About Hibiscus plant

by Mary
Something is invading my Hibiscus plant. Does someone know what this is and how to get rid of it? It leaves a sticky shiny film on the leaves. They are supposed to be annuals so I put them in huge pots so I could bring them in during winter.
Something taking over my Habiscuss
  17 answers
  • Sotelo Sotelo on Nov 23, 2014
    These are mealy bugs, a form of insect and could be easily killed by environment friendly mixture of detergent and water, poured in or sprayed.
  • Shari Shari on Nov 23, 2014
    From my experience, mealy bugs are HARD, if not next to impossible to get rid of. The sooner you jump on this problem, the better because they multiple FAST and you will see rapid deterioration of your plants! If left untreated, they will kill the plant(s). If you have plants that you are 100% sure don't have mealy bugs, separate them immediately from the infected plant(s) so they don't spread. I have 4 yellow hibiscus plants I was about to dig up and throw away 5 weeks ago because of an out-of-control mealy bug infestation. I first tried the soap and water spray. Didn't affect them at all. Then I tried Neem oil (and Neem oil mixed with rubbing alcohol and water). Didn't help. Next up, I tried Sevin insecticide spray. Nope, didn't work either. I've also read that you can wipe the mealy bugs off the leaves and stem with a cotton ball saturated with rubbing alcohol but the problem with that and spraying methods seems to be that unless you spray or wipe EVERY SINGLE LEAF on BOTH sides, especially underneath the leaves where the mealy bugs love to hide, whatever you spray doesn't kill them all and they just come back stronger. In my case 4 plants 3 1/2 feet tall = a lot of leaves and stems. It was extremely time-consuming to wipe/spray every single leaf, and difficult to keep track of which leaves had been wiped/sprayed, and which ones hadn't. Somebody here on HomeTalk suggested ladybugs. Apparently ladybugs love mealy bugs. I couldn't get ladybugs locally so ordered some from eBay. In the meantime, while I was waiting for the ladybugs to come in the mail, my husband sprayed the hibiscus plants with some potent (somewhat expensive) termite (liquid) treatment that he uses on the fire ants since they seem to have become resistant to Amdro and the other fire ant poisons. That was the first thing that seemed to make even a dent in the mealy bug infestation. Once the ladybugs arrived, I followed the directions and released part of them (about 1/3) one evening at dusk. Twenty-four hours later, all but a few of the ladybugs had flown away (or maybe died because of the residual termite spray???) but they had cleaned a lot of the mealy bugs up. So, I released another 1/3 and 24 hours later, no ladybugs, but not many mealy bugs either! It's been about 3 weeks now and the mealy bugs seem to be under control. I also have new growth on the hibiscus plants! I'm watching to make sure the mealy bugs don't come back but if they do, I still have 1/3 of the ladybugs hibernating in the refrigerator.
    • See 5 previous
    • Wal80374408 Wal80374408 on Apr 03, 2023

      Perhaps I go to the extreme I use part vinegar Dawn dish liquid and water I spray but my extreme is I use a tooth brush and works great for me. I also noticed my crotons had these bugs living on the stem and under the leaves and same liquid with toothbrush worked a labor of love

  • Regina Regina on Nov 23, 2014
    Hi: I had that I my hibiscus too. Here's what I did. Put them in the shower and soap them down with soap and really wash it. It worked for me and one of them is now over 30 years old!
  • Linda Kay Linda Kay on Nov 23, 2014
    Have you tried two tablespoons vegetable oil, a couple drops dish washing liquid soap & a cup of water. Combine all in a spray bottle, then spray top & bottom of buds, leaves etc. can double recipe. Good luck! Linda Kay
  • Regina Regina on Nov 23, 2014
    I wash them everywhere I can... anywhere you see them and check under the leaves as well. I just use regular ivory soap..good luck
  • Patches Patches on Nov 24, 2014
    Sad to see these mealy bugs which in I find darn hard to get rid of. I usually cover the soil with a plastic (bag pot if possible), then tip it over and blast with a shower sprayer. If I get up to the third attempt I add soap and a bit of cayenne, spray, wait for a bit and then repeat the shower nozzle blast. If the critters are still there after 4th attempt I sacrifice the plant for the greater good of other plants! :)
    • Mary Mary on Nov 24, 2014
      Thanks for your input. All 5 of my plants are infected so I'm praying I can get rid of them. I'll be trying everyone's advice.
  • Lorna Stone Lorna Stone on Nov 24, 2014
    looks like aphids - soapy water spray will initially eliminate them. If you want them eliminated for the future, plant garlic cloves around your plant. If you do not want to see the garlic tops merely cut them off. It acts systemically.
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Nov 24, 2014
    You have a pretty big outbreak, but you can control mealybugs by using a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.
  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Nov 24, 2014
    Garden Safe insecticidal soap worked here. I normally don't use pesticides but this product is excellent. I tried many before finding it.
  • Mary Mary on Nov 24, 2014
    Thanks everyone. I'll try all. I'm desperate not to lose my beautiful plants. They had blooms 5 & a half to six inches across and leaves to match their size until those things got a hold to them.
  • Jen Jen on Nov 24, 2014
  • J K  Weigle J K Weigle on Nov 25, 2014
    Safer Soap spray will kill 'em.
  • Mary Mary on Nov 25, 2014
    Thanks for your in put. Very much appreciated. All of you agree on that approach. Once again thank you!!
  • Sherry H. Sherry H. on Nov 25, 2015
    I just bought the Dinner Plate Hibiscus Seeds, I will plant this Spring. What I would like to know is how long to maturity and do they grow flowers the first year. Thank you.
  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Nov 28, 2015
    The aphids started attacking my hibiscus in November right before they started to bloom again. Garden Safe Insecticidal Soap is an excellent product. It killed all the aphids and the plant didn't lose the blooms. It can be used indoors and outdoors.
  • Mary Mary on Nov 28, 2015
    Spraying them with lots of soapy water leaf by leaf
  • Mogie Mogie on Apr 03, 2023

    Remove all flowers that may be blooming as well as any buds because mealy bugs and aphids prefer them. You will also find them on the undersides of the leaves as well.

    Look for striped mealybugs on the stems, under leaves, on flower buds and in the leaf axils of infested plants. Because of their behavior of settling the protected crevices of plants, and their waxy coverings, don’t be surprised if you find these bugs difficult to control with insecticides.

    Soaps and oil sprays may provide some control, especially if applied before an infestation becomes heavy. But good coverage is essential, as soaps and horticultural oil sprays only kill insects that are sprayed directly. Also, expect to need to spray several times. If certain parts of the plants are more heavily infested, pruning these stems prior to spraying may be helpful.