Chunks Missing From Leaves?

Q: started some plants from seeds in peat pots and repotted a couple in larger pots. Now I notice some leaves have big chunks missing. I am looking for bugs, all I see is tiny black spots about the size of pepper granules. When I go to the store to find a spray to kill bugs, I am overwhelmed at the variety of things available, the knowledge you are required to have of the exact insect you are dealing with, the toxicity of the products, the expense.

Does anyone know of something cheap you would already have around the house that would kill these mysterious bugs and give my little plants a break?

Hardiness Zone: 5b

Dust Bunny HK from Denver, Colorado

A: Dust Bunny,

Although it's hard to say what is eating your plants, it sounds like you could have an aphid infestation. Start by trying to dislodge the pests from your seedlings using a light spray of water from either your garden hose or a sprayer on your kitchen sink. You can also try brushing the specks off by hand, but be sure to do it outside. If this doesn't work, try mixing up an insecticide using variations based on the following recipe:

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tablespoon of Murphy's Oil Soap (or liquid dish soap)
  • 2 cups of water

Blend these ingredients thoroughly in the blender and strain out the pulp. Pour into a hand-held spray bottle and spray on your seedlings. This mixture is designed to work specifically on aphids, but it should also help keep other bugs at bay.


Good luck!


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May 28, 20060 found this helpful

Just use some dish soap and warm water and wash the leaves, will clean off bugs and keep other s off, little soap bubbles around the base of the plant will help as well and nothing will hurt the plant

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July 6, 20060 found this helpful


Regarding the 'bites' out of your leaves in your containers. We garden totally in pots and it sounds like you have a problem with vine weevils. You dont often actually see them, but they look like a very hard shelled beetle. You also have to watch out for the eggs which look like a large larvae as they eat the roots of your plants from the bottom up.


Nasty little things. Im in the UK and I doubt if we have the same products to use on them. Go to a garden centre and ask and im sure they will give you the right stuff.


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