The Q&A Archives: Controlling Aphids

Question: I have over a hundred seedlings growing indoors and I have apparently introduced what might be aphids. I purchased a spray for use indoors and it has a label warning regarding tender plants. I sprayed it once out of desperation and noticed what looks like a burn to many leaves. It's been a couple of weeks but the "critters" are either back or still there. They are also doing injury to the plants. I'm within 2-3 wks of getting everything planted outside but am worried if that will help or if theplants will last that long. Some of my particular worries are the Phlox "African Sunset" and centaurea. Please help. I can spray again, but should I? Time appears to be an important factor here. Thanks Lynne Beall Swayzee IN

Answer: Aphids are a challenge, but there are sprays that are safe for plants that you can use to control them. Insecticidal soap spray, or even a 1/4 teaspoon of Ivory dish soap (not the extra-grease fighting kind, though!) in a quart of water can be misted on the pests. Just make sure your plants are getting what they need in terms of light, water and fertilizer. If you overfertilize, excess nitrogen can cause succulent growth that is particularly tasty to aphids and other pests. And hang in there - plants are tough! If all else fails, just gently remove the aphids with your fingers on a daily basis.

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