What is killing my marigolds?

Sophie’s mom
by Sophie’s mom

Every year I plant marigolds around my lamp post. In the last two years, something kills them. It looks like spit on them. I’ve sprayed them, put Seven dust, nothing works. For years they grew well there. Any suggestions?

  9 answers
  • Dian Brown Thomas Dian Brown Thomas on May 24, 2020

    Probably slugs or snails which leave a slimy trail, also they are night feeders. Put down snail bait which attracts and kills them.

  • J J on May 24, 2020

    Try a different annual this year plus dig out the surrounding dirt and replace some of it.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on May 24, 2020

    Hi there,

    Try using PROVADO Ultimate Bug Killer. Available in stores or online. Sounds like Cuckoo Spit!

  • Cindy Cindy on May 24, 2020

    Sand or eggshells...snails and slugs won't cross. Be sure to spread out a few inches.

  • Sheila Ryan Sheila Ryan on May 24, 2020

    There are bugs called “spittle bugs”. They are actually green & enclosed in the spittle. Pretty easy to just smoosh them, but soapy water kills them too. I hate poisons, so I always try soapy water first in a spray bottle. Just warm water with a dash of dish soap. I prefer Dawn. Shake & spray. Do it @ the very least every 7 days.

    The problem could also be male dogs peeing on the plants? Could that be an option? Good luck!

    • See 2 previous
    • Sheila Ryan Sheila Ryan on Jun 02, 2020

      That’s why I suggested soapy water because I don’t like toxic stuff. Not the Dawn soap

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on May 24, 2020

    Sheila is right on target!

    You could manually remove them by splitting open the spittle and taking out the contents. Soapy water gets rid of them, just spray when needed. Also remove any debris that maybe around your marigolds.

  • Lynn Sorrell Lynn Sorrell on May 24, 2020

    Use pure Neem oil it is non toxic to plants,animals,soil so it will not kill bees; be sure to spray underside of the leaves as well that is where the bugs stay/hide out not the top sides,do stems too.

  • Lynn Sorrell Lynn Sorrell on May 24, 2020

    Spittle Bugs


    Adult and juvenile spittle bugs on a casuarina

    Spittle bugs are interesting insects that produce a white frothy substance on stems and leaves which looks just like spittle. Hidden underneath that froth is the juvenile busily sucking out sap from the plant. The froth serves to protect the juvenile from adverse weather conditions and predator attack.

    Adult spittle bugs are about 1cm long and don’t produce the froth. They are called froghoppers and are incredibly strong jumpers which helps them avoid predation.

    Even though spittle bugs suck sap from plants they rarely cause any damage and aren’t regarded as problem pests. Usually they only occur in small numbers so again plants are not significantly impacted.

    How to Control Spittle Bugs Organically

    If a large number appear on a plant or you just don’t like the look of the spittle then you can:

    • use the hose to wash the froth and spittle bugs off, or
    • prune off the affected stems and leaves which will take the spittle bugs away as well.