The Q&A Archives: Bugs on gardenia flowers

Question: I am a new gardener. Today I bought 2 mystery gardenia shrubs from a local nursery. They had several buds, but only one flower. When I got home I noticed several very tiny light brown insects on the flower but not on any leaves. I think maybe this is a flower thrip. I was planning on planting these in containers on my patio. What is the best way to get rid of these insects and will they spread to my other plants (various green foliage and annuals like begonias) that are also on the patio in containers?

Answer: It's difficult to say what the insect is without seeing it, but you can remove the affected flower and destroy it (along with the insects). Then hose the plant off well, reaching all the nooks and crannys between the stems plus the undersides and tops of the leaves, so you'll dislodge any other insects or their eggs. It's always a good idea to isolate new plants for a week or two before putting them into an area with other plants. This will give you time to inspect the plant and watch for signs of insects or ill health before accidentally introducing problems to your other plants.

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