Slugs/Snails eat Coleus foliage at night. Insects like Aphids, Mealybugs, Spider Mites, Whiteflies, Earwigs, and caterpillars also munch on Coleus leaves. Animals like Rabbits and Squirrels might eat Coleus plant parts too.
You need to identify the culprit based on the type of damage they caused to your plant. You’ll learn how in this article.
What insect is eating my Coleus?
Whiteflies, Aphids, Mealybugs, Spider Mites, and Earwigs eat holes into Coleus leaves. These insect pests feed on Coleus plant sap.
It is crucial to follow certain cultural practices to prevent insect pests from proliferating in the garden. Let’s see what insects damage Coleus and how to deal with them.
Whiteflies on Coleus
Whiteflies are tiny insects that punch holes in leaves, thereby reducing plant vigor and stunting plant growth.
Whiteflies fly out from the undersides of the leaves when disturbed. Whiteflies are attracted to yellow color, so hang yellow, sticky cards around your Coleus plant to get rid of these insects.
Add 1 tablespoon of liquid dishwasher soap to a gallon of water and make a solution. Spray this on affected parts of Coleus to eliminate Whiteflies.
Mealybugs on Coleus
Mealybugs infest Coleus plant parts usually. Mealybugs form a tuft of cottony mass on Coleus’s leaf axils, branches, and leaves.
The Citrus Mealybug is the one that attacks Coleus plants. The branches wither and the affected plant loses its vigor.
Soak a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and wipe off the tufts of Mealybugs. You can also spray insecticidal soap to get rid of Mealybugs.
Aphids on Coleus
Aphids are small insects whose eggs are carried onto the host plant by ants. Aphids are sap-sucking insects that attach to the undersides of the leaves.
Aphids leave honeydew behind as they feed on Coleus plant parts. Ants are attracted by Honeydew. Sooty mold develops on the plant parts that have Honeydew.
Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and wipe the aphids off the plant. One can also spray insecticidal soap to get rid of aphids.
How do you get rid of Spider Mites on Coleus?
Spider mites are tiny insects that cast web around Coleus leaves. This is the primary sign of Spider Mites’ presence.
Spider Mites eat holes into Coleus leaves. They suck the plant sap through the leaves and other plant parts.
Dip a cotton swab/cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and wipe the Spider Mites off the plant. You can also release Ladybugs onto the infested plant to control these Mites biologically.
Earwigs eating Coleus
Earwigs leave Coleus plants tattered as they feed during the night hours. The damage is similar to that of slugs/snails.
Earwigs are tiny, long-bodied insects that feed on a variety of insects and plants. So, they form an essential part of the garden ecosystem.
Earwigs are only a problem when there’s a large population of these insects in the garden. You can reduce their populations if they’re attacking your prized plants.
Mix rubbing alcohol and water to create a solution. Spray this on affected plants. Apply petroleum jelly around the Coleus stems.
How to protect Coleus from bugs?
Follow the below instructions to protect Coleus from insect pests.
- Clear any debris that’s piled up around the Coleus plant. This deters insects from laying eggs/residing near the plant.
- Keep the leaves dry. Don’t overwater your plants, water the plants using soaker hoses if possible.
- Avoid using chemicals in the garden. This deters the helpful insects, which is bad for the garden.
- Pick the bugs by hand whenever you see them, wear gloves!
Best Insecticide for Coleus
You can use Neem oil or Insecticides made from Pyrethrin to get rid of insect pests naturally. Use insecticides only when you can’t control insect populations in other ways.
There are products like Permethrin, Resmethrin, and Sumithrin that include Pyrethroids. You can use them on affected Coleus.
It would be best if you didn’t use chemical insecticides on Coleus as it’d only worsen your garden’s condition.
Slugs eating Coleus
Slugs/Snails love to munch on Coleus leaves. These prey on Coleus plant parts at night so gardeners usually notice the damage in the morning.
The slimy trail they leave behind is the primary sign of slug/snail presence in the garden. Go into the garden at night with a flashlight to catch these pests.
You can apply Diatomaceous Earth around Coleus to protect the plant from Slugs/Snails. You can also set up commercially available slug bait around the plant.
One can erect copper barriers around Coleus to keep Slugs/Snails away from the plant.
What caterpillar eats Coleus?
Hermit Sphinx Moth Caterpillars are known to eat Coleus plants. These are grey-colored moths that feed on Coleus at night.
These moths only chew a handful of leaves, otherwise, they’re pretty harmless. Cabbage or Tomato looper also feeds on Coleus leaves at times.
They are somewhat harmful to the health of your plant as they devour a lot of leaves overnight. Go out at night with a torchlight.
As soon as you spot them, pick them by hand and throw them into a bucket of soapy water. This is the best way to get rid of these caterpillars.
What animals eat Coleus plants?
Yes, some animals eat Coleus plants. Rabbits and Squirrels love to munch on the tender parts of Coleus.
Do Deer eat Coleus?
No, deer don’t usually eat Coleus. We can say Coleus plants are deer-resistant. Maybe some other animal is devouring your Coleus.
You can plant Coleus around the garden to keep deers away from your prized plants.
Do Rabbits eat Coleus?
Yes, rabbits eat Coleus. Coleus plant can be uprooted easily by the rabbits, especially when it’s newly planted.
Rabbits even eat the leaves from potted plants as the leaves hang downward.
Squirrels eating Coleus
Squirrels eat Coleus leaves in the morning. Most pests of Coleus are nocturnal in nature, unlike squirrels.
You can keep squirrels away from Coleus by erecting a protective fence around your plant. You can spray hot pepper on the ground to keep squirrels away from Coleus.
Happy Gardening 🙂