The Q&A Archives: Protecting Flowers From Insects And Disease

Question: Do you have any recommendations regarding treating diseases and insects on my roses and flowers? Is there a one-step process available to fertilize my flowers and protect them from diseases and insects?

Answer: You might be suspicious of a doctor who offered you one medicine to give you nutrition, eliminate a headache, cure a case of the flu and fight infection in an open wound. The same should be true for a feed and cure all for plants!

Depending on the plant, and the pest or disease, there is usually a few choices for control (some better than others). While some products work well on several pests or on several diseases, they may not be the best for a particular pest or disease. Also, it is very rare that an insecticide will control diseases or vice versa. Likewise, fertilizing is a separate operation from pest and disease control efforts.

If you will submit a question via the web site with the specific symptoms of a problem on your roses or flowers, we can try to give you the very best answer to remedy the problem.

As a general rule, mites and perhaps aphids are going to be your main pest problems on roses in the south. Insecticidal soap and neem are two effective organic options for their control. Powdery mildew and black spot are the two primary disease problems. Neem oil (for disease control, look for neem oil as the active ingredient, not the insecticidal extract, azadirachtin) is an effective option but can burn plants if sprayed in the heat of the day in summer. Some gardeners mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda in one quart of water and have good results fighting these diseases.

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