7 Pests That Could Be Eating Your Zinnias

There’s nothing more beautiful than having a garden of healthily groomed Zinnias with gorgeous blossoms and green leaves but pests eat zinnias is a problem.

The sight is simply mind-blowing and exceedingly rewarding for its owner.

Nevertheless, it becomes heartbreaking when pests start to eat the leaves.

If you have a garden and notice the foliage is not as healthy as it was, you might wonder what could be eating your Zinnias.

For starters, many pests want your Zinnias as much as you do.

Don’t be surprised when they start feeding on them.

For this reason, this article will help you to figure out what pests could be eating your precious plants.

Also, control methods will be provided to help you get rid of them.

What’s Eating Your Zinnias?

1. Rabbits

A rabbit nestled in the garden, a potential threat to zinnia plants.

If you have rabbits as pets, you will be amazed to know these sturdy animals with whiskers are eating your Zinnias. Although most research proves that rabbits don’t like Zinnias, they may still munch on the plant for fun. Moreover, bunnies that are still experimenting with taste may eat the plants.

Interestingly, it’s not difficult to identify them as culprits because they are greedy. When Rabbits feed on the leaves, they eat all or a significant portion of them. That means you may wake up one day and discover that only the stem of your plant is left behind. They often leave behind some of their droppings when they are done snacking on the leaves.

If you see any of these signs, rabbits are the pests eating your Zinnias.

How To Control Them

If you have rabbits as pets, keep them away from your Zinnias. You can apply powdered fox urine or blood meal around the foliage to repel rabbits from the plant.

2. Slugs

A slug on the patio, one of the pests known for eating zinnia plants.

Did you notice the damage done to the leaves during spring or summer?

Are there ragged openings chewed across the veins of the leaves?

If your answer is yes, slugs are the pests eating your Zinnias. Typically, Slugs are lousy chewers-they don’t eat neatly. Also, you will find damage done to your leaves in the morning because slugs mainly feed when it is dark.

How To Control Them

Pick out slugs as soon as you notice them. Also, use electric copper barriers around your Zinnias to keep them away from your plant. Additionally, organic pellets containing ferric phosphate are effective slug repellants. Pour diatomaceous earth into the soil near the Zinnias plant. Diatomaceous earth tears the slugs apart as they crawl on it.

3. Japanese Beetle

Zinnia potentially afflicted by Japanese beetles, notorious floral pests.

Japanese Beetles could be the insect that eats your Zinnias. How can you identify them?

Plant owners unfamiliar with insect pests may be unable to identify the Japanese Beetle as the culprit. Usually, these insects are present in summer. They ravage the foliage, remaining only skeleton-like leaves. Moreover, they often bore holes into the flowers of the Zinnias.

If you find a metallic green insect with cooper brown wings feeding on your Zinnias, that is most likely a Japanese Beetle.

How To Control Them

Spray Zinnias with neem oil to control Japanese Beetles. Neem oil can help to reduce the rate at which they feed on plants. Moreover, it prevents Japanese beetles that have consumed the oil from laying eggs that hatch.

Spray neem oil in the evening to avoid leaf spot disease burns during the day.

4. European Earwig

Garden foliage that may harbor European Earwigs, a pest that preys on zinnia flowers.

Earwigs like to have a share of the juicy Zinnias from summer to fall. If you have Zinnias planted in your garden, the leaves and flowers are susceptible to attack from Earwigs. Usually, they bore tiny holes into the Zinnias leaves and flowers. Additionally, they feed mostly at night.

Earwigs are easily identifiable with their long reddish-brown bodies with two short and sharp forceps.

How To Control Them

You can set traps for earwigs by placing shallow bowls of vegetable oil under the infested plant. Pour alcohol or soapy water over trapped earwigs to kill them. Also, you can spray insecticides with imidacloprid on infested plants to kill the earwigs.

5. Aphids

Snail on soil symbolizing aphids, common sap-sucking pests of zinnias.

When damage is done to the Zinnia leaves and stem, Aphids are most likely the insects eating your Zinnias. These sap-sucking insects love to suck the juice from the Zinnias plant by boring holes into the leaves and stem. The holes are usually visible enough to notice the damage done to the plant.

How To Control Them

Use natural predators such as parasitic wasps to keep away aphids from your Zinnias. This method works because the female parasitic wasps use Aphids as hosts to lay their eggs. After the eggs hatch, they feed on the body of the Aphids. Also, remove Aphids from zinnia leaves by spraying them heavily with water. Do the spraying early in the morning to allow the water to dry early and prevent mildew. Also, destroy the attacked plant to prevent the aphids from spreading.

6. Diseases Pathogens

Healthy plant leaves, possibly facing the invisible threat of disease pathogens.

It’s easy to conclude that pests are responsible for eating your Zinnias. On the contrary, pathogens, like pests, can cause damage to the plant. Here’s the interesting part: the symptoms of plant eaten by pests is similar to symptoms of plants attacked by pathogens.

For example, an attack by bacteria is manifested by wet spots with yellow borders on the stem, blooms, and leaves of the Zinnias. These spots become brown or dark gray and wither, leaving holes in the leaves.

A plant owner that merely notices the hole can quickly conclude that the hole was bored by an insect. Likewise, fungal infections are manifested by large, round spots on the leaves of the zinnias. Sometimes the spots are rectangular with a reddish-brown or purple color.

Like bacterial leaf spots, when they become gray, they wither, leaving holes in the leaves. At this point, what is most important is to understand the symptoms of pests and pathogens. This is crucial because it is necessary to identify what is attacking your Zinnias before trying to control it.

How To Control Them

Destroy infected plants. Make sure not to compost them; otherwise, you risk infecting other susceptible plants with the pathogens. To prevent fungal diseases, wet your plant only in the morning so the leaves can dry before nightfall.

7. Caterpillars

Garden greenery that could attract caterpillars, pests known to damage zinnias.

It may not be shocking that caterpillars make it to the list. No matter the size, these colorful insects are so notorious that a caterpillar in your garden becomes a nightmare because a caterpillar eats almost anything.

For example, you might wake up one day with all Zinnias eaten and almost gone. So you may see one eating on Zinnias. If that’s the case, you can easily pick it up and relocate it.

But did you know?

Most caterpillars eat at night; you may miss one eating your plant by the day. So to identify whether it’s a caterpillar that’s been eating your Zinnias, you must look at the leaves and notice if there have been parts chewed in a circular pattern.

If you verify that it is a caterpillar, you can resort to deterring them using homemade insecticides. At the same time, you must ensure that the caterpillar will have no way back to reaccess your plant, should you choose to relocate it instead.


Always pay close attention to your Zinnias so that you can detect them as soon as pests start to eat your Zinnias. That way, it won’t be difficult to identify the pest eating your Zinnias. Furthermore, that makes it easier to control and prevent the pest or pathogen from evoking more damage.

Finally, always use less toxic pesticides to minimize the harm to your Zinnias and insects beneficial to your plant.

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