Thursday, May 24, 2012

What’s eating my fatsia?

Last week I complained about the massive number of spider webs popping up in the garden, especially on and around my succulents. But as annoying as these webs are, spiders are very beneficial and don’t eat plants.

The same can’t be said about the rapscallions that have been devouring my variegated fatsia (Fatsia japonica ‘Variegata’).

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The first time I noticed it, the leaves had just a few holes here and there. But within a couple of days, the holes kept getting larger and more numerous.

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Before I knew it, entire leaves were stripped down to the veins. What astounded me was the speed with which this all happened.

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This is what the center of the plant looks like now. All the new growth has been completely devoured. I have no idea how long it will take for my fatsia to recover, if it ever does.

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Does anybody have any idea what kind of pest could have caused this? My best guess is some kind of caterpillar. I went out after dark one evening but couldn’t find anything. Curiously enough, none of the plants in the vicinity show any kind of damage.

7 comments:

  1. Do you see any droppings? Usually you can see droppings on the leaves. I'm not sure but it could be a grasshopper as well. Good luck.

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    1. I looked and couldn't find any droppings. But there's a creeping wire vine growing at the base of this fatsia so it's difficult to see what might have dropped from above.

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  2. You have the influx of spiders, we have caterpillers everywhere, even had some in the house. Could be some kind of caterpiller or maybe a cutworm? Try setting a shallow pan out with some beer in it and see if you get anything.

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  3. I'm curious myself Gerhard, I haven't seen a fatsia leaf as devoured as that before as they seem to be problem free most of the time (obviously not this time). It looks more like a Monstera leaf now!

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  4. I'm thinking catapillars! Just yesterday I noticed a large hole in my ornamental rubarb only to find a large critter caught in the act... This seems a bad season for them, they're everywhere, they also seem to like podophyllum!

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  5. I'm thinking catapillars! Just yesterday I noticed a large hole in my ornamental rubarb only to find a large critter caught in the act... This seems a bad season for them, they're everywhere, they also seem to like podophyllum!

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  6. Hope you don't mind me coming in late here - I am now in Portugal - in the north - and last year something ate my fatsia like this too ! I found nothing at first ..... Now ... I have given up planting ordinary lilies as the beetles eat them alive - and guess what? I found lily beetles on my fatsia ! And they appeared to be eating where the 'nibbled edges' were ! I don't know if it WAS them ... but .. my poor fatsia is just so many tatters ...

    I hope to find something to kill off the beasts anyhow !!! And am trimming the poor fatsia right back which is a real pain as I wanted it to be a nice tall one by now !!

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