Q. What is attacking my hibiscus flower buds?
Oh dear--it may be aphids on your hibiscus plant.
Sometimes aphids are attracted to newly forming hibiscus buds. It's best to wash them off with a strong water spray before they eat up your plant. A small infestation can be controlled pretty easily with this water spray treatment. Early in the season or under glass, they can also be sprayed with an OMRI-listed horticultural soap or oil. Remember never to spray anything toxic outdoors since beneficial insects will be also be killed.
If you place your plant outdoors during the warm season, beneficial insects like lady bugs will help take care of the aphids in your garden. Other helper insects in the garden are parasitic wasps (not the biting kind), predatory maggots, and lacewing larvae. Infestations can usually be controlled simply by waiting forbeneficial insects to arrive.
Here is a organic method to rid your plant of aphids while it is indoors: Make a homemade aphid trap by mixing a cup each of sugar, water and vinegar in an empty gallon-sized water jug. Chop a banana peel into small 1-inch pieces and add it to the mixture. Hang the jug, with the lid off, on or near your hibiscus for a week. Discard the mixture and make a new batch each week to continue to attract aphids until they are gone.
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service