The Q&A Archives: Something Eating Marigolds

Question: I planted some large "double" marigolds and it appears something is eating the leaves off the plants. A couple of years ago I had the same problem and all the marigolds died. I did find one earwig in one of the blossoms, way down deep inside the petals. Could it be earwigs? I haven't seen any earwigs anywhere yet. Is there something I could spray or dust them with? I looked very closely at a couple of the plants and can't see any bugs or anything out of the ordinary. Any help would be appreciated.

Answer: In my experience, slugs will devour marigold foliage at night leaving behind a telltale slime trail. You can stop them with a light sprinkling of diatomaceous earth on the soil surface around each plant, by using one of the new slug control products containing iron phosphate such as Sluggo, or by trapping with beer baited traps or by hand picking at night -- good tools for this job include tongs and a bucket of soapy water to drown the slugs in. Finally, avoid watering at night or in the evening as this moist environment can attract the slugs.

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