Lupin plants are attractive not only to our eyes as fabulous flowers but to our beloved pollinators, too. They're also a source of food for many insects and animals.
In general, lupine flowers are very small, but they have quite a variety in shape and colouration. They're a great addition to any display of flowers.
In fact, there are over 200 different species of lupin worldwide.
Plant pests and diseases are a fact of life for farmers and gardeners alike.
Lupin plants can be eaten by birds, butterflies, bees, wasps, ants, beetles, snails, slugs, mice, rabbits, squirrels, deer, foxes, raccoons, and opossums, skunks, chipmunks, gophers, and others.
But the most common creatures that eat your lupins are slugs or snails and aphids.
Don't worry. There are ways to control these unwanted guests.
First, you need to identify the pest problem to learn how to solve and prevent them.
There are several types of pests that eat lupins and can be seen in most gardens.
Some are beneficial, some are harmful, and some are neither.
Beneficial insects help keep lupins healthy by eating aphids, whiteflies, scale insects, mealybugs, leafhoppers, thrips, and other harmful insect pests.
Beneficial insects include:
Harmful insects can cause damage to lupins.
Many insects are neither helpful nor harmful.
Please take note that these lists include only some and the most common ones.
With over 925,000 identified species, insects are the most diverse groups of living animals in the world. So, the list can go on and on.
The most common creatures that eat your lupins are slugs or snails and aphids.
Slugs are a common problem in gardens. They eat plants, damage leaves, and spread diseases.
Fortunately, there are ways to control slugs, including traps, chemical, biological, and environmental controls.
For slugs, prevention is also the cure.
The most effective way to control slugs is to use biological controls. Biological controls are natural predators that prey on the pests.
Biological controls work because they don't harm the environment.
In fact, they help keep the environment healthy.
To do this, you have to find places to buy these beneficial animals and simply release them in your garden.
However, there are some drawbacks to using biological controls.
One drawback is that these predators need to be released at night when the slug population is at its lowest.
Another drawback is that the predator may not survive long enough to find a slug.
Another method of controlling slugs is chemical control.
Chemical control uses chemicals to kill pests. This includes spraying pesticides and applying slug baits.
While this method works well, it does have environmental concerns.
Pesticides can harm slugs but also humans, animals, and wildlife.
Organic gardeners or not, you can always opt for organic solutions.
Although they're better than straight-up strong chemicals in the sense that they're less harmful to the wildlife and people, they still pose risks of harming beneficial insects.
You can lessen the risks of harming or deterring beneficial insects through the careful application of the organic pesticide.
Keep reading to get an Organic Pesticide Recipe.
Create an environment that will deter slugs.
The first step is creating a healthy ecosystem where slugs' natural predators can thrive and do their things.
Attract birds that eat slugs by planting some hedges, shrubs, and trees.
Attract newts, frogs, and toads by installing a wildlife pond.
Attract other species like slow worms and hedgehogs by creating a small opening in your garden for them to enter and give them a log or leaf pile to inhabit.
You can also control the surroundings of your plants, so it's not suitable for slugs.
Keep in mind that slugs and snails crawl in the ground, so basically, we want to make the ground uncomfortable for them.
1. Water in the morning.
Slugs come out at night. If you water in the morning, the surface of the soil will be dry by the time slugs come out, making it hard for them to go around.
Watering the soil at night can give them the lubrication they need to run amok in your garden.
Make sure not to overwater. Slugs love wet soil and waterlogged soil because they can get around more.
2. Install copper rings or copper tapes around your plant.
Copper can give slugs an "electric shock" if it tries to crawl on it, which deters them. This method is recommended for susceptible plants.
3. Put sharp mulch, a slimy barrier, or garlic drench.
All of these can irritate the slug as it crawls, which would deter them.
Make sure to remove anything on the ground that they can use as a highway between plants, or your mulch will be useless.
4. Pot plants. Pot your plants until you have a successful growth.
Young plants are vulnerable plants because they're low on the ground and don't have much in them, so the slugs can finish them off.
Potting them will make it hard for the slugs to get to them.
One of the most known ways to control slugs is a beer trap.
How to set up a beer trap:
Sink a container into the ground, with a little bit of the rim above soil level.
Fill the container halfway with beer (use a cheap one!)
That's it! Leave the container in the ground, and the slugs will be attracted to it and fall in.
Remember to cover your container loosely so that other creatures don't fall into it.
This could be the safest and most effective way, but this is definitely not the most efficient.
You basically have to go out to your garden two hours after dusk and manually pick the slugs off your plants and into a bucket of salt water to get rid of them.
To make this easier, you can attract the slugs to a dark and shady area with old veg leaves, dried cat food, bread rolls, oats, or bran.
You can also try to catch them during the day, but you'll have to look for them.
They mostly stay in dark and moist areas to avoid drying.
You'll have to check under plant pots, garden furniture, lying dead plant material, pockets of soil, bricks - anywhere that's hidden and near the ground, really.
Aphids are small insects that feed on plant sap and cause damage to healthy plants.
To control aphids, use insecticidal soap sprays, neem oil, or garlic spray.
These methods work well, but they may harm beneficial insects, too.
If you don't have access to these products, you can try natural remedies.
For example, you could mix equal parts of water and baking soda and spray this mixture onto the leaves of your plants.
This method works because baking soda dehydrates the aphids, ultimately killing them.
You can use a homemade solution of 1 part white vinegar to 2 parts water. Spray this mixture directly onto the leaves of your plant.
This method works because vinegar kills aphids by causing their exoskeletons to dissolve.
Be careful with the ratio to avoid burning your plants.
Test your mixture by spraying a tiny area first before spraying the whole plant.
What root vegetable was mentioned as an option for controlling both slugs and aphid infestation?
So here's a recipe you can use to kill two insects with one spay.
Tools and Equipment:
To use this garlic solution, drench the ground with this mixture and parts where you see aphids.
Avoid the flower head as much as possible to prevent harming beneficial insects.
Do this at night, so the mixture doesn't dry as fast.
Also, remember to test by spraying a tiny area first before spraying the whole plant.
If you find the mixture too strong, you can add more water.
Repeat application of this plant drench/ spray after a couple of weeks.
We hope this article helped you identify and resolve your pest problems.
Wishing you the best of luck in your battle with these pests and redeem your precious plants back!