Where have all the flowers gone?

Asked August 12, 2017, 2:21 PM EDT

Nice display of red and white petunias. Suddenly, almost overnight, the red flowers gone. 2/3 days later, whites disappearing fast. Plants themselves look healthy; will blooms return?

Jackson County Oregon petunias

1 Response

Thanks for your question about your petunias. You have opened a food pantry in your garden, and didn't even notice it! There are so many possibilities, but this time of the year, it can be the tobacco budworm, which is addressed in the second question of the link I attached. There are also some control ideas in this link.

Slugs also often feast on petunia flowers, but most often (1) leave small holes, rather than ravishing the entire flower in one night and (2) prefer leaves, at least as an appetizer. You can use iron sulphate, sold as Sluggo, around your plants, or set up traps by filling shallow containers with beer and wait for the bar to open for them.

You might examine the remaining flowers to see if any other insects are hiding there. If your plants are otherwise healthy, and getting enough water, sunlight and nutrients, they may produce more flowers, but we are headed into the "dog days" of summer, so they won't be as profuse as earlier this year.

Good luck!