What Is A Good Insect Spray For Hibiscus Plants?

The beautiful Hibiscus is a member of the Malvaceae plant family. Tropical Hibiscus plants with vibrant blooms and bright colors make any gardener smile. More on Hibiscus tree care.

Red Hibiscus flower (Hibiscus) in full sun
Attractive Hibiscus flower | imagebrokermicrostock-DepositPhotos

Outdoor Hibiscus plants and their flowers attract pests, and gardeners are eager to rid these plant bugs.

No one wants a Hibiscus with yellow leaves, cupped or malformed leaves. 

But… 

What’s A Good Insect Spray for Hibiscus?

The short answer to this question is a spray with a strong stream of water to blast the pests off the plant.

But, often an insecticidal soap solution or neem oil organic insecticide is the best choice. Gardeners cannot use any soap spray on the market. Some could be harmful to your hibiscus plant. 

Let’s look at why these are the best general use pest control sprays. 

Why Are Insecticidal Soaps and Neem Oil Sprays The Best?

All Hibiscus varieties face attacks from soft-bodied juice sucking pests like aphids (plant lice), spider mites, Pink Hibiscus mealybugs, thrips, and whiteflies. 

Both neem oil and insecticide soaps will help control these Hibiscus plant pests.

The oils in these soap sprays cover these soft-bodied insects and suffocate or “bleed” them out. 

Where Can You Buy Neem Oil or Soap Sprays?

Most lawn and garden centers carry insecticide soap and neem oil sprays. 

Always look at the bottle and verify that the spray is safe for hibiscus plants or ornamentals. 

Stay away from using liquid Malathion sprays on Hibiscus as the oil is too thick. 

What About Homemade Sprays for a Hibiscus plant?

Homemade pest remedies like insecticidal soap have become popular alternatives with organic gardeners. Many companies are producing organic options and providing gardeners with DIY recipes. Read our insecticidal soap recipe.

Neem oil is an excellent option for hibiscus pest control. It’s made from oil derived from the seeds of the neem tree.

Neem is best to use for the management of aphids, whiteflies, mealybugs, and thrips. All these pests dine on the plant juices of the hibiscus.

Check Out These Other Hibiscus Articles:

Do it yourself options for hibiscus pest control are abundant as well. A quick search on the web and you will find recipes. Here’s one: 

  • Mix one gallon of water
  • 2 ½ to 5 tablespoons of mild, liquid dish soap (Dawn or Castile) 
  • Pour into a sprayer
  • Always test the mixture in a small area
  • If the small area has no issues, begin an application. 

Other recipes include adding essential oils like peppermint or rosemary to the mixture. 

What Are The Benefits of Neem Oil and DIY options?

Neem oil and do it yourself options are highly beneficial to your plant and yourself.

If used correctly, Neem oil can rid your Hibiscus of scale insect pests and aphids but leave no harmful residues. It’s also safe for many beneficial insects and safe for bees. [source

At home, natural plant remedies are much safer for your family. There are no harmful skin irritants or smells with a homemade spray. It’s safe for your child to apply. But, not recommended. 

As with neem oil, at-home remedies are not harmful to beneficial insects.

What Organic Spray Could I Use? 

It is pretty clear that an organic option is the best, but some gardeners reach for a chemical spray. 

NOTE: A spray may state it will kill a pest; that does not mean it’s good for your Hibiscus or the environment. 

As mentioned, Hibiscus lovers should avoid using Malathion. The oil is too thick and causes foliage to burn. 

Acephate (Orthene) is one of the systemic insecticides used as a soil drench in combating Hibiscus pests. It is not as popular today, but still available in many agricultural stores. 

How Should You Apply Oil Or Soap Sprays?

It would not be right to close without instructions for applying an insecticidal soap spray to your Hibiscus. 

Before we discuss how to apply it, let’s take a moment to discuss the right time to apply it. 

  • Apply soap sprays of any kind early in the morning or late in the evening. 
  • Do not apply any soap sprays in the heat of the day. They can cause foliage or leaf burn. 
  • Never apply a soap spray to a wilted or stressed plant – only healthy plants. 
  • Always water your Hibiscus well before applying a soap spray. 

Now you know when to apply soap sprays, let’s discuss how. 

  • The first step is to test an area of your plant. 
  • Even the most gentle sprays can harm leaves, Hibiscus flowers, and flower buds. 
  • Once you feel confident, apply the spray using a spray bottle or garden sprayer.
  • Cover the entire plant, all plant surfaces, including the undersides of leaves.

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