hollyhocks - Knowledgebase Question

Kennesaw, Ge
Question by greenekj
June 8, 2010
My hollyhocks look as though something ate them. This being the first year they were flowering it was sad to see. When I inspected the plants I noticed spiders and some brown (possibly egg sacks) on the bottom of the leaves. Can the plants be saved?

Answer from NGA
June 8, 2010


A number of different beetles will "skeletonize" hollyhock leaves--they chew away the soft parts of the leaves, leaving behind the veins and creating a lacy look. Japanese beetles and rose chafers are two common pests. Another group of pests are moth larvae; have you seen any small caterpillars on the backs of the leaves? In any case, your best bet would be to go outdoors in the cool of early morning, and knock any pests you see chewing on the leaves into a can of soapy water. (Insects move more slowly at cooler temps.) At the same time, squish any eggs you see on the backs of the leaves. You might also try a neem-based repellent, such as Neem-Away. If you find that caterpillars are the culprits, then the biological control B.t. (sold as Dipel and Thuricide) would be a good choice. Both of these are considered organic controls. Best wishes with your hollyhocks.

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