My geraniums loved being outside the front window of my house. They've been thriving there for over two months now and I thought I'd finally found a winner (it's too hot for pansies and other daintier plants).

Now they're getting eaten alive. I've heard of leaf-eaters, obviously, but I've never seen flowers bored into and devoured from the inside.

Click to enlarge
Notice the hole in the flower bud on the left Hole in the petal on top and empty flower bud on the bottom

What in the world is eating them? More importantly, what can I do to make things right with my poor friend the geranium by killing what ails her? (If geographic specificity helps, I'm in southern Nevada.)

  • 3
    It's really hard to diagnose without catching the culprit red-handed. Take a really close look at the plant, possibly at different times of day. If you can't find the bug (which may be tiny worms), you might try sacrificing one of the blossoms: cut off an unopened flower and carefully open it to see what you find.
    – bstpierre
    Commented Jun 27, 2011 at 0:18

1 Answer 1


This is caused by the Geranium Budworm (aka Tobacco Budworm). Click here for treatment.

An excerpt, from the link:

Spray some BT, or bacillus thuriengensis, over the affected areas of the plant. This natural insecticide will only harm caterpillars, including budworms. You will probably need several applications.

  • I hope this does the trick. I have geraniums too, but only the scented variety, so Budworm has never been a problem. Commented Jun 27, 2011 at 16:31

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