What is eating Hydrangeas

What is eating Hydrangeas? (13 Culprits and Quick Fixes!)

Slugs and Snails eat large, ragged holes into Hydrangea foliage. Rose Chafers also eat Hydrangea leaves and flowers. Caterpillars of Leaf Tier Moth also infest Hydrangeas. Aphids, Spider Mites, Scale insects, and Mealybugs feed on Hydrangeas. Animals like Rabbits, Squirrels, Deer, and Groundhogs feed on Hydrangeas.

Hydrangea is a flowering shrub that is native to Asia and America. There are more than 75 species of Hydrangea in the world.

The plants give out beautiful blossoms in any soil. Sometimes you’ll see different colors of flowers on the same plant.

The plant doesn’t usually have any problem but some critters/insects love to feed on Hydrangeas. Let’s see how to keep such pests in control.

Do Slugs and Snails eat Hydrangeas?

Yes, slugs and snails eat Hydrangeas. Slugs and Snails don’t eat the woody Hydrangeas. They eat other types of Hydrangeas with passion.

Snails and slugs devour the foliage and new stems. Ragged holes are seen on the leaves damaged by snails/slugs.

Silvery slime trails are seen around the Hydrangeas that are attacked by Snails/Slugs. Also, the damage is along the leaf edges.

Take your flashlight and go out into the garden at night to catch these pests in action. They become active in the spring before many insect pests are active.

How to get rid of slugs on Hydrangeas?

Follow the below instructions to control slug/snail populations in the garden.

  • Clear the debris near the garden. Slugs/Snails tend to breed under decaying organic matter/logs/cardboards. Find these and get rid of them.
  • Wear gloves and go out into the garden at night with a flashlight. Pick these pests one by one and throw them into a bucket of soapy water.
  • Take a couple of small bowls and fill them with beer. Dig pits around your Hydrangeas and place these bowls in them so that only the rim is above the ground. The pests will be found in these bowls in the morning, get rid of them.
  • There are also commercially available slug bait products. Set them up if the infestation is severe.

Rose Chafers on Hydrangeas

Rose Chafer is a type of beetle that’s usually found on Rose plants. These insects also feed on the blossoms and leaves of Hydrangea.

Rose Chafers leave irregularly shaped holes in Hydrangea blossoms. Rose Chafers injure Hydrangeas by skeletonizing leaves.

Rose Chafers are 1/3″ tan-colored beetles with spindly legs. Hydrangeas are considered insect-proof but they aren’t safe from Rose Chafers.

How to get rid of Rose Chafers on Hydrangea

Follow the below instructions to get rid of Rose Chafers on Hydrangea.

  • Wear gloves and pick them up by hand. You can also shake the bush to dislodge Chafers. Throw them into a bucket of soapy water. Do this regularly to keep their populations low.
  • You can spray ‘Sevin’ or ‘Avid’ to control Rose Chafers on Hydrangea. Spray once every two days for the best results.
  • One can cover Hydrangeas with cheesecloth to deter Rose Chafers.

Do Caterpillars eat Hydrangeas?

Yes, a variety of caterpillars eat holes into Hydrangea foliage. Caterpillars of Leaf Tier Moth are the common pests of Hydrangea.

The leaf tier moth caterpillar damage is so severe that the foliage curls up. The caterpillars hide in the curled leaves.

How do I get rid of Caterpillars on my Hydrangeas?

Cut off the distorted leaves as soon as you notice them and dispose of them properly. Squish them and throw them into the garbage or compost bin.

Pesticides won’t be effective on the caterpillars as they hide safely in the distorted leaves.

Aphids on Hydrangea

Yes, aphids eat Hydrangea foliage. Aphids are small insects that feed on plant sap through the leaves.

Aphids reproduce vigorously, this leads to a high population of these pests in a short time. Aphids hide on the lower sides of the foliage.

Aphids attack leaves and turn them yellow. After a while the leaves become distorted. These insects hide in the curled-up leaves.

How to get rid of Aphids on Hydrangeas?

