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It’s very frustrating to make an effort to grow beautiful balloon flowers, only to wake up and see that something ate them during the night. You’ll want to know exactly what creatures are eating your balloon flowers, but identifying them can be tricky.
You can know what’s eating your balloon flowers by inspecting the remaining leaves and petals on the plant. Slugs, snails, and rabbits eat balloon flowers, but you can tell what’s eating them depending on how the chewed-up plants look. You can also rule out animals in your area until one’s left.
This article covers everything you’ll need to know to determine what’s eating your balloon flowers. Once you know what’s munching on your plants, you can make the flowers less appealing to that animal, so it doesn’t happen again.
1. Inspect the Chewed-Up Plants
First, you’ll need to inspect the chewed-up plants. Are the leaves still intact, or are they gone? If they’re still there, do they have tiny holes all over them? From there, you’ll easily identify what’s eating your balloon flowers.
Here’s what you’ll need to look for:
There are Holes All Over the Leaves
If the flowers and leaves are still attached to the plant, but they’re covered in holes and bite marks, snails or slugs are likely eating them. Snails and slugs can easily eat entire leaves off the plant when left alone for long enough.
These pests are nocturnal, so you probably won’t notice them eating your balloon flowers until they’ve done serious damage. Another sign that snails or slugs were the culprits are slime trails left behind on your plants (source).
Once you’ve identified mollusks as the problem, they’re easy to deal with. You can double-check that these creatures are eating your plants by going out at night and inspecting your garden with a flashlight. Flip the leaves over and get a good look at them. Some snails and slugs can be tiny, but they still do a lot of damage to plants.
You can also test for slugs by making a slug beer trap. Slugs are attracted to the smell of beer and climb into containers of it, where they become trapped and drown. Leaving a few small cups of beer outside will let you know if slugs are the problem when you check them in the morning.
For many gardeners, slugs and snails are the most likely pests to eat balloon flowers.
Stopping Slugs and Snails From Eating Flowers
Luckily, stopping slugs and snails from destroying your balloon flowers is fairly simple. As mentioned above, you can set out several beer traps to eliminate them. You will need to do this for several weeks to ensure they’re all gone.
You can also create a coffee ground mulch and sprinkle it around the bottoms of your balloon flowers. Mollusks hate the bitter taste of coffee and will avoid touching it. Store-bought snail baits are another excellent option.
The Leaves and Flowers Are Gone
If entire leaves and flowers disappear from your plants overnight, then something much larger than a slug or snail is eating them. Rabbits do eat balloon flowers, making them the most likely cause.
Rabbits bite off entire plant sections to munch on, so you probably won’t have any leaves or flowers left behind to check. However, they will also leave small round droppings in and around your garden, making them easy to identify.
Stopping Rabbits From Eating Flowers
You can keep wild rabbits away from your balloon flowers in a few different ways. Here’s what you can do:
- Install fencing: Adding fencing around your garden can keep rabbits, and other animals, away from your balloon flowers. A two-foot (0.6 meters) or taller metal fence like this one (link to Amazon) best prevents the rabbits from jumping over.
- Use rabbit repellents: You can spray your garden with repellents to scare them away. You’ll want to make sure to reapply it after it rains. The Liquid Fence Repellent (link to Amazon) is a good option (link to Amazon). It shouldn’t hurt your plants, it’s easy to use, and it’s very effective.
- Add plants rabbits hate: You can add more plants that rabbits hate, such as onions, garlic, and lavender, to your garden. These plants have a strong scent, so many animals avoid them (source).
2. Rule Out Other Creatures
Balloon flowers are resistant to several pests and animals, so you might be able to rule out local animals until just one is left. If you can’t narrow your suspects down to a single creature, you’ll still have an easier time figuring out what’s eating the plants.
These flowers are deer-resistant, so you don’t need to consider them. Squirrels and chipmunks also won’t eat balloon flowers unless they’re hungry and there’s no other food in the area.
You’ll want to check out a list of local wildlife and see if any of those animals will eat balloon flowers. It can take a bit of research, but every area has different creatures who could be the ones behind eating your plants.
3. Try a Motion Activated Camera
As a last resort, add a motion-activated camera to your garden. It’s a good option when you believe a larger animal that you’re having trouble identifying from bite marks alone is chewing up your plants.
When setting up the camera, you’ll want to make sure that you can see the balloon flowers clearly. Most modern motion cameras can connect to your smartphone, alerting you when it detects something moving in your garden.
Once the camera’s in place, you’ll be able to view the footage and see what’s eating your balloon flowers easily.
In short, there are a few different ways that you can figure out what’s eating your balloon flowers. It’s best to inspect the plants first and check for bite marks. Often, you can tell what’s eating them from that alone.
If that doesn’t work, you’ll want to rule out as many other local animals as you can, or consider installing a motion activated camera pointed towards your garden.