The Q&A Archives: blooms

Question: the buds on my hybiscus are falling off before they bloom.

Answer: What you describe sounds like bud worms. If your plants are green and growing properly but they won?t hold their buds the insect may be the problem. The tiny fly-like insect lays eggs in the forming flowers. When the larva hatch they feed in the buds and cause them to drop. If you suspect plants are affected by the bud worms collect some of the fallen buds and place them in a clear plastic bag. In a day or two look for the very small yellowish worm-like larva on the plastic. When present a control is needed. Often you can simply open some of the fall buds and see the larva stages too. Since bud drop can have many causes use these tips to control the pest and encourage good growth. First, control the pest affecting buds with a synthetic pyrethroid spray as needed following label instructions. Then apply a blossom booster fertilizer in March, May and September if needed for growth. Be sure to maintain a 3- to 4-inch mulch layer over the root system. Water when the surface inch of soil begins to dry to the touch. Prune to remove older and declining stems as needed to encourage new flowering shoots.

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