Butterfly geranium

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Parasites of geraniums can be eliminated by watering plants correctly and using natural or chemical products, also with preventive and curative action.

Butterfly geranium
Arch. Valentina Caiazzo
Arch. Valentina Caiazzo

butterfly geranium Cacyreus marshalli. This is the scientific name of butterfly geranium, a parasitic insect that comes from Africa, which in recent years has spread to Italy, ruining many geraniums. It also happened to yours?

The reason for the rapid spread of this butterfly is linked to the lack in our zones of natural limiters, which, on the contrary, are present in its area of origin.

Spread is by spawning on the plant by the females. When the temperature reaches 20 ° C (in the spring) there are the conditions for the formation of the larvae, which begin to grow and feed on the plant. Initially the butterflies drill small holes and they introduce themselves inside, then, in the last stages, come back and eat flowers and leaves until the transformation into a chrysalis. All this is obviously very harmful for our geraniums. How can we precaution prevent or solve the problem?

Tips for buying a geranium

geranio When you purchase a geranium plant we must first look at it. So choose plants with abundant foliage and in good health. The stem instead must not have stains (black) or small holes. Furthermore, it is to be noted that some species of geranium tend to better resist the attack of Cacyreus marshalli. Therefore, it is best to choose between: abrotanifolium, the denticulatum, the filicifolium, the grandiflorum or odoratissimum.

Tips for watering the geraniums

Once planted geraniums, we must keep away all the ideal conditions for the attack of pests. The butterfly geranium tends to settle especially when the ground is very wet. So you have to try and avoid copious irrigation to keep the soil drained as much as possible. In additions, it is good to dry the pots between a watering and the other to and you must be careful not to leave also the wet leaves.

Natural products to eradicate the butterfly geranium

butterfly geranium  If you do not like using chemicals products you can try to keep away the butterfly geranium with certain natural substances. I refer for example to Neem oil, which is taken dall'Azadirachta indica, a plant native of India and often used in Ayurvedic medicine as an antiviral, antibacterial and antiparasitic. Neem oil is retrieved in herbal medicine, is diluted in water (in the order of 3-4 drops per liter of solution) and nebulized on the ground and on the base of the plants of geranium.

Other natural substance used against the butterfly geranium is the absinthe. It has antiparasitic properties due to some substances present in its leaves and in the stem, as the thujone, the tannins and the resins. A good preparation to make a pesticide can be bought in herbal stems and leaves of wormwood, are put in boiling water and leave to infuse for a day. Once filtered, the decoction can be sprayed on soil and plant exactly as the solution of neem oil. Some even do not filter the product and uses it soaked.

Commercial products to eradicate the butterfly geranium

pots with geraniums When natural methods are not sufficient, it is essential to resort to insecticides, which generally should be applied in early spring. These products are for the most part effective not only with Cacyreus marshalli, but also against other pests of ornamental plants and flowers, such as aphids and scale insects.

Among the tablet insecticides, there is Provado by Bayer. It is used mostly in spring, for preventive action when we already know they have found the problem last year. The tablets should be inserted in the soil near the roots at a depth of about 1-3 cm. For vases of about 15 cm in diameter is sufficient one tablet, instead for larger vases are necessary more than one product. The maximum treatment efficacy is reached after about 2-4 weeks and, if it does not lead to completely solve the problem, you can repeat the dose at a distance of 10-12 weeks.

There are some other granular products. An example is Axoris granules, by Compo . In this case the insecticide is for the butterfly of geranium and for other parasites. You can use it at the first occurrence of the problem and it acts very quickly within 2-7 days. The amount of granules to be administered to the plant, depends by the volume of growing of the plant. The administration should be enough to protect the plant for three months, even insects are not yet present at the time of treatment. In case of partial efficacy can be repeated the administration of the product after 12-14 weeks.

Post: Butterfly geranium
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