Many people plant Hibiscus shrubs for their large and colorful flowers – but these bold blooms don’t just attract people; they attract insects too!
In addition to beneficial insects and pollinators like bees and butterflies, these flowers can also attract pests like spider mites, aphids, mealybugs and whitefly.
These are small, spider-like insects that live off the sap in plant leaves. They appear as tiny white or yellowish insects and leave behind a distinctive soft, silken webbing on the plant leaf.
Hibiscus leaves yellow and the plant will wither and die, so it is essential that you treat a spider mite infestation quickly with a general-purpose insecticide or Neem oil for about 64 days to kill the adults and eggs.
Another sap-sucking insect, these tiny flying pests look like their name – small, white flies.
You can effectively prevent and treat these infestations by encouraging natural predators like ladybugs, green lacewings and pirate bugs, and by feeding your Hibiscus well in spring and summer.
Insecticides don’t work on whiteflies, but you can place reflective items (foil, CDs, etc.) around the plant to discourage them or use Neem oil.
The most common sap-sucking pest is the aphid, and you can spot them as clusters of small insects on tender growth. They drop a sticky substance called honeydew and are often accompanied by ants who consume this liquid.
Read More: How to get rid of Aphids
You can introduce predator insects to your garden to eat the aphids (ladybugs and lacewings) and plant fennel, aster, cosmos, larkspur, verbena, hollyhock, dill, yarrow and mint to draw aphids away from your Hibiscus.
Garlic and onion plants will drive aphids away. You can also use Neem oil or wash the aphids of with a mix of liquid dishwashing soap in water.
Insecticide is not recommended as this tends to kill predator bugs, so the harmful pests usually increase in number!
These insects are easily identifiable from the hard, cotton-like cottony or waxy cover to protect themselves once they’ve settled on a plant. Like aphids, they also produce honeydew.
Adults need to be removed by hand and, while encouraging beneficial insects does a lot to control mealybugs naturally, you may also need to use Neem oil.