Winterizing Hibiscus against aphids

audrey_ctSeptember 7, 2008

I have a tropical hibiscus that is now 10 years old. She stays inside during the cold months and I prune her back hard before setting the plant outside for the summer months.

Over the past 4 years, in a new house, I have seen that the plant becomes infested with aphids. I usually bring the plant indoors in October, and the plant looks healthy, with no obvious signs of aphids, however by February, the aphids have overtaken the plant, with leaves yellowing and buds covered by aphids.

When I bring the plant indoors, I do prune it back again, and fertilize regulary with a rose and flower product that also is supposed to kills insects. Insecticidal soaps and other aphid control agents have not worked, but I admit that I have not begun using them until the problem is apparent.

Any suggestions in terms of what I should do before bringing the plant indoors this fall and how to prevent this infestation from recurring? Overall, the plant is healthy and blooms prolifically outdoors and then indoors from November through January, but by February, the aphids do their number on the plant.

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macthayer(z9a NV)

Hi Audrey -- When you're talking about the "rose and flower product that is also supposed to kill insects", are you referring to Bayer Systemic Insecticide? If so, then you need to apply it to the plant well before you bring it indoors because it needs to be drawn up into the leaves as they are forming. Most plants will start to slow down their growth, or even go dormant as fall approaches. If that's the case, then the systemic stuff isn't being drawn up into the leaves.

Your aphids are coming in as eggs. They take a while to hatch, but under the right circumstances, they'll come out. I highly recommend spraying the plant with an oil based insecticide - I think Sevin is one. If you want to be a bit more "environmentally friendly", you can use something called "Pyola Insect Spray." You'll have to spray it a couple of times, (you'd also need to spray the Sevin a couple of times), with each spraying about 2 weeks apart, but it should kill off even the eggs that produce the aphids. Of course, you'll need to watch the plant, and spray again at the first hint of any infestation, but that would be true of any product you use. Anyway, the Pyola is put out by a company called "Garden's Alive". It's what I use to spray all of my plants before or immediately after I bring them indoors to kill off pests, and I've had excellent results, and it's a bit less harsh on the plant. I'm also very careful to spray both sides of the leaves, plus all of the stems, branches and trunk, so there's no where they can hide! It's a bit expensive to begin with, but one bottle should last you more than one season unless you have a lot of plants to treat. (One tablespoon mixes up with a gallon of water.) See link below. Hope this helps! MacThayer

Here is a link that might be useful: Garden's Alive! Direct Link to Pyola Spray

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 2:05AM
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