I live in Longview, TX (east TX) and have two gardenias in the backyard (about 7 years old) that have begun to bloom for the season. However, this year the blooms are significantly smaller and brownish around the petal edges . . . and the blooms are loaded with some type of very small, white/cream colored insect. They're kind of rice-shaped, but very small. Any idea of what they might be and what to use to get rid of them? I haven't noticed them on the leaves or stems, just the petals.
Gardenia Insects on Blooms
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
They could be several bugs, though I am leaning towards thrips as they are only on the blossom. All the bugs it could be are susceptible to an organic insecticide called neem oil. These articles will help: