Sunflowers are a wonderful addition to any garden as they scream sunshine. However, these flowers face a lot of threats from a number of pests. So, are slugs one of these pets? Do slugs eat sunflower leaves or not?
Yes, slugs do eat sunflower leaves. They will also eat sunflower seedlings before they have had a chance to develop.
Slugs love feeding on sunflower leaves as they are soft and supple. In addition to sunflower leaves, the slugs will also feed on the flowers and seeds.
You can tell that slugs are eating your sunflowers as they leave their slime trails behind which can only be attributed to either slugs or snails. Slugs also leave holes in the leaves that they eat.
What is Eating Sunflower Leaves?
The sunflower is a distinct plant known for its beautiful yellow flowers. Unfortunately, the beauty of the sunflower is not only admired by gardeners but also pests which is why they are susceptible to attacks.
Here are some pests which are eating your sunflower leaves, besides slugs:
You can tell that you have a beetle infestation by the kind of damage that your plants have. Beetles will leave holes in the sunflower leaves. Other than the leaves, the beetle also likes to eat the stems.
A combination of leaf and stem damage would point towards beetles being the culprit.
While weevils mainly focus on the root of the plant, they also consume the leaves. Weevils come in different colours and lay their eggs on the plant.
A sign that you have weevils in your garden is if your plant is weak. You then need to check in crevasses in the plant and under leaves for eggs.
In addition to beetles and weevils, moths also feed on sunflower leaves. Unfortunately, moths also like to eat the head of the sunflower. If you have moths on your sunflowers, you will see webs they leave behind. Moths are dangerous because their larva also feeds on sunflowers.
Grasshoppers love to feed on sunflowers, but they do not cause as much damage as other pests. You can easily spot grasshoppers on your sunflowers so it’s fairly obvious if it’s them causing the bulk of the damage.
Although birds are great for gardens, they may cause damage to your sunflowers. Usually, birds are attracted to sunflowers after the flower blooms where they’ll enjoy eating the seeds. However, birds also feed on the sunflower leaves.
Gardeners like having leafcutter bees in their gardens for pollination and they are not as destructive as other insects. However, leafcutter bees do like cutting on the sunflower leaves.
You can easily tell that the bees were there in your garden as they will leave small moon-shaped cuts.
Other than slugs, snails also feed on sunflower leaves. Snails are much like slugs and come out during the nighttime. These pests love the tender leaves of sunflowers. If you have a young sunflower plant, it will be more susceptible to slug attacks.
You can repel snails from your garden through a couple of techniques. For instance, you can use broken eggshells in your soil, attract natural predators or sprinkle coffee grounds around the plant.
Aphids are tiny, green insects found on the underside of the leaves. Another name for aphids is plant lice. It can be difficult to detect aphids in your garden because of their small size. Aphids eat the leaves by slowly sucking on them.
You will notice your leaves yellowing and curling as a result of aphid attacks.
You can get rid of aphids if they are a few by blasting them with water. Moreover, predators like ladybugs can help control the aphid population. A dangerous thing about aphids is that they multiply fast, so you need to be quick.
As you can see, the list is extensive! If you’re not equipped or prepared to deal with countless pests then it might be worth not bothering with sunflowers just yet.
Are Sunflowers Slug Resistant?
Unfortunately, sunflowers are not slug-resistant. If you plan on growing sunflower plants in your garden, you will also need to take measures to protect them from slugs.
Slugs eat more than they are required to, which leads to drastic damage across your garden. You can introduce natural predators in your garden to keep the slug population controlled.
In addition, you need to get rid of any place which slugs may use as their hiding spot. It also helps if you grow plants in your garden which have powerful smells to drive slugs away.
Sunflowers add beauty and colour to any garden. Every gardener wishes to have this plant in their garden. However, sunflowers are susceptible to slug attacks, so you must take extra care of them.
You can get rid of slugs by using coffee grounds, sprinkling eggshells in the soil, and getting rid of any hiding spots they might use. Slugs cause a lot of damage as they eat more than their weight.
In addition to slugs, many pests feed on sunflower leaves including leafcutter bees, birds, aphids, snails, beetles, weevils, and moths.