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My aquilegia were looking very healthy this year (as opposed to last when I lost quite a few), but the flower buds are dying back before they open.  No signs of powdery mildrew or discolouration to the leaves.  My neighbours are having the same problem. Any ideas?


  • cornellycornelly Posts: 970

    Where are you, and what has the weather been, as here in South Wales, we have a lovely crop of many colours, a lot self seeded round the flower beds.

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 16,665

    Open the flower bud up and see if there is a larva (wiggly worm type) inside the bud.

     You may have AQUILEGIA GALL MIDGE
    Macrolabis aquilegiae

    pick off all infected buds and burn to break the life cycle.

    From the Touchwood aquilegias site....

    The poor development of flowers on your aquilegia is due to a pest known as the aquilegia gall midge, Macrolabis aquilegiae.This has orange white larvae, up to 2-3mm long, that feed inside the developing flower buds and prevent normal flower development.  The midge was first recorded in Britain in 2009.  Infested plants have now been found in Kent, Essex, Surrey, Devon and North Yorkshire, indicating that it may be widespread and has gone undetected for a number of years.  

    As it is a relatively new pest in the UK, little is known about its biology.   However, it is specific to aquilegias and will not affect any other plants. The larval feeding period is likely to be short, occurring over a few weeks in May, after which the maggots go down into the soil to pupate. There is currently no control for this pest other than the removal of infested flower buds before the larvae have completed their feeding.

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 16,665

    If the neighbours have the same problem, have a word with them so that you don't get reinfected next year. This year will be a write off but the plants will survive.

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