The Q&A Archives: carnations in container garden on balcony

Question: what appear to be buds turn strawlike, shrival, and disappearl, while other buds bloom beautifully???

Answer: I can't tell without examining the unopened buds but I think if you look closely you will find a tiny hole in each. A pest called a budworm feeds on the petals of the unopened flower and causes them to die. It's hard to control the pest because insecticides will not reach them (they are protected within the bud) so the best thing to do is simply cut away the affected flower buds and inspect the unopened ones for signs of insect damage. If you see a hole in the sepals (green outer covering of the flower), pinch or cut the flower off. You'll control the next generation of budworms and will have fewer problems with the pests. Good luck with your carnations.

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