Gardening > Flower Leaf Pests

Flower Leaf Pests


Holes in cabbage or lettuce leaves are a disaster in as much as they represent the destruction of a crop. The culprits need to be identified and dealt with. Holes in the leaves of flowers may seem less important but can nevertheless disappoint the gardener and ruin the look of the flower bed. Sometimes pests can undermine the health of the whole plant leading to poor or absent flowers. Certain pests are more likely to target specific species and it is usually helpful to know what you are looking for. See also Slimy Pests In Your Garden.

Pea and Bean Weevil

Usually a nuisance in the vegetable plot this pest can also target flower members of the pea family. This includes lupins and sweet peas. Pea and bean weevils mostly attack young plants and can do a great deal of harm. The weevils are about a quarter of an inch in length and are yellow/brown beetles. They eat around the edges of leaves not leaving holes but reducing the overall size of the leaf.


Woodlice will eat and ruin a wide variety of leaves. These little armour-plated, many-legged, grey creatures hide under stones and wood and come out at night. They tend to eat the leaves of plants that are already in poor health. They make ragged holes in the leaves.

Flea Beetle

Stocks, Aubretia, Wallflowers and Alyssum (and other members of the crucifer family) are all damaged by this tiny beetle. Black or balck and yellow in colour it will create many tiny, round holes in leaves killing or seriously harming seedlings.


Earwigs attack Dahlias and Chrysanthemums. They hide in the petals during the day and feed on the leaves at night, creating small, ragged holes.

Capsid Bug

Capsid bugs also attack Dahlias and Chrysanthemums. Salvias are also a favourite of theirs along with many other flowering plants. The affected leaves become spotted and as they grow the spots turn into small irregular holes with brown edges. The foliage eventually becomes puckered and out of shape. Capsid bugs are small, yellow/brown coloured beetles.


The caterpillars of the Angle Shades Moth, the Cabbage Moth, the Cabbage White Butterfly and the Vapourer Moth will all attack the leaves of annuals and perennials in the flower garden. The caterpillars are usually very well camouflaged and you need to look carefully at the leaves in order to pick off the pests. The damage can be bad and leaves can end up skeletonised.

Healthy, bug-free foliage not only looks attractive it is also more likely that plants with healthy leaves will produce beautiful blooms. All round good health in the garden is the best way of deterring pests but if something nasty does turn up, knowing its habits and preferences is the best defence and enables the gardener to act swiftly.