The Q&A Archives: Brown Buds On Chyrsanthemums

Question: My chrysanthemums are quite profuse this year but when the buds start to open they turn brown. In your FAQS you said it may be fungal disease. How do I treat this? and will it spread to my other chrysanthemums?

Answer: Fungus can turn chrysanthemum buds brown, but so can insect feeding and cultural problems. I recently transplanted some small plants and all the unopened buds turned brown. I suspect that repotting the plants stressed them enough to make them abort the flowers they were developing. Perhaps this is the problem with your plants, too. There's a little worm that attacks unopened buds and hollows them out, which causes browning. Finally, a fungal disease can attack the buds, turning them brown. Carefully inspect the brown buds. If you find black dots (spores) then I'd say a fungal disease got to them. If you find the buds are empty, an insect is to blame. But if the buds look brown with no fungal spores and no evidence of chewing, I'd guess the problem is cultural. In any event, you can clip off the affected portions of the plants and new flowering stems will appear. To avoid the spread of fungal diseases make sure your plants have plenty of room to grow and lots of room for air circulation all around them. If you've massed your plants so that they're intertwined, they will be more susceptible to disease. Prune the stems back so that there's good air circulation all around and you'll go a long way in helping prevent the spread of disease. Good luck with your mums!

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