Whetman Pinks FAQ’s – Part 2

Q6 Can you tell me why my buds do not have flowers, we have the sun all day in our garden as we are south facing, and it is a sun trap so gets very hot in the summer, earlier when this particular pink flowered it was outstanding but now the first flowers have gone over and new buds come they do not form flowers . I have to water my garden every day so the plant is not dry , the outside of the buds are dry and there is nothing inside, today when I squashed a bud the inside was rotten usually they are dry ,because of this I did wonder if I was overwatering

A6 It could be a caterpillar eating out the contents of the bud as it develops.  Look out for these, there may be signs like droppings or an exit hole from the bud. Alternatively it could be that the plant is deficient in some nutrient so if you don’t already try feeding with a fertiliser containing plenty of Potash and trace elements. Water enough to prevent wilting but do not keep constantly wet.  Watch out for slugs as they can strip the outer layer from the stems resulting in the buds aborting.

Q7 Although they are flowering, the foliage on most of them have turned brown and I think the others are going the same way. They are planted in a sunny position and I have been feeding and watering them. I do not know the variety, the soil is a clay but good drainage, it is in a sunny position but the ground tends to dry out a lot during hot weather

A7 I am certain that wet weather conditions over winter combined with drying out is what has caused the problems with your pinks.  As we mention, Pinks do not tolerate a clay soil because they much prefer a free draining sandier type of loam as their roots are fine.  Your pinks are suffering from stress, caused by weather conditions. May I suggest that you then consider planting them out in containers using a proprietary potting compost from your local plant centre.   Don’t give up!

Q8 I have some plants from you that are about 4 – 5 years old, but this year many of the buds have gone brown (as photo) and this is on several plants. Is it a fungus, bug or something else and what can I do prevent it?

A8 you do get the tipping on certain variety and this is seen before the flower opens fully. You do not have any disease on the plants, and for the age they look well – we suggest just a little more feed to help green up the stems.

Q9 Plants supplied growing great. I have noticed that several buds have been eaten. I did notice sometime ago a small green caterpillar in one of the flower heads which I destroyed but haven’t seen any since even though the heads are still being eaten.

A9 Caterpillars would also get stuck into the leaves of the plant as well so if there is no damage on the leaves it could be a pollen beetle that has eaten the flowers .

Q10 My blooms are splitting – can anything be done?

A 10 With big blooms with lots of petals, in the Spring the first flowers are particularly chunky and what happens is that the calyx (green ‘collar’) is not strong enough to resist the pressure from the expanding petals and it splits. This is made worse by uneven watering – wet and then dry and also by temperature fluctuations.  There is not much you can do about it.  Certain ‘fuller’ flowered varieties are more prone and they can be avoided by growing something else but it should settle down and become less of a problem later in the season.

Q11 Had such a good show with Scent First and your garden pinks I potted up into cold greenhouse. I now find that some of these are seemingly dying into brown clumps. Have I molly-coddled too much? Have I watered too much?

A 11 More than likely this is root rot. Young plants that are potted up into a cold environment and overwatered will go brown and die.