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I work hard to not use chemicals in my garden and, as a result, have a large range of insects, (I saw my first ever elephant hawk moth catrerpillar today!), and a great range of flowers.
Having just returned from holiday I was delighted to see some red admiral butterflies enjoying my Buddleia flowers - but disappointed to see that the leaves of this great shrub had been turned into lace doylies!
I have examined the leaves and found nothing. Can anybody tell me:
1) a likely culprit?
2) If this will cause any long term damage to my shrub?
3) Is there a way of stopping this problem naturally (or in a way that doesn't impact my "visitors"?
Have you seen any Mullein moths? White with black spots? Similarish caterpillars? Do you have any verbascum plants? They eat buddleias too,.
Sorry, got the moths mixed up. Brown moths, black, white and yellow caterpillars.
Waterbutts, we have those moths and caterpillars, but we found that they preferred nasturtiums to anything else, so we planted a big group of them - they are absolutely devestated, and have been covered with caterpillars; but everything else is ok.
Andy- not sure about the culprit but I think buddleias are tough enough to withstand the onslaught! A sacrificial plant as Sara suggests is probably the best idea. I've not had any problems before with mine (and I've had them in most gardens I've had) but maybe I've been lucky - or it could be weather this year . Maybe there's been a bigger 'crop' of caterpillars than normal and next year will be fine.
Thanks all for your quick responses.
What has been baffling me most is that I haven't seen any caterpillars on the leaves at all. Obviously, there have been lots of butterflies, (and what an absolute pleasure), but I honestly can't see anything eating the leaves.
Maybe they recognise my footsteps heading down the garden and hide in secret places - who knows. The good news is that the plant has flowered as reliably as ever so I suppose it is just a cosmetic thing.
Again, thanks all for your responses. I shall try nasturtiums next year and see if there is a difference.