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hollie hock

I've grown Lupins for a few years, last year I had my first attack of these. They came on mass and the plant collasped.

I love Lupins and would like to have one in this garden. The plant that died was probably in too hot a place so if I grow any again I'll be planting in more of a partial shade situation.

Is hit and miss with these things or is more than likely to happen again? I'm not going to use chemicals and it's doubtful I'll do anything organic either.


Sounds more like lupin aphid to me.  lupins are worth protecting either chemically or organically.  Nothing quite like those spires in June/July 

I use washing up liquid diluted with water and spray at the first sign of an aphid. It works for me. Taking off the spent heads regularly helps as well, plus having plenty of plants around which attract predators so plenty of bug friendly plants.

Secret to lupin aphid control....for to get in early before spikes form. 

agree with removing spikes as they fade.....have had 3 flushes doing this.    Also with variety of plants nearby. 

Yes lupin aphids can cause big problems to the plant. Diluted washing up liquid works well at getting rid but I have to repeat the spraying a few times. I am always on the lookout for them before they do too much damage.


hollie hock

Thanks for your replies, Lupins are one of my favourite flowers and the bees love them.  Maybe if I see a cheap plant around I'll try it out in a different spot, just to see if they come back.

I think I might have tried the washing up liquid on the plant that died, mind you it was covered in them by that stage


Drop in at my local garden centre. For a tenner you could get 4 good sized healthy lupin plants
hollie hock

Thats an excellent price musher Have decided I am going to give them another go. The market here sells small perennials for £1.50. I'll have to pot them on and then see what happens

The threads a little old but I figured I'll give it a bump as my lupin spires are just forming and the aphids have made an appearance.

My technique has been cupping a hand underneath them and then gently running my other hand up the stalk and spire. Then once a load of the horrible little blighters fall into my cupped hand I give them a hearty round of applause. Squish 

A crude method but the numbers have dropped significantly over the last 2-3 days with one thorough application per day of this treatment. Don't forget to wash your hands afterwards though!

I'm gonna get a little squirty bottle when I go the shops later to mix up a concoction or two to try out on the plants - So far I've read that diluted garlic powder, pepper or washing liquid can work. A season of experimentation awaits.


A squirt from the hose or a bottle is the easiest way Bob, or the hand method as you've discovered! No danger to any other beneficial insect too.

The best solution of all is to get birds in to eat them. Hanging small feeders near susceptible plants gets them used to  particular areas. Blue tits especially will hoover them up. 

I didn't know birds would have them - I'd read somewhere that they were only inroduced in the 1980's and nothing has really developed an appetite for them. I don't use any chemical sprays in the garden so I'm keen on a more organic solution to these aphids as they have ran riot a few times over the years when I've left them to the ladybirds. Unfortunately, the ladybirds seem to appear later in the season and the damage has been done.  

I've a couple of spots in the same border where I can hang some small feeders so I'll add them to today's shopping list. Even if it doesn't solve the aphid problem it'll be nice to encourage a few more birds into the garden - Something nice to look at while I'm doing the dishes and they'll definitely have a peck at any slugs!


I think it's a bit of a balancing act too Bob. The new growth on plants like Lupins is very susceptible to attack, and all it takes is a  warm damp spell and they just seem to arrive in their millions don't they? Ladybirds do seem to be thin on the ground at that time too, so it's a question of trying to get a head start on them till nature takes more of a hold. 

As you rightly say, having some birds to look at from the window is worth it anyway! I'm surprised at how much food I'm going through just in one hanging feeder. 

The lupins in my garden have had an attack of giant woolly aphids. Again. Not a ladybird in sight yet. I spray them with diluted washing up liquid And I keep squashing them . That's a good technique you have there Bob Bob. 

I'm going to adopt it. I think the thing is don't turn your back on the horrors!  I will put bird feeders nearby too - thank you for that suggestion Fairygirl.

hollie hock

So far so good with my new one, I'm checking it everyday as it was about this stage or maybe when the flower spikes were forming that they arrived last year. I'm sad to hear that they are back for you Magnolia, I'm hoping it was a one off  thing.

The plant is looking really healthy and liking it's shadier spot. Will be giving the spray a go if they come back, squishing but only with gloves on!

A couple of days later and while there are still aphids on the plant they're very few in number - I've not seen a group larger than 15-20 and have to dig down quite deep into the plant to find them.

A big improvement on the original state when you could see  huge numbers teeming all over the spires.


I dont know if it helps but I grow so many plants for hoverflies that I rarely suffer from green/white or whatever fly in my garden. I've seen so many ladybirds this year as well. Although I'm not an organic gardener I do find the predator approach works well for me.

hollie hock

That's good news Dave. I've always grown for insects but this year have been growing in particular for these

Let my guard down for a couple of days and there was a resurgence in numbers! Not swarming the plant but definitely an increase. Good news is that the spires that were previously coated in them before my squashing regime have all bloomed just fine without damage.

When I was gathering todays up for a good squashing I noticed the plant felt quite sticky in places? I'm guessing it has something to do with the aphids?

What are some good plants for hoverflies Dave? 

Daisy type flowers are best. Hoverflies need easy access to nectar and above all a wildlife friendly garden with plenty of habitats, wood piles, some bare earth for basking and nesting and nectar plants that go throughout the year especially late in the year and early. It's basically planting for pollinators. My garden is well drained, sometimes too well drained and west facing and on hot days it bakes but planting for my conditions has worked better than I could have ever hoped for. So a succession of daisy family flowers thrive and the air is always filled with insects visiting them. I have noticed in other gardens I work in that a lack of habitats just encourages the various sap sucking insects to attack any young growth and I'm constantly spraying or trying to encourage clients to provide habitats and suitable plants to reduce the damage. So plant for pollinators.

They should arrive soon then as I've plenty of good plants for pollinators. Plenty of singles in the sunny borders and British wildlife plants in the more dappled corners.

I'll concentrate on getting a few more around the lupins when space is found...or made.