The Q&A Archives: Something Eating Leaves and Flowers of Bouganvillea

Question: My bouganvillea was blooming beautifully, until recently. One morning, all the leaves had little black pellets on them, and two days later, all the flowers fell off! Then it seemed that a nocturnal insect was eating the leaves. I used Soap Mytes Detergent, but I stopped when all the flowers and leaves were gone. It?s been a month and the leaves are now returning, but no flowers yet. How can I avoid this situation in the future?

Answer: Your vine was likely attacked by the bouganvillea caterpillar - a long name for a small creature! These caterpillars feast on leaves and stems most heavily in the warmth of spring, though there can be several generations per year. The adult is a small moth. To protect your vine, spray with a light summer oil such as Oil-Away from (Gardens Alive (5100 Schenely Rd., Lawrenceburg IN 47025; ph# 812/537-8650; e-mail I believe their Bt kurstaki would also work. Best of luck to you!

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