Strawflowers blooms are failing
I have a strawflower plant (container) that seems to be struggling a bit. The plant itself is very healthy and I have some fully blossomed flowers. However, most of the budding ones are dying when they are still quite tiny. As a result, I have far fewer blooms overall. I have grown these many times before and typically by this time of the summer I have so many blooms that I frequently cut them for drying and to encourage further growth. I am truly stumped and frustrated. Any suggestions or ideas? Btw, the ones that have opened are healthy and beautiful. They are still closing at night and opening each morning and seem quite hardy. It is just the newest ones that are not surviving.
Open up one of the buds and look for tiny bugs inside. These would be thrips - they're usually black, but they can be whitish. Thrips of many kinds are getting more and more common. Since you have grown these many times, the problem is apparently not cultural, so this would be the first thing I would look for. This article has some advice: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/pests/insects/controlling-thrips.htm