In hot, dry conditions, Dahlias and other plants are susceptible to pests, such as spider mites. Spider mites puncture leaves, causing them to become brown and leathery, and they move from lower leaves upwards.
- You can remove damaged leaves to discourage their spreading, spray leaves with water to remove them, and apply horticultural oil or soap to kill these tiny pests. Keep plants and soil consistently watered to avoid stressed and vulnerable plants.
Slugs and caterpillars may also nibble on your Dahlias, especially while plants are young. If you notice small holes in foliage or flowers, you can easily pick slugs and caterpillars off of your plants. (Remember, caterpillars become butterflies and moths, and are beneficial food sources for birds!)
- Try using deterrents such as coffee grounds, egg shells, or natural pellets around the base of plants. Avoid using pesticides to keep your garden habitat - and pollinators - healthy.
Critters like deer, rabbits, and squirrels may also make a snack of your Dahlias.
- If you have hungry wildlife in your yard, you may consider protecting your Dahlias with fencing or using a deterrent spray or pellets to keep critters away.