Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Pretty But Problematic

This is an unnamed hibiscus plant that I inherited with our house in SJC. It is blooming for the first time this season, and it begins with beautiful blooms that evolve into one of the biggest problem plants on the property. I threaten to take it out every year, but it remains. The problem is that it is in a corner planter that has walls on two sides and no automatic watering system. Hibiscus in our area are prone to whitefly infestation and this one is no exception. Because it is planted in a restricted area it doesn't get any air circulation and few visits from birds and beneficial insects. The only ones that seem to find it are those insects that feed on it and seek it out like the whiteflies (that lay their eggs on the undersides of the big leaves) and aphids. It is somewhat drought tolerant, but stresses out easily when it goes dry which attracts more insects. A strong stream of water will take care of the pests, but it has to be done consistently and that doesn't seem to happen. I guess the best solution would be to move it and replace it with a plant that is not so attractive to insects. Maybe I'll get around to that this year!

10 comments:

David in Kansas said...

Wow! that is indeed pretty.

Dirt Princess said...

I have never had any problems with mine. I have about 6 of them. Slugs love to dine on them, but thats about it.

CiNdEe said...

That is beautiful. Its to bad it has pest problems. Maybe moving it would be the best answer. The ones I grow here are annuals because it freezes, but they don't seem to have any bugs on them.
CiNdEeS' GaRdEn

Nikki said...

Have you tried using worm castings? We use worm gold on ours and have no troubles anymore. I sometimes make a worm gold "tea" to spray it with, too. Good luck!

Phillip said...

It is a beautiful color. Perhaps you could grow it in a container and use something else in that spot?

Frances said...

Hi Sheila, such a pretty plant, my favorite color too! Maybe moving it is the best course of action, too pretty to let the beasties have their way with it. :-)
Frances

Gail said...

It's a beauty of a color, Sheila, ...too bad about the insect problem! I vote with everyone ...it's worth moving it to keep that beautiful flower! gail

Rose said...

I've never tried to grow a hisbiscus before, but they are lovely. The problem here in the Midwest is that they aren't hardy, so they must be over-wintered inside. I hope moving yours solves the whitefly problem.

Kathleen said...

Hi Sheila. It looks like a double blossom, is that right?? If so, I'd definitely keep it/move it ~ the coloring is really pretty! Mine are grown as annuals too but I overwinter them each year. I hardly ever see any insect activity around them tho?

Sheila said...

Kathleen, yes it is a double!

Nikki, I have used worm castings on plants with white flies successfully too, but haven't had much luck with this one. I do have a new 'batch' in my worm farm so I think I will try it again and see if I have any luck with it!