Petunias are long-blooming flowers that brighten gardens and planters with colorful, funnel-shaped blooms.The flowers grow in shades of blue, purple, red, white and yellow from spring to winter. Homemade pest control keeps petunias healthy and protected from ravenous mammals and insects that may eat or otherwise damage the blooms.
Budworm caterpillars are a common petunia pest. The caterpillars are active in June and July, though you will not see them. Budworm caterpillars leave their droppings behind, which may be used to identify their presence. The droppings look like tiny, black seeds sprinkled over the foliage. Budworms are named for their diet -- flower buds. Petunias will fail to bloom when budworm infestations are left untreated.
Garlic sprays are effective in repelling caterpillars, which are common petunia pests, as well as other destructive insects. Aphids, flea beetles, cabbageworms and other insects are repelled by homemade pesticide sprays. Finely chop six cloves of garlic and one large onion and place them in 1 gallon of hot water. Add 1 tbsp. of dried hot peppers and 1 tsp. of liquid soap to create a pest-repelling mixture. Strain the water and store it in a spray bottle. Thoroughly spray plants with the garlic mixture, and re-apply every time it rains. The rain will wash away the spray, and it will no longer be an effective pest repellent.
Caterpillars, aphids and other small pests may be washed right off petunias. Get the garden hose, turn the water up high and spray it directly on foliage. Take care to particularly spray the undersides of leaves, where many insects gather and lay eggs. The pressure from the water will knock the pests off petunia leaves; homemade deterrents help to keep them from returning.
Deer eat many kinds of plants, even petunias, and if they find access to the flowers your blooms may be destroyed. Make a deer-repelling spray by putting one egg into a gallon of water. Mix the ingredients thoroughly and spray them directly on plants. Use the spray once weekly to continuously keep the deer away from the garden. Fabric softener sheets may also be placed nearby, hung off fences and branches, to further repel the deer. Replace the sheets when their smell fades.
K. C. Morgan is a professional freelance writer, with articles and blog posts appearing on dozens of sites. During her years of writing professionally, K. C. has covered a wide range of topics. She has interviewed experts in several fields, including celebrated psychoanalyst Frances Cohen Praver, PhD; television personality and psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig; and entrepreneur Todd Reed.