|I planted carnations a few weeks ago, most of the new buds turn brown and I only get a few flowers. I also filled this same bed with Phlox and they don't look too well. Any suggestions? Thanks, Sharon|
|A little transplant stress is probably what's making your new flowers look puny. It can take 2-3 weeks for them to establish themselves and begin to thrive. Flowering takes a lot of energy and plants will stop supporting the flower buds if they aren't strong enough to maintain good health. As they establish themselves you'll get more flowers.
If you don't think the problem is transplant stress, there are a couple of other problems common with carnations. One is a fungal disease that causes the buds to rot and dry up before opening and the other is an insect problem which causes empty buds. A bud worm, the larvae of a moth, can cause empty buds. Adult moths lay eggs on the outer parts of an opened bud, the egg hatches and a little worm bores into the bud and consumes the contents. Then it comes out, pupates and turns into an adult moth. Inspect the buds very carefully and you're likely to find an entrance or exit hole. If not, the problem might be a fungal disease called bud rot. Generally the buds do not open at all, but if they do, the emerging petals are deformed. In either case, remove the buds to encourage your plants to develop new flower buds (and flowers!).