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Damaged Nasturtium Foliage

A couple of weeks ago after my Nasturtium seedlings emerged in the garden some kind of pest had a field day in the garden. Most of the cotyledons were eaten back to the stems and some leaves had been chewed like the picture below.

Damaged Nasturtium foliage

The seedlings could've been attacked by either a slug,Japanese beetle or perhaps it was a leafcutter bee. Whatever it was that started eating the foliage of my Nasturtiums and damaged leafs it also took bites out of my sunflowers and ravaged my purple coneflowers and several weeds. Fortunately, their were enough weeds and purple coneflowers to eat that the Nasturtiums were given a rest and are recuperating nicely.

Nasturtium foliage

A few feet away from the damaged Nasturtiums, in the cinder block planters, these Nasturtiums that I sowed directly were completely spared and didn't suffer any damage. Maybe whatever garden pest that was visiting the salad bar along the fence had its fill before reaching this section of my garden.

In all of my years of growing Nasturtiums I've never had a single leaf damaged by a pest in the garden. This is a first for me. I wish I could pinpoint the pest that almost took out my seedlings but I haven't spotted it.

Previous Posts on Nasturtiums:

Direct sowing Nasturtiums in the Garden
5 Reasons Why I Grow Nasturtiums in my Garden
Nasturtium "Dwarf Cherry Rose"
Nasturtium "Jewel  Mix"
Climbing Nasturtium, "Moonlight" (pics & video)
When I Collect Nasturtium Seeds.(pics & video)

"I'm growing Nasturtium "Spitfire" for  the GROW project. Thanks, to Renee's Garden for the seeds."


  1. I know, everything seems to be getting eatten all at once. Rabbits supposedly do not like nasturtiums but they sure like everything else. I just found out today that the baby rabbits will eat through most repellants, so there is one that will make the plant taste bad along with smell bad.

    How would I add my blog to Chicago Now? I did go on the site, but I could not see anywhere to like up. Thanks,


  2. Have you been outside at night with a flashlight? Flip the leaves with your hand in the daytime to see if anything flies out of hiding under the leaves.

    My nastutiums are more or less done. Hot, humid weather is too much for sissies. I'll start again in fall when it is cool.

  3. It is interesting that you have never had a problem with them before. Nasturiums are so problematic many gardeners and gardening books consider them a trap crop for almost every pest you can think of.

  4. Anonymous5:40 PM

    I've had a lot of small grasshoppers in my yard this year, and they seem to eat in a perfect "line" like your first picture shows. Also a lot of cabbage loopers out there, but they have no rhyme or reason to their leaf munching... Slugs also leave random holes as well as slime everywhere they go...

  5. Gatsby,

    Fortunately, whatever it is that was eating the plants and seedlings seems to have moved on. When you are logged into the blog at Chicago Now, click the link that is made out of your name in the upper-right corner. It will take you to your profile where you can add a link to your blog.

    No I haven't been out to inspect the insect damage at night. I'm afraid to do it and discover the damage is being done by a rat. :0)


    They'll trap aphids in my garden but, not even those aphids will hit the milky weeds first. Never seen them eaten by bug before.


    Not much in the way of grasshoppers around here. When I was a kid my neighborhood had a lot of grasshoppers because we had a lot of empty lots overgrown with weeds, but those have been developed and the grasshoppers moved on. I don't think I've seen a cabbage looper either but I'll have to go out and inspect.

    Thanks for the suggestions.

  6. Well that s*cks! I'm glad whatever it was seems to have left. Hopeful they won't be back!

  7. [Stan and Kyle] "Oh my god--they killed the nasties! You bastards!"

    I've gone South Park, it's clearly past my bedtime.

    Sorry to hear that your nasties and coneflowers got munched. Yours are well ahead of mine, though! The leaves on mine are about the size of a quarter.

  8. I know it's frustrating. I have a deer and rabbit problem right now. I put several tree tubes around my young trees yesterday. Take that deer and bunnies- no more using my trees as a salad bar.

  9. Garden girl,

    They're along enough now that if whatever was eating comes back the plants won't be damaged unless they eat from the stems.


    LMAO. Yeah they grow pretty rapidly for me in poor soil.

    Mutiny in the garden,
    That was my thinking too. Has to be something crawling around like maybe earwigs or a beetle.

    Window On The Prairie,

    I won't complain so much about these bugs, it could be worse I could be dealing with rabbits and deer.


  10. Ouch .. that is bad! When my plants get munched I feel like I have been violated after all the time and care I spent on growing them! I hope mine survive and don't turn into a feast for some bad bug. Nice photo of the seedlings in the cinder blocks!

  11. Anonymous5:41 PM

    As peppery as nasturtiums are you'd think a critter would keep their tongue off of it. I reckon it depends on how hungry it might have been eh?

    Anyway, I'm glad your "nasties" weren't completely ravaged. I'm not that pleased with how mine is doin anyway. I reckon I'm used to viners and climbers bein a little more vigorous and self-propelled than 'Spitfire.' I'm behind some with checkin out other Grow project bloggers updates. But from what I've seen so far today, all the nasturtiums look pretty much the same - spindly, lazy, and lackadaisical in their efforts to vine up anything. Am I missing something?

  12. What the bananas! Not sure how I missed commenting on this one. That sucks about the foliage being eaten... I've not had the happen, either. Hopefully things are better this month?!

  13. I blame the earwigs for most of my damage, nasturtiums and otherwise. I haven't found any Japanese beetles yet, and only a couple of slugs, but I have earwigs a-plenty. Not that I've actually witnessed them eating the nasturtiums, but they're so icky and prehistoric-looking that they make a great scapegoat. Glad yours are recovering!

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