The Q&A Archives: hibiscus

Question: Our plants look beautiful with lots of green and buds which then fall off unopened. What to do???

Answer: Hibiscus can sometimes set more flowers than they can possibly open, but another problem hibicus can have is an infestation of bud worms. These little pests feed on the insides of the unopened bud and damage it so much that the plant drops the unopened buds. Pick up a few and open them up. If the petals are ragged or missing, that's the problem. These little pests are difficult to control but you can reduce the next generation by picking off the buds with budworms in them. If you look closely at the sepals of the unopened bud you will usually see a worm hole. Pick off and destroy any buds with a hole in them and you'll kill off the larvae and reduce the population. After feeding on the petals the larvae exit from the bud and spin a tiny web to transport them to the soil where they pupate and then turn into adults. Cultivate the soil beneath your hibiscus to expose any pupa to the elements and to predators. Best wishes with your hibiscus!

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