How To Prevent Pests From Taking Over Your Hardy Hibiscus Plants

Published
How To Prevent Pests From Taking Over Your Hardy Hibiscus Plants

Hardy hibiscus is a flowering plant that can be a great way to attract pollinators, like butterflies and hummingbirds, to your garden. These pollinators can help your other plants grow better. To take care of this perennial, it’s important to plant it in well-drained soil and in a spot that gets plenty of sunlight. You should water your hibiscus every day with about one to two inches of water. This plant grows best in temperatures between 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, but it can survive a cold day if it gets as cold as 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, it’s also important to take preventative measures each growing season to keep pests away. Pests like aphids, whiteflies, thrips, mealybugs, and ants can feed on hibiscus and cause damage quickly. If you see pests on your plant, it’s important to act quickly to prevent further damage.

Beneficial insects such as ladybugs act as a natural insecticide

Ladybug resting on a plant

Ruslan Suseynov/Shutterstock

Attracting beneficial insects is a natural way to keep unwanted insects at bay without having to use harmful pesticides. In particular, ladybugs can help keep aphids off your hibiscus plant. According to findings from the University of California, ladybugs can eat up to 5,000 aphids in their lifetime — they can also help control mealybugs, whiteflies, and mites.

To get started, you can find ladybugs at most gardening stores. After purchasing them, mindfully release the beneficial insects near the hibiscus plant, and create a proper environment for them to thrive in. A shallow dish of water will attract ladybugs, as well as certain plants they feed on, such as broccoli, kale, or collard greens, and flowering plants such as yarrow.

Before purchasing the ladybugs, you will want to make sure aphids are the culprit, and there are a few ways to identify them. Aphids are sap-sucking insects and have cornicles, which are tubes on the abdomen of the pest. Further, aphids shed their skin as they grow, so you may notice a white residue that’s left behind on leaves.

Sticky tape is a natural way to trap unwanted pests on your plant

Sticky tape trapping ants on a plant

VPales/Shutterstock

Sticky tape is another environmentally-conscious way to gain control of a pest infestation, particularly for whiteflies and mealybugs which are known to feed on hibiscus: whiteflies suck the plant sap while mealybugs feed on the plant’s leaves. The tape can also trap ants, which are attracted to the honeydew mealybugs leave behind.

To get started, it is recommended to place the tape on the twigs and stems of the plant, which will trap the unwanted insects. However, the tape can also catch beneficial insects, so it is important to mindfully watch after your hibiscus plant while treating it and regularly change out the tape. Furthermore, before trying the tape method, be sure to identify the pests you have. If the issue is whitefly, you will notice white spots on your plant, and they will fly away if you shake the plant. With mealybugs, you will notice large spaces of white wax, and honeydew left on the leaves, which according to the University of California can cause fungal diseases like sooty mold, and can eventually kill your plant if left untreated.

Hibiscus, known for its natural beauty and medicinal benefits, is worth the trouble. And with a few actionable steps, you can keep your hibiscus healthy and pest free. Happy gardening!

✿ Read More About Flowers.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.