Hibiscus is a common plant with almost 300 different varieties. The Hibiscus Rosa-Sinensis is the most common variety found in garden centers and nurseries.
It’s beautiful flowers, can add a tropical, exotic flair to the garden or home. The flowers send us on a trip to Hawaii with hula dancers with a hibiscus in their hair.
These ornamental plants are susceptible to a variety of pests. If you care for Hibiscus plants, watch out for spider mites.
What Are Spider Mites?
Spider mites are plant pests found across the United States and plague many indoor and outdoor plants.
As its name suggests, spider mites are part of the arachnid family. They call ticks and scorpions cousin.
As a member of the Tetranychidae family, some spider mites spin silk webs, often to protect their eggs.
Spider mites are very small and difficult to see with the naked eye. They are about the size of a period at the end of a sentence. Younger spider mites are even smaller.
They live on the undersides of leaves and feed on plant fluids.
Regularly check the backside of your hibiscus leaves for live adult spider mites.
Spider mite marks may appear as light dots on the leaves from where it has eaten. Over time as mite infestations drain the leaves’ health. Yellow leaves are a tell tale sign of a severe infestation of mites.
This can happen quickly as spider mites live in colonies. Infestations can grow fast since they are prolific breeders.
The females can produce 300 eggs over a couple of weeks, and it takes less than a week for an egg to become a full adult.
Spider mites thrive in hot and dry conditions. This shows why they find Hibiscus attractive. The tropical Hibiscus plant favors warmer climates too.
What Damages Can Spider Mites On Hibiscus Cause?
Because spider mites are so small, it can be hard to detect them until your plant begins to suffer. If your Hibiscus displays small yellow or brown spots on its leaves, it’s time to check the underside of them.
TIP: Hold a piece of paper underneath the leaf and give it a shake to see if small black dots appear on the paper. Spider mites may look like pepper flakes when they fall onto the paper.
Depending on the level of infestation, spider mites can cause severe plant destruction. If the issue goes unchecked, your whole plant could stop growing and even die.
How To Control Spider Mites On A Hibiscus Tree
There are several ways to control mites on Hibiscus. The simplest solution is to use a spray hose to knock them off of your plants. This will work for Hibiscus plants growing outdoors.
Here are a few natural solutions to eliminate spider mites, whether your plant is indoors or outdoors:
- Use essential oil sprays like neem oil to dilute with water and spray on the affected areas.
- Prune the leaves and affected areas and dispose of them.
- Create a soapy water mixture to cover the spider mites. Use a mild liquid soap such as Castile and apply the soapy water mixture with a spray bottle to affected areas.
If your plant is outdoors, consider introducing beneficial insects such as ladybugs and lacewings to eat spider mites.
Or, use insecticidal soap, petroleum-based horticultural oils, or other relative pesticides to control these soft bodied insects.
Quarantine indoor hibiscus infested with mites. This keeps the mites from spreading to other plants.
Dust your plants regularly as a preventative measure to knock off unwanted visitors.
Additional treatments may be needed to control spider mites completely on your Hibiscus.
Be sure to treat newborns as well as full-grown adults.
Remember, spider mites can cast a web to protect their eggs. Keep on the lookout for these webs and remove them as soon as possible.
While a spider mite infestation may sound scary, it is controllable. Spider mites are hard to detect until you start seeing the damage in the plant itself.
A good habit is to check the underside of leaves when watering, particularly during the warmer months.
There are many different natural and chemical options you can use to protect your Hibiscus.
While it may take a few treatments, you can stop spider mites in their tracks and save your beautiful Hibiscus plant.