Protecting hibiscus from insect and pest interference is an important step in keeping the plant healthy and making sure it will bloom for many seasons. There are numerous types of insects that affect hibiscus; learning the tell-tale signs of an infestation, as well as effective control methods for each type of insect, can go a long way toward safeguarding the health of your plant.
Aphids (melon aphid or cotton aphid) are among the most common pests of hibiscus plants. Aphids, like other types of insect, threaten the health of the plant by feeding on juices inside the plant's vasculature. If an aphid infestation is recognized while the population is small, control easily can be affected by improving air circulation among plants or simply spraying them with pressurized water. Serious infestations can be treated with insecticidal soap or insecticidal sprays rated for aphid control.
Spider mites also are a common pest problem for hibiscus plants. Like aphids, they feed on the plant's internal juices and can threaten the health and life of your hibiscus plants if left untreated. Control methods closely mirror those for aphids; ensure proper air circulation, spray with pressurized water, or treat with insecticidal soap or contact insecticide. The key to controlling a spider mite infestation is early detection; the larger a spider mite population, the harder it is to remove from your hibiscus plants.
Other Hibiscus Pests
Rather than feeding on the plant's internal juices, pests such as caterpillars, grasshoppers, snails and slugs, beetles, cutworms, and leaf miners feed on the outside anatomy of the plant including its leaves, buds and flowers. Resort to the use of chemical insecticides only as a last result. Introduction of natural predators such as nematodes and wasps is a favorite natural method of pest control for gardeners. Predators can either feed on the pests in their adult form or parasitize the larvae of the pest.
Hibiscus Pests in Perspective
Hibiscus are highly sensitive, relative to similar plants, to chemical insecticides. It usually is preferable to spray insecticides in the early morning and not later in the day, particular in hot, sunny climates. Always purchase insecticides rated to kill the exact species of pest that is attacking your hibiscus and follow all manufacturer's application instructions meticulously.
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