The beautiful blooms and pleasing fragrance of your home garden jasmine plants may be under attack by little green worms. What appear to be worms are aphids, a common garden pest, that feed on plants like jasmine. From cosmetic damage to extreme injury and secondary infections, aphids may cause minimal injury or wreak havoc on your landscape if not controlled.
Jasmine plants kept vigorous through proper care have a much greater capacity for avoiding and fighting off aphids than neglected or stressed plants. Maintain consistent care by growing jasmine in locations that offer full sun exposure. With a tolerance to partial shade, this plant thrives in warm weather, as well as moist, well-drained soil with good fertility, according to the Clemson University Extension.
Aphids display soft bodies that often look like green globules, resembling little green worms, on your jasmine plants. Measuring 1/16 to 1/8 inch in length, aphids are also seen exhibiting bodies with or without wings in hues of blue-green, white, orange, red, gray, black or brown. Commonly referred to as plant lice, you may find aphids on a single jasmine plant or as a severe infestation on several plants, according to the Texas Agricultural Extension Service.
The little green worms on your jasmine plants are "sucking bugs" that feed on the sap, or tissue fluid, of plant parts. As aphids feed and cause physical damage, two secondary problems arise. First, some aphids carry toxins within their saliva that they transfer to the plant as they feed. Second, aphids excrete a sticky, sugary substance, called honeydew, while they feed. Honeydew attracts and promotes the development of sooty mold fungi. Sooty mold disease develops into a black-hued mold that covers plant surfaces, inhibiting light absorption, according to the Texas Agricultural Extension Service. Ultimate damage includes malformed or stunted plants, blossom discoloration, diminished health and the development of swellings called galls.
Attempting to control aphids without chemicals that may damage your jasmine plant is the first line of defense and often sufficient, according to the University of California IPM Online. Consider the release of natural enemies, such as parasitic wasps. These enemies lay their eggs within aphids' bodies, resulting in their deaths. Additionally, enemies such as lady beetles hunt and kill aphids. Natural enemies do not cause further damage to your plants while they control aphid populations.
Remove and destroy affected plant parts to help minimize the spread of aphids or fungal infection. Employ chemical control as a solution to an extreme green worm infestation. As a botanical and less toxic control, using neem oil or insecticidal soap, thoroughly spray and saturate the entire plant, particularly the undersides of leaves where aphids gather. These insecticides kill aphids on contact. For stronger but more toxic insecticides, consider foliar sprays with the active ingredient permethrin, or malathion, according to the University of California IPM Online.
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