The amaryllis is a flowering bulb that will grow in gardens, flower beds or in pots. Available in a wide range of colors from white, pinks, reds and mixes of all three, these plants can reach up to 2 feet in height and may produce 6 flowers per stalk. Amaryllis is hardy, sometimes flowering for up to 75 years; yet it is still susceptible to annoying pests that can damage the plant.
Chewed leaves indicate that your amaryllis has been discovered by caterpillars. These pests will attack your plant between June and August and will devour all of the leaves over a four to five day span. Manually removing caterpillars often works if the infestation is not extensive. An application of 0.02 percent endosulfan, 0.02 percent cypermethrin or 0.02 percent parathion should eliminate caterpillars from your garden in about two days.
Commonly called thunder flies, these tiny, cigar-shaped insects cause harm and damage to your amaryllis flower. Thrips suck juice from the leaves, stalks and flowers of the amaryllis and are often to blame when the amaryllis fails to bloom. They may spend their entire life span on the head of a flower and are active during the day or night. Control thrips by applying a weekly coating of dust containing chlordane or dieldrin. An application of 0.02 percent endosulfan or an 0.05 percent solution of dimethoate will can also be used to eliminate thrips.
Found on many plants, aphids can attack your amaryllis plant and will destroy your flower if they are not immediately controlled. Aphids are small insects that are known to reproduce quickly. They are brown, green, yellow, red, black or brown in color, and they feed on your amaryllis by sucking the sap from the leave surface. Aphids produce sticky waste substance called honeydew that will coat the leaves and stems of your amaryllis plant. Catch aphids early by checking your plant regularly; inspect the undersides of leaves for aphid several times a week. Rid your amaryllis of aphids by spraying garden flowers with a hose. Once they are dislodged from the flower, most aphids cannot return to the plant. Kill aphids by spraying a solution of 2 tsp. dish soap and 1 qt. of luke warm water on your plant. The soap removes the protective coating on the aphids and causes them to die of dehydration.
Spider mites cause tissue damage and suck the sap from your amaryllis flowers. Spider mites are small and red, brown, yellow or green and are difficult to see with the naked eye. They make webs on your plants leaves and flowers, which protects them and their eggs from natural enemies. Signs of infestation are leaves that are marked with brown flecks. Leaves become discolored and fall off--if infestation is severe your amaryllis may die. Spider mites are difficult to control and remove, but there are pesticides that are made specifically for spider mites. Insecticidal soaps and horticultural oils can be used to help rid plants of spider mites. Propargite (omite) sprayed at a 0.01 percent concentration is effective when used regularly.