Hibiscus is a gorgeous plant providing lush green foliage, Beautiful blooms in a variation of splendid colors, the bloom can be single or multi petaled depending upon the plant, the flowers are funnel shaped and can have color variation in the same plant. The greatness of this plant is that there is no one who can resist the beauty without admiring so hence even the pest.
Never get disheartened if you see a pest in your Hibiscus plant but it is important to understand that pest attack the plant because biologically it is their food chain and they are here to attack them.
Out of my knowledge let me explain what all pest generally the Hibiscus plant is prone to.
These are soft insects that are small in size and thrive by sucking the sap from the plant it has infested .
They multiply in numbers very fast and are capable of destroying the plant very fast they are protected with a cotton like waxy substance. These crawlers can spread from one plant to other very easily so it is very important to isolate the infested plant the moment you find them. These bugs can be found in almost every part of the plant and they can wander in search of the food to protect themselves they can be found hidden under the pots, cracks, joints of the planters, the young once are small and may be in pink, pale yellow or white in color, generally this bug is introduced in three ways one by purchase of a infested plant other by keeping the uninfected near the infected one and the last by wind. The infestation can be seen more at the places where the wind current is less and water force while watering is less. A mealy bug can has three stages of life that is Egg, Larva and the adult. the adult stage is the most active stage when the bug travels from on place to other in search of food.
Mealy bugs in nature are more vulnerable to a variety of predatory insects like wasps, lady beetles etc. Heavy rain can also keep the population of these crawlers down. Management of these bugs become difficult because of there capability to move into the potting media and feed on the roots, repeated treatment is needed to stop the production of the young once which are difficult to remove with the hand, every step should be taken to control the population because they might prove dangerous to the plant and the entire community. The treatment has to be done once in 10-14 days to control the population though I personally have tried many treatments but the result was effective only when the outburst was in the initial stage. once the population is beyond control then a use of synthetic insecticide becomes mandatory.
If the infestation is new and you could spot only one or two crawlers then isolate the plant and remove the crawlers and discard them after that thoroughly wash the affected area with gushing water and keep the plant on consistent watch till you feel that the infestation is gone. Check thoroughly the the other plants are safe and there is no infection. If the infection is detected a little late then we suggest to wipe the area with alcohol swabs that are available in the local pharmacy and then dilute 3-5 ml neem oil or organic shakthi 9D in one liter of water and spray it on to the plant see to that no part is left out untouched and this process can be repeated once in 8-10 days. If the infestation is very high then it is not possible to control with the home and other organic remedies the only way is to apply a systematic synthetic insecticide. I personally do not believe in spraying household detergents as they tend to destroy the protective tissues of the plant. All precautions should be taken if this step was to be taken as these pesticides are poisonous and can affect the general health if applied improperly. and these insecticides are Chlorpyrifos, Cypermethrin etc.
Aphids are small juice sucking pest and commonly known as green fly and the black fly. the most common once on the Hibiscus are the green once but they can also be found in
other colors like gray, pink, white and black. these insects infestation develop very quickly and they are highly mobile and the risk of spreading from one plant to other is very high, they can damage the plant by sucking the sap in the new grown areas , they generally are found on the end of the plants or stuck to the tender green stems. As a result the new foliage is crinkled and stunted and if the infestation is more then the plant will start shedding the leaves generally these pest in more vigorous during the cold months of the year, if you look a curled stunted yellowing leaves be sure to check the leaf backside where they generally hide when the population is low but as the population increase you can find them all over the plant some times a combination of Aphids and Mealy bugs can also be present in the plants.
Just like Mealy bugs Aphids are also vulnerable to many predatory insects and once again Lady Beatles can be a savior and heavy rain can help curtailing the population to some extent . But it is not that difficult to treat Aphids like the other bugs, you can try spraying a jet of cold water and flush the Aphids out this can be repeated every day till you see the population count has come to zero. As advised above Neem Oil or Organic Shakthi 9D can be sprayed by diluting 3-5 ml in one liter of water . One more way for getting rid of Aphids is sticky paper you can dip a white paper in oil and let the oil drain then you can tie it to a rope and hang it near the affected plant so that these Aphids get stuck to the paper and later the paper can be destroyed. And if the infestation is very high and not controlled by any of the above steps then a use of synthetic insecticide becomes invariably important and the same insecticide which is used for Mealy bugs can be used for Aphids.
These are small and typically found on the backside of the leaf as that is the place where it feeds, these are flying insects and are closely related to Aphids and Mealy bugs.
These Flies suck the plant sap and produce a sticky substance by the name honey dew, and in turn this honey dew attracts fungal infection which will make the plant sick, generally white fly infestation will make the plant weak and reduce photosynthesis hence the leaves will become yellowish and start wilting and eventually the plant will die. you may also see eggs on the bottom side of the leaves these are very tiny and the sign for new generation an adult female can lay around 400 eggs and when the egg hatches the larvae comes out and immediately starts sucking the sap. It is quit easy for you and me to miss these flies before they multiply in numbers and destroy the plant.
Generally home remedies do not work for these kind of pest the best way to keep this fly away is by maintaining the general health of the plants, Healthy plants have there own defense mechanism and can fight for themselves. Once affected remove the plant and isolate it so that it does not affect the other plants, Even the Synthetic insecticides have less effect on these flies the only way to get rid of this pest is by prevention. I suggest to spray Neem oil or Organic Shakthi 9D once in 8-10 days on a regular basis even you do not see any pest, as this will keep away the pest and increase the general health of the plant, and the plant will look bright and appealing with more flowers.
Have you ever worried that you get a lot of buds in your Hibiscus Plant but even before it blooms it fall away, this is because of the infestation of the pest Thrips.
Thrips generally puncture the outer layer of the plant and suck the juices from the plant the adults may have wings but cannot fly they transfer from one plant to other with the wind, the young once look similar to that of the adults and are yellow or pale green in color where as the adults are yellow black or brown in color. the adult lays the eggs on the tissues of the plant by cutting the plant open. once the eggs hatch the young once start sucking the sap immediately, in Hibiscus when Thrips attack the plant you could see curly leaves, discolored flowers and damaged leaves that have silvery strips. and the leaves become peppery, you can look for Thrips in the blossoms, under the leaves on on the stems these tiny insects should be dealt very fast or they can prove to be fetal to the plant, pruning the affected area can help to reduce the infestation to some extent.
Thrips management is not a easy process but is not as difficult as the white flies you may follow the same remedies applicable for Mealy bugs and Aphids.
Now rather then attending the problem after it has affected the plant it is better that we prevent it, as i said earlier pouring water and feeding your plant properly will make your plant healthy and the plant will develop natural resistance to all these bugs, You can encourage the growth of natural predators like beetles, dragon flies etc. it is very easy to find the infestation you can see ants moving all round the plant this is because almost all the above pests produce honey Dew which is a sweet substance that ants love a lot so they try to protect these pests, generally ants are not harmful but we end up thinking that the ant infestation is killing the plant because they are visible to our naked eyes from a distance, so the best way is to prevent the infection rather than attending it after it spreads.
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