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I have various perennial Geraniums in my borders. This year my favourites, variety unknown, but a lovely purple, have been attacked by a pest. They apppear to be eating the leaves and leave them looking like a lace doily. Help please.

This often happens to my geranium Johnson's Blue but not usually the others and I grow at elast a dozen different geraniums.  The thing to do is to cut the entire plant back to about 2 or 3 inches high, scatter on some blood, fish and bone or pelleted chicken manure.  Water if it doesn't rain.

They'll grow back fine, healthy new foliage in about 3 weeks and you may even get another flush of flowers.

It's a caterpillar.  ...bug worm  it is, from memory.  They do the same sort of damage that gooseberry sawfly do to gooseberries.  It's happening to one or two of,mine.  It's hard to,see,the blighters but you can spray.  A soap spray is effective as,is a systemic chemical,one.

I cut everything down......convince myself I'm doing the Chelsea chop (well. It does have the same effect).....and spray the remaining plant.  In a few weeks it will flower again with fresh foliage.  This year though I will anticipate a repeat attack and spray again just before the new flush of flowers.  

These things are cyclical I,think.  It's caterpillars and ants this year.

Lewis T

My Johnson's blue geranium borders the length of my slate path and this evening I noticed the leaves having been eaten in strips, exactly like a lace doily as Sam F- N said.  We cut them back three weeks ago and there was a lot of new growth and fresh flowers beginning to grow but now they look sad. I am an organic gardener so I'll try the soap spray first.Thanks.

Roy Hill

Geraniums are suprisingly hardy. As obelixx said - chop, and they'll grow again. I had an abundance of a x oxonianum (pale pink flowers) and I could chop them twice during the growing year to keep the foliage fresh. They blights can be so hardly that when lifting (to reposition, say) yoiu could leave a ready-made root cutting and it'l pop its head up again.


Soap spray will affect all insects - friendly and not-so-friendly alike. It may be 'organic', but it isn't selective. Spraying when pollinators are not around is a good idea.


If you simply chop them back without spraying the regrowth will be eaten too.  Cut back and spray,the soil and plant and ??ou will have healthy geraniums until autumn.  It's what I do.  It works.

I have one of these beauties, got it from coblands two year ago, it was a sea of deep blue all last summer, now after the winter its a little pile of straw.  I tried to take cuttings last autumn but it didn't work.  Now I am thinking of dividing but I am a bit scared to harm it as its the only one I have, all others are pink (different variety).

Any advice?



Scott Edwards

I love hardy geraniums especially with roses. The first plant I grew as a child was a Geranium Johnson's Blue. I now have several varieties and think I'm addicted. A great plant for beginners. Mine didn't die back this winter. Should I cut them back now or wait until April? 

No expert

Is it a Bill Wallis, very big plant with lots of purple flowers?, There was a thread on here before that I posted on. If it is like that then you can divide it no worries

Mine could be a Bill Wallis as its pretty big, with dark divided leaves and lots of purple flowers, but I got it from Coblands as John's Blue, is that a sub division?  I am confused now..

No expert

Nutcutlet I may have the wrong plant as my one looks more like a Johnsons Blue than that Bill Wallis. Which ever they are a wonderful hardy plant. Moved some of mine which were suffering from too much shade this year. Looking forward to seeing some life in them soon.


There are so many hybrids and cultivars it's hard to know what you've got sometimes, No expert.  

At the risk of upsetting some, Johnsons Blue is a little over rated.  Nice when in flower but it isn't very  lomg flowering and ifs habit is ungainly.  Many of the newer geraniums are so much better .......

My blue geraniums died right back. Will they return or are they dead?



If they're perennial they'll come back Outdoor girl

Verdun, geraniums are so numerous now I only buy what I like the look of when it's in flower. Johnson's Blue looks different every time I see it.

No expert

Checked the ones I mived in winter and they are sprouting. New babies yipee, much easier to deal with than the real ones!!

No expert wrote (see)

Checked the ones I mived in winter and they are sprouting. New babies yipee, much easier to deal with than the real ones!!


That is so true No expert

Rozanne is brilliant but I also grow Jolly Bee.  The experts say it is one and the same but I have both and they are different, albeit slightly. 

Tanya rendell is a favourite of mine.....colourful foliage and flowers for months.  Black beauty has to be the best geranium....purple foliage and gentian blue flowers n compact mounds