Greenflies, also known as aphids, most often affect roses in your garden but can affect any plant by stealing sap from the shoot of a plant, causing the leaves to become wrinkled and damaging any flowers or fruit in the process. 


They don’t always come in the colour green, despite their name, and although they’re very small, these tiny pests can wreak a lot of havoc in your garden. You’ll most often find them hiding under leaves or clustered around new stems/buds.

While they’re usually not a huge problem in small numbers, a greenfly population can grow quickly if there aren’t many of their natural predators keeping the numbers down, so there are ways in which you can eliminate them when they become an issue before they do any lasting damage to your crops and blooms!

Encourage natural predators

Arguably the best and most environmentally friendly way to get rid of greenfly is to encourage predators which munch their way through the aphid population without you needing to lift a finger! Ladybirds are one of the best aphid predators (along with hoverflies and lacewings) and although you can buy them online, we recommend attracting local ladybirds to your garden by planting blooms such as calendula, cosmos, dill, fennel, marigold or yarrow.

Another natural predator of greenfly is birds! Top up your bird-feeders and fill up your bird baths to encourage small birds such as wrens and blue tits.

DIY remedies

Using certain ingredients can help deter aphids and their eggs, for example, washing up liquid mixed with water sprayed onto the affected area. Some natural remedies include using a few drops of essential oils such as peppermint, clove, thyme or rosemary mixed with water or even dusting the areas affected with cornflower. 

A natural vinegar spray or banana peels have also been proven to be effective and none of these methods will damage your plants, so they’re always worth a try before moving onto harsher methods.


Blasting the problem areas with a hose or strong spray bottle every so often will help knock the greenfly off, however this method is less than ideal as it won’t work well with more fragile plants and is often too time-consuming to keep doing when the aphids return.

Picking off by hand

Another very time-consuming method is to remove the greenfly by hand, don’t worry, you can wear gloves to do this so you don’t have to touch them at all! Inspect your plants regularly and remove the greenfly as often as they start to build up a damaging population.

Using sprays

If all else fails, it might be a good idea to use chemical free sprays first, made with natural ingredients, or moving onto chemical sprays made with synthetic pyrethroids (avoid sprays which include neonicotinoids as these are incredibly harmful to pollinators such as bees).

greenfly flower

Preventing greenfly

The havoc-wreaking greenfly can be prevented in a number of ways including to remember not to overfeed plants with too much nitrogen fertiliser so that your plants can become a little more hardy between new growth, minimising the growth minimises numbers of aphids.

Keep encouraging natural predators such as ladybirds and birds so that your aphid populations stay low.
Read our guide on how to get rid of blackfly if you’re struggling with a similar pest problem.