Studies were conducted to relate the influence of the physical characteristics, leaf nutrient content and phloem sap amino acid concentration of citrus flush shoots on the densities of various Diaphorina citri life stages. Adult D. citri preferentially selected young shoots for feeding and numbers of D. citri immatures were positively correlated with flush shoot softness. Young flush shoots had higher concentrations of macro and micro nutrients relative to mature ones and this was associated with higher densities of all D. citri life stages. All D. citri life stages were positively correlated with higher nitrogen-carbon (N:C), nitrogen:sulfur (N: S) and nitrogen:calcium (N:Ca) ratios in leaf tissue, while densities of adults were negatively related to calcium, manganese and boron levels. Concentrations of total and essential amino acids were highest in phloem sap of young expanding flush shoots in both grapefruit and lemon, but dramatically declined as flush shoots matured. The sulfur-containing amino acids cystine, methionine and taurine occurred only in younger flush shoots. In contrast, cystathionine was only present in phloem sap of mature shoots. These results clearly indicate that young citrus flush shoots are a nutritionally richer diet relative to mature shoots, thus explaining their preference by D. citri for feeding and reproduction. Conversely, tissue hardness and the lower nutritional quality of mature flush shoots may limit oviposition and immature development. The data suggest that both physical characteristics and nutritional composition of flush shoots and their phloem sap are important factors regulating host colonization and behavior of D. citri, and this interaction can impact the dynamics and spread of HLB in citrus groves.