Q: My foxgloves looked wonderful for a while then became increasingly ‘fried’ looking. Was it too much sun or drought or some fungus among us? I haven’t seen any webs from spider mites, and have hit them with a fungicide. They were so full of bees that I didn’t want to use an insecticide.
A: Despite the lack of webs, yer foxgloves are ‘et up with spider mites. In my experience, webs are seen on spider mite infested houseplants but rarely on outdoor plants. These creatures live under leaves, where they suck sap and chlorophyl from individual cells.
Spider mites cause junipers to appear light yellow, they make yellow stipples on hollyhock leaves and they make foxglove leaves dry up and look fried. Sound familiar?
Since you want to protect bees, try modifying their environment. Spider mites hate moisture so use a water hose to direct a strong spray of water under the leaves every two days for two weeks.
If you choose to go the chemical route, hexakis (Ortho Systemic Insect Control) will control spider mites.
spider mite damage to foxglove
spider mite damage to hollyhock
spidermite damage to juniper