Insecticides Approved for Hibiscus

Hibiscus plants suffer from a number of pest problems.

Hibisicus is a perennial plant that bears glossy green flowers and large, colorful blooms. It is not tolerant of the cold so it is grown indoors in cold climates and outdoors in warm climates. Hibiscus is subject to a number of insect pests, such as aphids, scale, mealybugs and spider mites. It is sensitive to a number of pesticides, so read labels carefully to determine if the product is approved for use on hibiscus plants.

HIbiscus Sensitivity

Hibiscus is a plant that is sensitive to a number of insecticides that are on the market. Malathion, for instance, can cause severe foliage burning on hibiscus plants, according to Mississippi State University horticulturist Norman Winter. Also avoid the use of lannate and chlorpyrifos, which can both cause damage on foliage. Test any insecticide on a small portion of the plant before using more generally. Wettable powders are safer than emulsified concentrate products.


Acephate, available under a number of trade names, is an insecticide approved for use on hibiscus plants, according to University of Kentucky entomologist Ric Bessin. It is generally used against infestations of aphids, leafminers, mealybugs, whiteflies and thrips. Only use as directed on the label to prevent injury to plants. Acephate can be irritating to eyes and skin. Wear protective clothing when using this compound.

Neem Oil

Neem is an extract of the leaves of the neem tree. It has been used as an insecticide in Asia for hundreds of years. Neem oil applied to hibiscus plants can fight a number of insects, including aphids, spider mites, scale and mealybugs. Neem oil is sprayed on plants and directly on insects. Neem has no long-lasting residue and so must be re-applied after heavy rains. Do not use oil insecticides during the hottest point of the day, as it can increase the chances of phytotoxicity and burning of plant tissues during this time.

Insecticidal Soap

Insecticidal soap is a type of insecticide that employs a mild soap and water solution to coat insects. It is effective against soft-bodied insects like aphids lace bugs, mealybugs, thrips spider mites and whiteflies. The soap damages the exoskeleton and the cells of the insect dry out. Insecticidal soaps must be applied thoroughly to be effective. Apply to the plants early in the morning to allow for quick drying of the solution. One of the great benefits of insecticidal soap for pest control on plants is its low toxicity on the environment. Only use products with a soap that is less than 2 percent of the solution.