I have a well established peony that has several buds struggling to open because they are covered with a sticky substance. I cannot see any aphids, but ants were all over the buds. I have blasted buds with cold water and spread ant powder at base of plant, which has got rid of ants but not sticky substance. What should I do now?
Sticky Secretion on Peony
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
You may not see the pests, but something is defnitely there (or has been anyway), as the sticky suubstance is the honeydew they leave behind. It's also what is attracting the ants. I would treat the plant with neem oil. This article has more information: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/problems/pests/neem-oil-uses.htm