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Hibiscus Pests and Diseases – What You Have to Know

Hibiscus Pests and Diseases – What You Have to Know

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A healthy Hibiscus will produce delightful flowers throughout the summer. But if a pest or disease strikes your plant then it might not bloom at all. 

Even the most well-cared-for plants are vulnerable to pests and diseases. But fear not, if your Hibiscus looks ill usually it’s easy to identify the problem. 

So let’s take a deeper look at Hibiscus pests and diseases.


Hibiscus Pests and Diseases

If your Hibiscus is looking unwell then it may be due to an infestation of pests such as spider mites, aphids, or thrips. If pests aren’t causing the problem then it could be a disease such as root rot or dieback. Identifying the cause is vital when it comes to treating Hibiscus pests and diseases.


Common Hibiscus Diseases

A disease is something that affects the plant systematically, from the inside. Often it comes from the roots or soil. 

Diseases can be caused by poor environmental conditions as well as fungi and bacteria. 

Below, let’s take a look at the 3 most common diseases that afflict our beautiful Hibiscus.


Dieback Disease

If you notice that your Hibiscus has localized wilting (meaning the wilted parts only occur in one branch), this is a clear indication of dieback disease. Dieback disease is caused when fungus gets into a damaged branch. 

This usually occurs through a small crack or a break in the branch or stem. 

Dieback disease is easy to recognize and treat. Usually, only one branch will look wilted and unhealthy and the rest of the plant won’t be affected.

With dieback disease, it’s simply a case of removing the affected branch with clean clippers. Treatment also means cleaning away any other affected areas.


Wilt Disease

Wilt Disease aka root rot is a common fungal infection among plants, including the Hibiscus. This fungi gets in through the roots and takes over your plant’s capillary system.

This stops your plant from absorbing water and nutrients which are vital for its health.

This is one of the most severe Hibiscus diseases. But if you catch it the soonest time, it’s possible to save your plant. 

Rotted roots aren’t the only sign of this disease. In fact, by the time the root has rotted then it’s usually hard for the plant to recover.

Root rot affects the whole plant making it look wilted and unhealthy. 

Unlike other Hibiscus diseases, with root rot, the leaves don’t turn yellow. Instead, they’ll stay green and go darker. 

Overwatering can cause root rot. So if your plant is wilting and the soil is wet, this is a sign of Wilt Disease.

If your plant is suffering from wilt disease you can try and save it with a root wash.


Spots and Yellowing Leaves

In cool, damp weather your Hibiscus may develop black spots on its leaves. These are caused by fungus or bacteria. 

Although black spots don’t look very nice, they won’t harm your plant. 

You can remove heavily affected leaves. But otherwise, you don’t need to treat black spots.

It’s normal for your Hibiscus to get yellow leaves sometimes. However, if your plant has lots of yellow leaves, this can be an indicator of a health problem. 

Yellow leaves can signify something out of balance in your Hibiscus environment such as temperature or water. They’re also a sign of most diseases and illnesses


Common Hibiscus Pests

A pest is usually an insect or spider that attacks your plant from the outside. 

Often they’re not visible to the human eye so it might be worth investing in a microscope to identify them.

Pest will damage your plant and drain it of nutrients from the outside. If you don’t catch these pests early, they will colonize your plant and can even kill it. 

Below, we’ve listed the most common Hibiscus pests to look out for.


Spider Mites

Spider mites are tiny and you can’t see them without any eye aid. But sometimes you can see their webs on the stem and branches of your plant.

Spider mites will feed off your plant and make the leaves look mottled.

The good news is that Spider Mites usually won’t kill a plant and they’re easy to treat. 

You can remove them by giving your Hibiscus a gentle blast with the hose. You can also use chemical treatments in severe cases.



Aphids are tiny insects and they can be green, white, or red.

They feed on the plant’s leaves, giving them a mottled look, just like spider mites. But unlike Spider mites, sometimes you can see aphids in rows on the leaves.

If your Hibiscus has aphids then its leaves won’t grow well. And they’ll look yellow and unhealthy.

Aphids release honeydew which is sweet and attractive to ants. If ants are interested in your Hibiscus this could be a sign of aphids. 

It’s important to get aphids under control quickly because they can cause lots of damage. 

A natural way to treat aphids is by introducing predator insects such as Lady Bugs and Lacewings. These will eat the aphids but leave the rest of your plant intact. 

You can also spray your Hibiscus with a hose to remove aphids or use an insecticide. 



These insects are responsible for bud drop in Hibiscus. They get inside the buds, harming them before these buds even get a chance to bloom.

Thrips are small, dark, and elongated. If you shake your Hibiscus over some white paper then you’ll easily see thrips. 

Other signs of thrips include scratch-like marks on the leaves.

The adult thrips lay eggs in Hibiscus buds. Their larvae eat everything inside, making the buds change their color before they drop off. 

When the bud reaches the soil, the larvae burrow into the earth to hatch out. So you must remove all affected buds before they drop.

If you treat thrips with insecticide then use a systematic one. Sprays won’t penetrate the larvae inside the buds.


Pest and Disease Prevention

Healthy Hibiscus plants are less prone to illnesses. So make sure that your plant is healthy by equipping it with the best environmental conditions.

Hibiscus are tropical so they like plenty of sunlight, water, and humidity as well as lots of drainage. You should also feed your Hibiscus regularly to keep it healthy and strong.

If you adopt good hygiene practices, these measures will also aid in preventing diseases and pests from afflicting your Hibiscus. 

Good hygiene practices include regular pruning which helps with air circulation.

And you should also remove dead leaves and branches regularly and keep the pot clean of dead foliage.


Frequently Asked Questions about Hibiscus Diseases and Illnesses


What’s the difference between a Hibiscus pest infestation and a Hibiscus disease?

A pest infestation happens on the outside of the plant and involves parasitic insects. Whereas a disease will usually affect the plant from the inside and is usually caused by fungus or bacteria.


How can I treat Hibiscus pests and diseases?

Before treating your Hibiscus you must identify what’s affecting it. Treatments can be a simple as spraying your plant with a hose. While others may need more complex treatments such as a root wash.