Monday, April 23, 2018
Home and Garden

Timely Tendings: Pests in the vegetable garden

Get to the root of bud drop

You may notice premature flower bud drop on hibiscus and gardenia. This can be caused by insects, as well as cultural or environmental problems. Insects called thrips and midges can damage the unopened bud. Thrips and midges are very small, but you can often see them if you open a bud that has dropped from the plant. Beneficial insects like lady bugs and others can help control these pests.

Temperature and water fluctuations can also cause buds to drop and random leaves to yellow. In addition, too much or not enough fertilizer can also stress the plant, resulting in bud drop. Nematodes can attack the root system, creating a water and nutritional stress on the plant that also results in bud drop.

Overgrown vines such as ivy, flame, coral, honeysuckle and Confederate jasmine can be pruned now. Cut off excess tangled growth. Prune back 1/3 to ½ and remove rooted suckers that are growing in undesirable areas.

Compiled by Theresa Badurek, urban horticulture extension agent, UF/IFAS Pinellas County Extension Service. For additional landscape and garden information, visit For regular tips and information about what's growing in Pinellas, go to