Forum home Wildlife gardening

Centaurea Under Attack

I was so pleased to see my centaurea really bulk up this year but then I notice that the flower buds and leaves around them were bent over and covered in a white sticky looking film. When I zoom in on the close up I took I can see what looks like lots of little green eggs clustered together within the cocoon. From what I've found on the internet it looks likely to be moth eggs. Guessing when they hatch they're going to be munching through the leaves. Anyone else had this and did your centaurea bounce back after they'd gone on their merry way? Or is this a perennial problem? Thanks for any input.



  • CeresCeres Posts: 2,691
    Spider mite?
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,689
    Probably tortrix moth, they're such a pain. I would just cut off and bin any distorted growth, including the larvae hiding inside.
    "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour". 
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,417
    I would delight in the presence of some our ever-diminishing wildlife. All part of the food chain.

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • FiddlingOnFiddlingOn Posts: 84
    Interesting. Thank  you for your responses all. I shall investigate further. I know what you mean, nutclutlet, about our ever diminishing wildlife. It's all a bit of a fine balance between wildlife and gardening. 
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,874
    edited May 2023
    We have lots of Centaurea Montana … it’s a robust plant quite able to outgrow a bit of insect damage … the most wonderful thing about it is watching groups of goldfinches feeding on the seedheads … wonderful. 😊 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • FiddlingOnFiddlingOn Posts: 84
    That looks pretty Dovefromabove, mine are planted by allium too. Well, it's good to know they're robust plants and therefore should survive. This is only their 2nd year flowering as I bought them as very small plants from Morisson's supermarket so was pleased to see how much they'd bulked up this year. I didn't know the goldfinches liked the seedheads as I'd been deadheading them.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,874
    Thanks @FiddlingOn  😊 
    My garden’s been left pretty much to itself this spring as my son had a terrible accident and I’ve been caring for him. Thankfully my daughter the wonderful  @WonkyWomble came here for a few days this week to care for her brother so I could have a few days away, and she provided some major tlc to my garden as well 🙏 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • wild edgeswild edges Posts: 10,445
    Timothy Tortrix is one of the moths that targets centaurea. One of my favourite moths just for the Beatrix Potter style name but it's a pretty little thing too if you ever get to see one. I'll dig out a photo later.
    My centaurea came from a plant dumped on some waste ground up the road. It was surviving in the old soil of a hanging basket that was dumped upside down and happily flowering away. I also found a big clump in the woods yesterday miles from any houses so it must be able to travel well too. It's on my walking route so I might have tracked some seeds up there on my shoes :#
    If you can keep your head, while those around you are losing theirs, you may not have grasped the seriousness of the situation.
  • FiddlingOnFiddlingOn Posts: 84
    @Dovefromabove , oh dear sorry your son's had a serious accident. Sounds like you've a supportive family in the form of your daughter helping out there and in the garden. I hope he gets well soon. 
  • FiddlingOnFiddlingOn Posts: 84
    From what @Loxley and @wild edges have said it seems we've identified the likely agent! Hope they're not the ones that also lay their eggs in your carpet (looks similar) as we've had that before and the whole house had to be fumigated :D What a palaver that was! Seems like a very hardy plant from what I'm hearing so hopefully it will bounce back. Thanks for your input all.    
Sign In or Register to comment.