Wondering what those pesky little black spots on your beautiful little hibiscus are, and what they may be doing to your plant?
These are most likely aphids, a common pest when it comes to the hibiscus plant. Typically, they are found on the buds themselves as well as around the new leaves.
Luckily, aphids are fairly easy to deal with so that you can get your hibiscus back to looking fresh in no time. Keep reading to learn more.
The Black Upon the Bud
Background on Hibiscus
Before we get into those annoying black spots and how to take care of them, a bit of background information on the hibiscus is needed.
Whether you’re a new owner of a hibiscus plant or a long-time proprietor of one of these fine plants, a refresher on the basics of the flower is always good.
Hibiscus plants belong to the mallow family and are most commonly known for their large, brightly colored flowers.
This family of plants is native to warm, temperate climates and tropical parts of the world.
These delightful blossoms are perfect for making a decorative addition to any garden, home, or office space.
The flowers of the hibiscus come in a variety of different colors. These range from red, white, and yellow, and also come as peach-colored.
Flowers on a hibiscus are large and attractive. Reaching up to 6 inches in width, they are wonderful to look at and brighten up any room.
Although beautiful, these lovely flowers are sadly susceptible to aphids. Thankfully, they are fairly easy to deal with.
Aphids and Their Effects
The small black spots that you find upon your hibiscus buds, flowers, and fresh leaves are most likely aphids.
These pesky critters are something that will need to be dealt with fairly quickly, seeing as a large population of aphids will injure or even kill your hibiscus.
Before anything else, you will want to check your plant thoroughly in order to verify what the issue is.
Aphids are very small, pear-shaped, and come in nearly every color you can think of.
They may be black, white, yellow, or pink. Green aphids are also very common on hibiscus plants in particular.
While these bugs are visible to your naked eye, it is recommended that you use a magnifying glass in order to positively identify this pest.
Aphids have a distinguishing feature that no other insect has. They have two small, pointed cornicles that protrude from their backsides.
If you check the plant and see bugs with these features then your poor hibiscus is suffering from an aphid infestation.
If you have caught them early on then the population of aphids may still be relatively small, though even with small numbers they will produce cupped or distorted leaves on your hibiscus.
Sadly, leaves will not recover from this and will remain this way until they fall from the plant.
The buds that you noticed the black buds on will possibly harden, resulting in distorted flowers should the buds survive.
Aphids excrete a sugary liquid called honeydew in their wake, this consists of unused plant sap and other waste products from the pest.
This waste product is a common catalyst and growing medium for the growth of unappealing black fungus which is called sooty mold.
Black fungus may result in stunted growth for the plant, interfering with photosynthesis and attract ants to the plant, which may damage it even further.
As if that weren’t enough, aphids also carry viruses that may result in the stunting of your plant, possibly even killing it.
Their ability to transmit the disease to the plant they are on tends to be even more deadly than the damage they inflict through feeding.
All of these damaging effects give more than enough reason to combat the Aphids as soon as possible.
Of course, when you notice the black spots on the buds of your hibiscus you will want to take action immediately. Waiting for too long may result in the death of your plant.
Aphids are relatively easy to control and take care of while their numbers are still low. On the downside, they reproduce at an alarming rate, so catching them early on is a necessity.
Thankfully there are multiple natural means as well as chemical means to rid your plant of these pesky little critters.
While the colony is still small, you can actually handpick the aphids off of the plant, crush them, or even spray them off with water.
Alternatively, some insects that feed on aphids are ladybird beetles, green lacewings, syrphid fly larvae, and parasitic wasps.
These helpful bugs will naturally be attracted to infestations, but you can also purchase them if you so choose.
Ladybird beetles, or ladybugs, are available for purchase at most gardening centers and are a great way to quickly relieve your plant of aphids.
An adult ladybug is able to consume up to 50 aphids in a day. Releasing a large force of ladybugs onto your hibiscus should clean up the infestation in due time.
Aside from these natural means of eradicating the infestation, you may also choose to use chemicals.
You may want to choose chemical means to rid yourself of the pests if you notice that at least five percent of your hibiscus is covered in aphids.
Insecticides such as insecticidal soaps and horticultural oil can be very effective against aphids and will have a little residual effect on the plant itself.
Luckily, these will not only benefit your plant without harming it but they are usually not deadly to beneficial insects and people.
When using insecticides, you must ensure that both sides of leaves, the buds of the plant, and all twigs are covered in the solution.
This is because aphids must be directly sprayed with these substances in order for it to take effect.
Applying the substance multiple times is recommended and often necessary.
Nobody wants to see their hibiscus infested with aphids, especially on the fresh buds that will soon produce flowers.
Thankfully, dealing with the pesky insects is not a difficult task should you catch the infestation early on, and you’ll be able to save your precious plant without it suffering much damage.
Attending to the infestation with both natural as well as chemical means are both viable options and will most likely rid your plant of the critters.
The most important thing is keeping a careful eye on your hibiscus and monitoring and caring for it daily.