Question From: Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Q: Why do the petals of zinnia blooms fall off gradually until all or most are gone, leaving a bare core?
They get old and prepare to make seed. Cut off the flowers when they begin to look tatty. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy.
Q: Dear Nancy, thank you for your answer to my question. I have noticed since that a little dark bug less than a sixteenth of an inch occasionally appears on the core of the zinnia flower which has the problem. Also noticed one evidently young having same shape and size but an orange color, younger and quicker. This falling of petals happens early in the development of the bloom, before it would naturally lose its petals. Actually the problem seems to have disappeared as the summer progresses. John Wymelenberg
John, The bug in question has completed its life cycle. The problem with spraying for bugs that spend their lives on or in flowers is the pesticide taints the nectar and pollen putting bees, hummingbirds and other beneficials at risk. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy