The bright and colorful blooms of petunias (Petunia) -- which grow as a perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11 -- attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. While they are most often found on the undersides of the leaves, they will also feed on the tops. The bright and colorful blooms of petunias (Petunia) -- which grow as a perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11 -- … In 2009, she received master gardener certification from the Master Gardeners of Summit County, Ohio. Petunia pests include spider mites, tiny, eight-legged spider relatives that look like tiny, moving dots to the naked eye. Spider mites also leave thin webs behind where they feed. Spider mites belong to the mite family Tetranychidae and they are a type of arachnid, not a kind of insect. For petunias growing in the ground, wait until the soil is dry and water to a depth between 6 and 8 inches. In some instances, the leaves will turn a bronze color before dropping from the petunia plant. These cousins to the spider may cause leaves to curl or cup or flowers to discolor and stiffen. Thankfully, spider mites only kill petunias if their population is high or the plant is stressed or unhealthy. Insecticides containing pyrethroids and carbaryl are not recommended since they raise nitrogen levels and encourage spider mite infestations. Insecticidal soap, horticultural oil and neem oil thoroughly applied to the tops and undersides of the petunias leaves will control larger infestations. Hot, dry conditions favor spider mites and water-stressed petunias and more susceptible to infestations. Spray your petunias with neem oil once a week until all signs of mites are gone. If the petunias are growing in containers or hanging baskets, water when the top few inches of soil is dry. These common garden annuals have no serious disease or insect problems but can serve as a food source for spider mites. Implementing the necessary precautions will help keep pests such as spider mites at bay. Missouri Botanical Garden: Petunia (Group), University of California Integrated Pest Management: Spider Mites, University of Rhode Island Landscape Horticulture Program: Petunias. Spider mites are tiny pests that are barely visible to the naked eye. Spider mites congregate in large groups on the underside of foliage but can crawl all over the petunia. Mite feeding damage first appears as a light stippling on leaves, then leaves develop a bronze color, turn yellow or red and drop off … Spider mites look like tiny bugs but they are difficult to spot. Their small size makes identifying these annoying pests difficult without the help of a magnifying glass. Spider mites are tiny, measuring a maximum of 1/20-inch long. Mites – Mites are nearly microscopic pests that suck the juices directly out of petunia cells. She attended the University of Akron, graduating with a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. They pierce the leaves and stems of pansies and suck out the juices. Predatory mites are available to purchase at garden centers, requires 70-percent or more humidity levels and forage on plants without hairy foliage. Many species of spider mites are tiny white creatures. Predatory mites -- such as the spider mite destroyer lady beetle and the sixspotted thrip -- control spider mites naturally without harsh chemicals. Spider Mites on Petunias. The amount of water the petunia needs depends on the weather, soil and the amount -- if any -- of mulch around the plant. With the naked eye, spider mites can appear as small dots that move along the flowers, stems and leaves of the petunia. Signs of a spider mite infestation are silvery stippling on the leaves and a fine webbing between them. Spider mite infestations on petunias rarely pose a serious threat to the plants; merely washing the petunias with a water hose will knock the pests off the plant, greatly reducing their numbers. Their feeding causes the leaves to yellow, wither and drop from the petunia prematurely. But other types of spider mites can have red, green, brown, or yellow color. Spider mites vary in color -- depending on the species -- including red, green and yellow. They insert their long mouthpart into the plant -- which leaves a discolored dot behind -- and suck the juices out of the petunia. The most identifiable feature of spider mites is the white webbing that they spin covering the stems, flowers and leaves of the petunia. Marylee Gowans has written about gardening for both online and print publications. Spider mites feed on the cell content found in plants. Arachnid, not a kind of insect to yellow, wither and from... 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