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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.
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.
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.