Hibiscus with signs such as curling leaves and stunted growth likely have aphids. The tiny black bugs suck away juices from the plant’s leaves and cause damage to the buds and branches. So, how do you get rid of hibiscus aphids effectively?
Timely control of aphids is important because the tiny black bugs can transmit plant viruses and cause physical damage to hibiscus leaves, flowers, and buds.
Signs of aphids on Hibiscus
If you’ve noticed that some of your hibiscus leaves are curling and there are small greenish or tiny black insects on the stems, you’re likely dealing with an aphid infestation.
Identification: Aphids are soft-bodied, pear-shaped insects about 1/8-inch or smaller in size. Their mouthparts are adapted to piercing and sucking, which is whys why they cause damage to hibiscus leaves and buds.
Here are the signs of aphids on hibiscus plants include:
- Presence of small greenish bugs on stems, leaves, and shoots
- Hibiscus leaves curling
- Black, sooty, or fungal-like growth on the plant
- Small holes in leaves
- Sticky spots on the plant
- Leaves turning yellow and falling off
- Flower buds failing to open
- Stunted shoots.
Pro tip: Aphids like to attack newly forming buds on hibiscus plants. As soon as you see the pests, wash them off with a strong water spray before they cause significant damage to the plant. With this simple treatment, it is much easier to control a small aphid infestation permanently.
How to Get Rid of Aphids on Hibiscus
The best way to control aphids on hibiscus permanently is to begin treatment early before the pests multiply and cause damage to the plant. A powerful spray of water usually gets rid of the early infestation. However, there are other effective ways of getting rid of aphids on hibiscus plants:
1. Flush the aphids off with water
At an early stage, aphid infestation on hibiscus may have a small population that’s easy to control. A forceful application of water will dislodge aphids from your hibiscus plant’s leaves, stems, and buds.
Flush a strong jet of water directly on the hibiscus plants using a garden hose to dislodge the aphids. Some of the aphids will die from the blast of water at high pressure, while others that fall off alive will die from starvation.
Aphids move slowly and are likely to die before they reattach themselves to your hibiscus plants. Eventually, they will die from a lack of energy.
2. Treat with Imidacloprid insecticide
Imidacloprid is a systemic pest killer and will get rid of sucking insects, such as aphids, as well as soil insects and termites in gardens.
To get rid of aphids on the hibiscus permanently, treat the soil where you’re growing the hibiscus with Imidacloprid and allow it to be absorbed by the plant. As the aphids feed on hibiscus plants, they ingest the pesticide and die off quickly.
The hibiscus plants absorb the chemical from the soil via their roots and into the phloem vessels. Imidacloprid will kill all the aphids on your hibiscus in roughly seven days by inhibiting the transmission of stimuli within their nervous systems.
If you have recurring aphid infestations on your hibiscus, Imidacloprid soil drench treatment will help control the pests for good because it remains in the plants and the soil for the duration of their growth.
What if you don’t want to spray chemicals on indoor hibiscus? What can you use to kill the aphids?
What to spray on indoor hibiscus to get rid of aphids:
3. Spray a soap solution on the aphids
Add dawn dish soap to a bucket of water, then stir to mix using a stick. Transfer the solution to your handheld spray pump, then spray it directly on the hibiscus leaves, stems, and flower buds where the aphids are sticking to get rid of them.
Spray clean water after the treatment to rinse the excess soap off the hibiscus plant.
The chemicals present in soaps and detergents can kill aphids and many other plant pests. Dish soap (or another detergent) coats the bodies of the aphids, cutting out the supply of oxygen and killing them in the process.
Soap solution is a more natural option for removing aphids on hibiscus plants instead of chemical or insecticide options.
4. Spray an insecticide on the aphids
Spraying the affected leaves directly with insecticides will also help eliminate aphids from your hibiscus. Adjust the nozzle of your spraying hose to the finest level such that it jets out the thinnest stream of the chemical solution inside the can, as spraying is only effective if the chemicals come directly into contact with the pests.
Here are some of the best aphid killers to use:
- Bonide Systemic Insect Control
- Ortho Max Flower, Fruit & Vegetable Insect Killer
- BioNEEM Insecticide & Repellant Ready to Spray or Concentrate
- BioAdvanced Advanced Rose & Flower Insect Killer
When spraying your aphid-infested hibiscus plants with insecticide solutions, always remember to target the underside of the leaves, as this is where aphids tend to hide.
You may also want to repeat this treatment a few times for maximum efficacy, as insecticides are only effective in killing aphids on the day that they’re applied. Any aphids that survive the initial treatment can still cause damage to your plants unless you spray repeatedly.
5. Apply neem oil
Insecticidal soaps and neem oil are common natural garden pesticides. The neem oil derived from neem seeds is great at getting rid of aphids on hibiscus and controlling fungal infections.
Here’s how to control aphids on hibiscus with neem oil:
Make a neem oil solution and pour it into your spray bottle. Spray onto the aphids on your plants, making sure it comes into contact with the pests. Repeat this treatment twice a week to eliminate all the aphids for good.
Aphids feed on the sap within the stems and leaves of your hibiscus. If the infestation is severe, with massive aphid populations on every hibiscus plant, your hibiscus leaves may appear curled or yellowed.
To keep aphids away or to prevent them from reproducing and causing significant damage to your hibiscus plants, you should consider the following measures:
- Prune the affected leaves: if the aphid infestation is at its initial stages and the aphids are present on just a few leaves, you can cut off these leaves before they reproduce and spread to the rest of your hibiscus plants.
- Cut down on fertilizers: Nitrogen fertilizers usually encourage new growth, and aphids prefer to feed on the new and young growth. Therefore – if you spot a few aphids on your hibiscus plants, the wise thing to do is stop using fertilizers immediately until you control the infestation.
Aphids Identification Guide
What do aphids look like on hibiscus and other indoor plants? It is easy to confuse the little black bugs on hibiscus with other pests, such as thrips and spider mites.
There are many species of aphids, and they come in different colors. While the most common usually bear a yellow-greenish color, don’t be surprised if you ever come across black, brown, or red-colored aphids on your hibiscus plants.
Also, adult aphids may or may not have wings, depending on the season. This characteristic helps them move from depleted food sources to the next whenever their population numbers soar.
Aphids are tiny, pear-shaped insects that don’t rush away when disturbed, unlike many other species of plant insects.
Finally, you can identify aphids from the honeydew they secrete. If you notice a black fungal-like growth on your hibiscus plants’ stems, leaves, and flower buds, you are most certainly dealing with an aphid invasion.
The black substance is sooty mold fungi, whose growth is usually stimulated by the honeydew secreted by the aphids. And it’s not just fungal growth that the honeydew stimulates, as you may also spot other small insects like ants on your hibiscus plants as a result.