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Japanese Beetles: Best and Worst Plants

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Choose the right plants and have less pests

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Although Japanese beetles have a wide range of favorite foods, some plants are more appealing to them than others.

The larvae seem to be especially fond of grass roots and other garden plant roots. The adults like fruit, shade trees, roses, shrubs, asparagus, corn, soybeans, and a number of other vegetables, especially plant parts exposed to the sun. They generally do not like cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, eggplant, onions, lettuce, parsley, peas, potatoes, radishes, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and turnips. They also tend to avoid geraniums.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has identified the following best and worst landscape plants to have in your yard when hungry Japanese beetles come calling. Use these suggestions as guidelines if you're adding new plants.


Least favored by adult Japanese beetles and less susceptible to destruction.

  • Ash
  • Boxwood
  • Burning bush
  • Dogwood
  • Hemlock
  • Holly
  • Magnolia
  • Northern red oak
  • Redbud
  • Red maple


Most favored by adult Japanese beetles and more susceptible to destruction.

  • American linden
  • Apple
  • Apricot, cherry, peach, and plum
  • Birch
  • Crab apple
  • Crape myrtle
  • Japanese maple
  • Norway maple
  • Pin oak
  • Rose


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I gave up on raspberry plants

By Larry Brackett

I gave up on raspberry plants years ago because they attracted so many japanese beetles .

Now they LOVE my asparagus ferns, and will completely de-foliate them if left unchecked.

The soap and water sounds

By Pam Arnold

The soap and water sounds like one of the best ideas. But it does not give the ratio of soap to water. And though I wash my fruits and veggies, I don't want them to taste like soap.And, is there any particular brand or scent of soap that works better than others?
Thank you so much in advance for your help.

Hi Pam, Go to

By Almanac Staff

Hi Pam,

Go to http://www.almanac.com/content/japanese-beetles to read about the soap spray. It's best to use it on your lawns in the spring or fall when the beetles are in the grub stage, hiding in the soil.

you have to put the beettle

By jeanine cleary

you have to put the beettle traps bags away from your plants so they will go to the bags not eat your plants.

I have raspberry bushes and

By julie waldick

I have raspberry bushes and they are eating them up like crazy. Also an oak tree that i have is full of holes. Not sure what to use on them to get rid of the japenese beetles. They are real bad this year.

I have roses and they love

By Joann Cawthron

I have roses and they love them I bought all the fancy stray insecticide and spent a fortune then I turned to lemon joy and water in a spray bottle and no more beatles, I left the bags hanging but they were empty.

For tips on how to control

By Almanac Staff

For tips on how to control Japanese beetles, please see:


They haven't touched my

By Susan Miers

They haven't touched my marigolds but have shredded my petunias, my porch boxes look sick. They have also trashed my basil. = (

Something is eating the

By Anna Kelley

Something is eating the leaves off of my purple wisteria. Do you have any idea what it could be and how I can kill it?

Wisteria seldom succumbs to

By Almanac Staff

Wisteria seldom succumbs to disease or insect pests . . . but here are a few ideas:

• it might be scales: http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7408.html

• it might be aphids: http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7404.html

• it might be a canker disease: http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/GARDEN/PLANTS/DISEASES/cankerdiseases.html


These are all from here (http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/GARDEN/PLANTS/wisteria.html).

You could call in a professional to examine your wisteria or, perhaps, take a few leaves to a local nursery and see if they can provide further information.

We hope this helps!


I've got them going to town

By Supermand

I've got them going to town on my strawberries and my hops vine. :(

I beg to differ on the

By Terry Farrell

I beg to differ on the burning bushes not being a favorite of the beetles. Every year the beetles are bad, they attack mine as well as my roses, Japanese maples, crepe myrtles and plum trees.

Will Japanese beetles eat

By evie ritter

Will Japanese beetles eat cross gentian... Gentiana c. 'Blue Cross'?

They should add rose of

By mishap

They should add rose of sharon to the list I never had to spray 'til I had one and when it blooms it looks like it has japnese beetle flowers.

I literally had dead beetles 2-3 inches deep around the tree after I sprayed.

What are you spraying on the

By Maggiedoerr

What are you spraying on the beetles

There is one plant they love

By John Prokos

There is one plant they love more than anything else. Marigolds. They will eat those until they are full and leave. So, encircle you garden with marigolds and they will mostly leave the vegetables alone.

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