Geraniums

Asked July 8, 2018, 3:01 PM EDT

The middle of the flower looks ragged and dried up before all the buds open up. Most of the time the other buds don’t open up. They just sit there as buds. Have checked for worms and don’t see any signs. I fertilize about once a week and the plants look healthy. In all the years I’ve had plants, I’ve never had this problem. Can you help? Thank you. Doris

Arapahoe County Colorado

1 Response

Hello Doris,

It sounds like your geraniums may be victims of the tobacco/geranium budworm, a fairly common insect pest in our area. It is lucky that you haven't ever experienced this pest before this season. These pests are sometimes hard to see because they may take on the color of the flowers they are chewing on, causing them to blend in with the flower itself when you are inspecting it. To make matters worse, they may have 2 generations in one summer, making it a real problem for your flowers.

Your best bet for control is to find them around the base of the plants in the early morning and remove them because they are difficult to control with insecticides. Please see link below for more information:

http://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/insects/tobacco-geranium-budworm-5-581/#top