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Erysimum Bowles Mauve

I volunteer at an animal rescue centre once a week and they also have a memorial garden, where I have planted an Erysimum Bowles Mauve in a raised bed.  Having these in my own garden, I knew them to be pretty trouble-free and very long flowering.  Originally the plant in the memorial garden was doing well but on my last two or three visits, it has developed small light brown blotchy spots all over most of the leaves, although it continues to flower. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what may have caused this, and what I could do about it please?


  • CeresCeres Posts: 2,286
    It could be flea beetle damage.
  • Do you have a photo, please?
    A gardener's work is never at an end  - (John Evelyn 1620-1706)
  • Here's a photo I took yesterday, Yorkshire Rose.  

  • Thanks for your suggestion, Ceres.  Having checked the RHS website, I think this is the likely answer.  I have some Pyrol Bug & Larvae Killer in my shed, and the label states it can be used to control flea beetles, so I think I'll give that a try.  I'm doing an extra volunteering session this week, on Thursday, so I'll spray the erysimum then.
  • You know, it's nature. Conditions are somehow right for this flea beetle. It's a very 70's approach to just start spraying. Your spray will have collateral damage and further weaken the ecosystem in your garden. This is an interesting article by Alys Fowler about flea beetles:

    Some useful advice in it:
    You can encourage a number of natural predators to keep this pest in check, including two that parasitise it: microscopic braconid wasps and tachinid flies, which look like small houseflies. In both cases, the larval stage feeds on the flea beetle, while the adults feed on nectar and pollen; some species are even important pollinators.
    If you want these good guys around, plant some flowers between your crops: umbels such as caraway, herb fennel, coriander and Ammi majus, and simple open flowers such as California poppies and pot marigolds, as well as yarrows. Nature will do the hard work for you.

  • wild edgeswild edges Posts: 9,369
    I agree, don't spray. The damage doesn't look like it's harming the plant too badly and the flowers are so popular with pollinators that spraying seems irresponsible. The product info for Pyrol says 'low toxicity to bees' which should read 'some toxicity to bees' in my opinion.
    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
  • Thanks for your comments, Micearguers and Wild Edges.  I have noted what you said and read the Alys Fowler article, so I will hold fire with the spray.  
  • That's great @Langport-Jane . I could have said it a bit nicer, sorry about that. The plants listed by Fowler are lovely (caraway, herb fennel, coriander and Ammi majus, and simple open flowers such as California poppies and pot marigolds, as well as yarrows) -- I love California poppies, it would be a bold planting choice colour-wise!
  • Haha, Micearguers, no apology necessary!  Unfortunately it isn't up to me to provide the lovely plants in Alys Fowler's list, as it isn't my garden.  It is a memorial garden - shared facility - at an animal rescue centre where I volunteer.  I planted the Bowles Mauve below a plaque remembering a very special cat ......   
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