Follow the below instructions to get rid of aphids on Hydrangeas.

  • Spray a steady stream of water on the affected branches of Hydrangea to dislodge Aphids.
  • Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and wipe the insects off the affected branches.
  • You can spray insecticidal soap on Hydrangeas to eliminate any severe aphid infestation.

Scale insects on Hydrangea

Scale insects attach themselves to the stems and leaves of Hydrangea. The insects suck the plant sap from Hydrangea.

Scale insects have a protective covering around their bodies. So, the usual insect elimination methods don’t work on them.

Tips to get rid of scale on Hydrangea

  • Identify the branches affected by scale infestation and cut them off. Dispose of them carefully.
  • You can introduce parasitic wasps, soldier beetles, lacewings, and ladybugs onto the affected Hydrangea to control scale insects biologically.
  • You can spray Neem oil/Insecticidal soap on the affected branches of Hydrangea to control scale insects.

Spider Mites on Hydrangea

Spider Mites are tiny pests that feed on Hydrangea plant sap. They can be found on the undersides of the leaves.

Spider Mites’ presence can be confirmed if you see a thin web around flowers/leaves. Their feeding habits turn the foliage yellow and distort them.

A severe infestation of Spider Mites weakens Hydrangeas. Act as soon as you see yellow spots on the Hydrangea foliage.

How to get rid of Spider Mites on Hydrangeas?

  • Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and wipe the branches that are affected by Spider Mites.
  • Spray Neem oil on the affected Hydrangeas to get rid of Spider Mites.
  • You can use Pyrethroid pesticides to get rid of Spider Mites.

Mealybugs on Hydrangea

Mealybugs are armor-less scale insects that feed on plant sap. Mealybugs have a protective layer that protects them from some insecticides.

Mealybugs can be found around flower clusters and the lower sides of leaves. They cause a lot of damage to Hydrangeas by feeding on plant sap.

How do I get rid of Mealybugs on Hydrangeas?

  • Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and wipe the bugs off the affected branches.
  • Dislodge the insects with a steady stream of water.
  • You can spray insecticidal soap on the affected branches of Hydrangeas to eliminate Hydrangeas.

What animal eats Hydrangeas?

Deer, Rabbits, Squirrels, and Groundhogs eat Hydrangeas. You can keep these animals away from Hydrangeas by erecting a fence around them.

Do Deer eat Hydrangeas?

Yes, deer eat the foliage, flowers, and tips of Hydrangea. However, you can prevent this by planting deer-resistant Hydrangea varieties in the garden.

Use a barrier to keep deer at bay. You may want to surround your Hydrangea with a net to keep them from munching on the flowers.

Deer resistant Hydrangea

Oakleaf Hydrangea and climbing Hydrangea are not that appealing to deer. Follow the proper measures to keep deer away from Hydrangea.

Will Hydrangeas grow back if eaten by deer?

Yes, Hydrangeas blossom again even if the plant parts are devoured by deer. They don’t do much damage to the buds.

Squirrels eating Hydrangeas

No, squirrels don’t usually eat Hydrangeas. They might dig the plants up and throw them around in search of food.

How do you keep squirrels away from hydrangeas?

You can cover your Hydrangeas with a net to keep squirrels away. Spray chilli pepper spray around Hydrangeas to deter squirrels.

Do Rabbits eat Hydrangeas?

Yes, rabbits eat Hydrangea. They cause a lot of damage to the younger plants. They feed on Hydrangeas in the summer.

How do I keep rabbits from eating my hydrangeas?

You can erect a deer fence around your Hydrangeas to keep squirrels away. Spray red pepper spray around Hydrangeas to deter rabbits.

Do Groundhogs eat hydrangeas?

Yes, Groundhogs eat Hydrangeas. Groundhogs are attracted by the strong, aromatic smell of Hydrangeas.

Groundhogs don’t feed on Hydrangeas passionately, they prefer vegetables and fruits. Install a fence around Hydrangeas to keep groundhogs at bay.

Happy Gardening 🙂