Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Insects May Be Cause of Hibiscus Bud-Drop

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Insects May Be Cause of Hibiscus Bud-Drop

Article excerpt

Byline: ELLEN DUDEK

Q: The hibiscus plants in my yard bloomed prolifically last summer. This year the foliage looks green and healthy. and the plants have buds. However the buds keep falling off. What is wrong?

Many factors can cause bud drop in hibiscus. Some varieties bloom well during one time of year and drop buds consistently at other times. Insects such as thrips or caterpillars can cause bud drop. Caterpillars are relatively easy to see, but thrips are small. Place a sheet of white paper beneath the leaves or flowers and shake the plant. The thrips will fall on the paper and are more easily observed and identified than when on the plant. A small hand lens or magnifying glass can be helpful to see the small elongated, cylindrical insects ranging from 1/25 to 1/8 inch in length. The nymphs are frequently pale yellow and very active. The adults are usually black or yellow-brown, but may have red, white or black markings and often jump when disturbed.

The use of blue or yellow sticky traps can be used to monitor population levels and time the application of pesticides. Thrips may come in large numbers over an extended period of time, so contact insecticides with short residual effect are usually not adequate to control an infestation. Systemic insecticides are highly effective and provide long-term control. Always select insecticides that have the least effect on other non-target organisms.

Q: When is the best time to plant onion seeds?

Onion seeds can be planted in the fall and transplanted in the spring. For quicker results, onion bulbs or sets can be planted either in the fall for a fall crop or in the spring.

Q: I planted some bananas in my yard. Do they need to be fertilized?

Bananas are tropical plants that can be grown in Northeast Florida. They thrive in warm, humid conditions, but must be protected from wind and frost. Temperatures below 28 degrees cause the stalk to die back to the ground, but they usually send up new shoots from the underground rhizome. …

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