|Heuchera Caramel July 2013|
|Heuchera Caramel 9 Oct 2013|
If I had been asked the same question - those would have been my answer. How wrong I would have been!
I walk past this plant umpteen times a day, heck I've even been congratulating myself on how well it's done. This is in fact my third attempt at trying to grow this Heuchera. I was so pleased that I finally chose a spot it liked. It made a statement in the shady bed.
|Shady bed September 2013|
As I walked past yesterday - a quick glance down and something seemed to be lacking. It was lacking that wee bit lustre it had had all year long. I didn't think it needed water - it had rained heavily the previous evening but as I bent down to inspect the soil underneath....BINGO!
Have you guessed yet? Did you guess correctly?
Yes, the Vine Weevil Larvae strikes! If we zoom in closer.......
|Underside of plant|
You can make out where the main root has been completely eaten through and he was not alone!
For the unfamiliar - The Vine weevil (Otiorhynchus sulcatus) is an insect pest that infests a wide range of ornamental plants and fruits, especially those grown in containers. Adult vine weevils eat leaves, and the grubs eat roots. The RHS has a well laid out page full of information on these little devils and how to treat them. The Vine Weevil advice page is available following the link.
I know from experience that I had a chance to at least save some of the plant but first of all it was important to find as many grubs as I could - I removed a good amount of soil from the ground and sifted through looking for other grubs. You can see how distinctive they are - that little dark brown spot at the head end is a give away! These grubs do the most damage to our plants.
I took the plant indoors - to give it a good wash. I've never tried this with other plants but it will do the Heuchera no harm. You can see more clearly in this picture where the grubs had detached the plant from it's main root.
A good shake around and look what appeared......
|Vine Weevil Beetle|
|dead Vine Weevil Beetle!|
|Plant divided and ready for potting on|
Mrs Robin would be very appreciative of such a treat
|In the bird feeder|
In total - I had 10 separate divisions. I split this lot 50/50. Half of them were potted up into pots and the others were planted in some shady spots around the garden. In my experience I have a better success rate of successfully bringing on Heuchera divisions in garden soil than I do in pots. They tend to settle and root quicker. I will report on these divisions in a future post.
Facts about the Vine Weevil Beetle:
- One of the most common and devasting garden pest here in the UK
- All adults are female
- Each Female can lay hundreds of eggs usually between April and September
- Adult weevils cause irregular-shaped notches in leaf margins during the summer
- Larvae cause most damage and will even gnaw through woody stem bases
- They do not fly but are confident climbers and crawlers
- They appear at night hiding in dark places during the day
- Plant loss is more frequent September to March when the larvae are becoming full grown
- Natural predators are birds, frogs, toads, shrews, hedgehogs and predatory ground beetles
- Chemical and nematode control is available
- Larvae are often confused with slow release fertiliser pellets
- Plants in pots and containers are more at risk than those grown in open ground
I've been round the garden and given all the other Heuchera, which there are many, a gentle tug. All seem firmly rooted in the soil but I will keep close eye on them.
As a side note, it's not often I find time to produce 3 blogs so quick in succession. I'm currently enjoying a week's annual leave - weather is great and I've been potting up lots of evergreens for some winter interest.