Saturday morning, I went out into my cutting garden to harvest some fresh zinnia and sunflower blooms for our home. Upon touching the stems, I was immediately swarmed with whitefly.
Whiteflies are small flying insects that resemble gnats. They are especially noticeable when you brush up against an infested plant – they fly out in a cloud of white. Yikes! Whiteflies suck the sap out of plants and weaken plants if left untreated. They love my flowers (zinnias, sunflowers, and gomphrena), lantana, Mexican honeysuckle, copper plant, coral vine, gerbera daisies, ornamental peppers, turks cap, hibiscus and more. One reason for their abundance might be the harvesting of cotton right now. Cotton seems to be a host plant for whitefly.
Neem Oil is very effective in cooler months, but can risk burning your plants in the heat of summer. We recommend Fertilome Broad Spectrum Insecticide sprayed early in the morning or the evening. Be sure to spray tops and bottoms of the leaf surface thoroughly. These hard to control insects may require 2-3 applications one week apart.
James had me dip my blooms in a solution of dishwashing detergent (like Dawn) before I brought my flowers inside so I didn’t infest our other plants. Oh, but I do love my flowers!!