Unwelcome Visitors in the Garden…

unwelcome visitors

Unfortunately, there are times when unwelcome visitors make a visit to any garden.

Even mine….

unwelcome visitors

Can you see my unwelcome visitors on my Lantana leaves?

Well, if you guessed that I have whiteflies, you would be right.

Whiteflies absolutely love Lantana.  Now, I also love Lantana and have quite a bit of it growing and every year, I get whiteflies.

Whiteflies are soft-bodied insects that are related to aphids and scale.  They suck the juices from the plant’s leaves, which can lead to yellowing leaves, stunted growth and even dead leaves.

Whiteflies are not particular.  They enjoy many different types of plants and vegetables.

So, how can you tell if you have whiteflies?  Just lightly brush your plants and if you see tiny, white flying insects, then it is a good guess that you have whiteflies.

So, what can you do if you have them?

1. You can a ‘sticky trap’ by smearing petroleum jelly over bright, yellow colored cardboard or  poster board (you can always color the board yellow  yourself).  Attach the yellow sticky trap to short garden stakes throughout the area in your garden, affected by whiteflies.  They are attracted to the color yellow and will become stuck in the petroleum jelly.  One yellow board per two plants is recommended.

2. Using insecticidal soap can often help.  There are other insecticides that can are effective such as neem oil, pyrethins and more.  Read the label before you purchase a product to see if they help to control whiteflies.  Be sure to spray both the top and bottom of leaves, since whiteflies lay their eggs on the underside of leaves.

3. You can use plants that repel whiteflies such as Marigolds, Nasturtiums or Calendula.

What do I do?  Well that would be number 4…..

4. I do nothing.

Why?  Because my Lantana flourish despite having whiteflies.  They suffer no visible ill-effects.  So, I ignore the whiteflies.

Now, if had whitefly problems with my vegetables, I would use a combination of methods #1 – #3 in my vegetable garden.

I would have yellow, sticky traps scattered throughout my vegetable garden along with judicious spraying of insecticidal soap.  I would also plant Marigolds and Nasturtiums throughout my vegetable garden as well, (I already do that).


I wish that whiteflies were the only unwelcome visitors in my garden, but sadly, that is not true.  The other day, I discovered a severe infestation of……..?

Stay tuned 😉

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."
6 replies
  1. Laura
    Laura says:

    I hope you don't say caterpillars. I like caterpillars.

    (I found your blog one day when I did a google search for queen's wreath.)

  2. PJ @ Home and Garden Decor
    PJ @ Home and Garden Decor says:

    Those Whiteflies look to me like something I had on my hibiscuses not too long ago. the leaves turned yellowish and even died, the flowers didn't bloom up to their full beauty either. I couldn't figure what caused it until I had a closer look at the leaves and buds and saw all those small white spots. I have never had them in my garden before and I never seen any white little insects flying around.
    I spayed both infected plants with dish soap water and so far this has worked for me to get rid of them.
    Now since you mentioned the Lantana, I better check on them too.
    Thank you very much for the tips
    Paula Jo

  3. jodi (bloomingwriter)
    jodi (bloomingwriter) says:

    I'm a pretty passive gardener too, when it comes to unwelcome visitors. I do cut slugs in half because there are just so many of them this year, and I will turn the hose on a shrub if the aphids are too profound, but otherwise, nature just takes care of things around here. Or I ignore them. 🙂

  4. Ellyn
    Ellyn says:

    Lantana are pretty tough. They grow as weeds in Florida. I trust the bug eater (whatever they are) will keep them under control.

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