check here.
  • As soon as temperatures drop below freezing and the foliage turns brown, cut down the foliage and stems to about 6 in. (15cm), and lift the rhizomes for winter storage. If you are growing different varieties of canna lilies, you should label them.
  • Remove surplus soil, dry and then store in trays in barely-damp wood vermiculite or multi-purpose compost. Place in a frost-free position for the winter, no higher than 50°F (10°C). Little, if any, watering should be necessary.
  • Check the rhizomes during the winter months to make sure they are not too moist or too dry.

Canna indica ‘Purpurea’

Canna Pretoria’

Canna ‘Tropicanna Gold’

6. Water Cannas

  • Water Cannas are generally hybrids of Canna glauca. They can be grown in wet soils, along with other bog plants, and can be planted in baskets, with up to 6 in. (15 cm) water above their rootstock.
  • The basket, at least 12 in. across (30 cm), should be filled with loam-based compost. Slow-release fertilizers like those intended for water lilies can be added.
  • Plant your canna at the normal height and cover the surface of the basket with gravel or chunky cobbles. After planting, keep the basket in shallow water to enable your water canna to get acclimatized.
  • As a precaution in winter, take the basket under cover into a frost-free greenhouse or conservatory. Keep the pots moist but not saturated. In late spring, plant the sprouted plants out when the risk of frost has passed.

Learn About Cannas

Botrytis: This fungus causes a grey mold on flowers, leaves, stems and buds. It thrives in cool wet weather conditions. Burpee Recommends: Remove affected plant parts, avoid watering at night and getting water on the plant when watering. Make sure plants have good air circulation. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for fungicide recommendations.

Rust: A number of fungus diseases that cause rust colored spots on foliage and stalks. Burpee Recommends: Remove infected plants. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for recommendations.

Virus (Various causes): The most characteristic sign of virus is tight and dark green mottling of the leaves. Young leaves may be bunched. Young plants may have a yellowish tone and become stunted. Burpee Recommends: This disease is readily spread by handling. Destroy diseased plants and the plants on either side.

Common Pest and Cultural Problems

Aphids: Greenish, red, black or peach colored sucking insects can spread disease as they feed on the undersides of leaves. They leave a sticky residue on foliage that attracts ants. Burpee Recommends: Introduce or attract natural predators into your garden such as lady beetles and wasps which feed on aphids. You can also wash them off with a strong spray, or use an insecticidal soap.

Japanese Beetles: Burpee Recommends: Hand pick early in the morning into a bucket of soapy water.

Mealybugs: Mealybugs are 1/8 to ¼ inch long flat wingless insects that secrete a white powder that forms a waxy shell that protects them. They form cottony looking masses on stems, branches and leaves. They suck the juices from leaves and stems and cause weak growth. They also attract ants with the honeydew they excrete, and the honeydew can grow a black sooty mold on it as well. Burpee Recommends: Wash infected plant parts under the faucet and try to rub the bugs off. They may also be controlled by predator insects such as lacewings, ladybugs and parasitic wasps. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for pesticide recommendations.

Slugs: These pests leave large holes in the foliage or eat leaves entirely. They leave a slime trail, feed at night and are mostly a problem in damp weather. Burpee Recommends: Hand pick, at night if possible. You can try attracting the slugs to traps either using cornmeal or beer. For a beer trap, dig a hole in the ground and place a large cup or bowl into the hole; use something that has steep sides so that the slugs can’t crawl back out when they’re finished. Fill the bowl about ¾ of the way full with beer, and let it sit overnight. In the morning, the bowl should be full of drowned slugs that can be dumped out for the birds to eat. For a cornmeal trap, put a tablespoon or two of cornmeal in a jar and put it on its side near the plants. Slugs are attracted to the scent but they cannot digest it and it will kill them. You can also try placing a barrier around your plants of diatomaceous earth or even coffee grounds. They cannot crawl over these.

Whitefly: These are small white flying insects that often rise up in a cloud when plants are disturbed or brushed against. Burpee Recommends: They are difficult to control without chemicals. Try hot pepper wax or insecticidal soap. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for pesticide recommendations.

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