The Q&A Archives: tropical hibiscus

Question: Sometimes the buds fall off my plant before they open. What causes this?

Answer: Hibiscus traditionally develops more buds than they can open, but droughty conditions can cause bud drop, as can a pest called bud worm. These little caterpillars feed on the insides of the flower before the bud opens and this feeding will make the unopened buds fall from the plant. Look for a tiny hole in the sepals of the bud. Open some of the fallen flower buds. If the petals are ragged or look chewed upon, bud worms are at work. The are difficult to control because they are safely inside the buds. You can pick off any buds you suspect are harboring caterpillars and you can rake the soil beneath the plant to unearth any pupating pests and expose them to sunshine and predators. Best wishes with your hibiscus.

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