The Q&A Archives: Azalea turned died before opening

Question: Hi my azalea bush bloomed beautifully last year. This year it was covered with so many blooms and flowered a little but then turned brown. I had sprayed the entire area and the bush with Miracle Grow plant/flower food. I'm not sure if this harmed it or if it is acting normally. Please advise.

Answer: Using Miracle Gro won't harm your plants or cause the problems with browing flower buds. Dried out flower buds could be a disease known as botrytis or an insect known as thrips. The symptoms are the same. If you are watering overhead, make an extra effort to water just the soil and not the plant itself and see if that helps. If not, then it is likely thrips. These are very tiny insects that get under the flower bud scales and injure the plant tissue with their feeding activity. These are pests that cannot be eliminated, but hopefully can be controlled somewhat. Spray the developing buds with Orthene next spring to help control the pests. Best wishes with your azalea.

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