Nasturtiums are ornamental flowers that many gardeners love to have in their garden. What’s great is that all the flower parts, including the petals, leaves and seed pods, are edible. But does that mean common garden pests will eat them? Do aphids like nasturtiums for example?
Yes, aphids do like nasturtiums. However, you can use this to your advantage to keep them off more important crops.
Aphids are small, green insects commonly found on the underside of the leaves in plants. These insects love to suck on plant sap (and a lot of it) to gain protein.
Therefore, this results in damaged health for the plant. Aphids also secrete a sweet material called honeydew which attracts ants.
Do Nasturtiums Repel Aphids?
You may have heard that nasturtiums are used to control aphids and assume that they repel them. However, aphids are attracted to nasturtiums and love feeding on stems and new growth of leaves.
Many different aphids are attracted to nasturtiums. Most of all, melon aphids, black bean aphids and peach aphids are attracted towards nasturtiums. Since aphids are attracted towards nasturtiums, they make an excellent trap crop.
And this is precisely how you can repel aphids from other plants… But attracting them to nasturtiums instead!
Are Nasturtiums a Trap Plant for Aphids?
Trap plants are used to attract insects to keep them away from the plants which need protection. The trap plants are used as sacrificial plants.
You can have different trap crops that the pest you are targeting prefers. Nasturtiums are mainly used as a trap crop to keep other plants safe – especially in vegetable beds.
When using nasturtiums as a trap plant, you need to remove the pests that have accumulated regularly. Otherwise, your plant will only become a breeding ground for aphids, and it will not serve the purpose.
If you let the aphids be on your trap plant, soon they will make their way to other plants you wanted to protect in the first place.
How to Use Nasturtiums to Control Aphids
Nasturtiums not only post benefits since they are edible, but they also make great trap plants. These plants are good companions and confuse pests and trap them.
One of the effective ways to use nasturtiums to control aphids is through trap cropping. If you deal with aphids in your garden, you need to plant nasturtiums away from the plants in a border.
To ensure that your nasturtium plants work well against aphids, you must ensure that they are healthy. If you have never planted one before, you need to do so in early spring.
In addition, you do not need to worry about fertilizing the soil as these plants can thrive in poor soil. You need to regularly provide water to the nasturtiums, but you should be careful about overwatering them.
How to Get Aphids Off Nasturtiums
So, you have used nasturtiums to trap the aphids, but now you wish to get rid of them. Once again, it is important to kill the aphids and keep checking for more on your trap plant.
Aphids are known to expand their population greatly, and hence, they take no time jumping from one plant to another.
There are a few ways you can keep aphids off nasturtiums once you have successfully diverted them from other plants. If there are only a few aphids, a strong blast of water will be enough to get them off the plant. This will cause most of the aphids to fall and die.
In addition, another effective way against aphids is by using soapy water. You can wash the plant with soapy water to kill the aphids.
Soapy water works well against not only aphids but other insects too. When doing so, it is important to ensure that you wash the underside of the leaves as aphids are hiding there.
Many gardeners like keeping nasturtiums as regular or trap plants in their garden. One of the insects which are drawn greatly towards nasturtiums is aphids. Hence, nasturtiums are used as trap plants to divert the aphids from other plants which need protection.
You can use nasturtiums to make a border away from the other plants. In addition, you should have a border at the entrance, so aphids reach nasturtiums but not your other plants.
One good thing about using nasturtiums is they also attract other garden pests. Once you have decided to use nasturtiums against aphids, it is important to get rid of them to avoid them from spreading.
You can use a strong blast of water against aphids, or you can wash the plant in soapy water to kill them.