Considered to be one plant with perhaps too many uses, the hibiscus plant is a perennial that blooms all year round.
The hibiscus is, used for paper making, rope construction, taken as a beverage, eaten as food, used as a spice, used in local medicine, claimed to be useful in stimulating contractions, helps for fertility, and helps in blood pressure reduction.
A beauty to behold, the hibiscus flower is the symbol of a Hindu goddess called kali, and the most important offering to the god Ganesha.
In Tahiti and Huawei, ladies wear the hibiscus flower as adornment for their dresses. This is not just all about the beautiful hibiscus plant.
The hibiscus plant also has over a hundred known species and grows on almost every layer of earth in the world. It is in fact, the most popular house plant in existence.
All this beauty and importance in the hibiscus plant is attacked and most times destroyed by a popular, difficult-to-control pest called the spider mite.
There are a lot of other pests that attack the hibiscus and parasites on it for food and nutrient supplies, but the spider mite is the most pervasive.
This is because of its propensity to spread in a short space of time.
Spider mites are believed to have been named ironically, in the sense that they do not look or move like spiders, but have the spider prefix attached to their names.
They look more like micro crabs with abilities to spin a web. Their webbing ability has to be the only reason for including a spider in their names.
Spider mites are not so visible to the natural eyes and would need the help of an electron microscope or a magnifying glass to really observe their activities on a hibiscus plant.
In this article, we outline all the steps necessary for the control of spider mites in a hibiscus plant.
We are particular about this because we love the hibiscus plant and know that you love them as well, and we hope that this article helps you get rid of spider mites on your hibiscus plant, as a way of fostering healthy growth of the plant.
How to Identify Spider Mites on Hibiscus
You already know that spider mites cannot easily be spotted with naked eyes. It needs the help of a microscope or magnifying lens.
This does not mean that they cannot be entirely seen at all. If you look closely at a spider mite-infested hibiscus plant, you would see tiny movements and silky webs holding the eggs of the spider mites.
Another observable characteristic of a hibiscus plant that is invaded by spider mites is a gradual change of color of the leaves.
They either begin to discolor to yellow or brown. This is due to the loss of phosphorous from the plant.
The spider mites are responsible for draining the phosphorous off the hibiscus plant. Tiny white spots can also be seen underneath the leaves.
The white spots are excretions from the spider mites and they appear as white spots on the leaves.
How Do I Get Rid Of Spider Mites On My Hibiscus?
The following are ways to control spider mites on hibiscus plants:
2. Use of pesticides
3. Use of herbicidal oils
4. Pruning by deadheading
Spider mites reproduce in quick succession and develop colonies very easily. Their spread rate on leaves is very rapid and it does not take long before a spider mite infestation moves from just one leaf on the hibiscus plant to the entire hibiscus plant.
This is why it is necessary to take steps to get rid of them at the early stages of infestations before your whole hibiscus is completely emptied of phosphorous and wilts away.
Soaking as a method of getting rid of spider mites on the hibiscus plant does not follow the usual technique of soaking to water a plant.
This method involves submerging the hibiscus plant leaves in a bowl of warm or hot water. This is best done on hibiscus plants that are still young and have just a little number of leaves.
Soaking does two things to the spider mites on the hibiscus plant leaves. The first is that the temperature of the water weakens their grasp on the leaves.
Secondly, the long immersion in water drowns both the matured mites and their eggs.
In soaking, you should ensure the roots of the hibiscus plant are properly covered with a water-resistant bag so the water does not escape into the roots and lead to overwatering.
2. Use of Pesticides
Pesticides are very effective in getting rid of spider mites from hibiscus plants.
The only disadvantage is that if the pesticides are applied in quantities that are too much for the plant’s survival, it could lead to the death of the hibiscus plant.
The pesticides you decide to use on the hibiscus plant should be mildly toxic and approved to be usable on an edible plant like the hibiscus.
This is because the pesticides applied have a way of accumulating on the soil and leaves of the hibiscus plant and might cause harmful irritations to humans when they are harvested and eaten as food.
3. Use Of Herbicidal Oils
Herbicidal oils like neem oil are made of about a hundred biologically active components like triterpenes also called limonoids.
The neem oil contains an important element known as azadirachtin which is responsible for causing over ninety percent irritation in spider mites.
Herbicidal oils are harmless to the plants and are usually applied by rubbing them on all the edges and sides of the leaf, especially on the underparts where spider mites reside.
4. Pruning By Deadheading
Pruning as you already know is the act of trimming excessive leaves from a plant.
In the case of getting rid of spider mites, the regular pruning technique isn’t enough. Deadheading has to be the pruning technique.
Deadheading is the act of cutting the leaf to the point where it connects with the stem.
Pruning by deadheading should be done only when a leaf of the hibiscus plant has been too infested to be saved by the other methods listed above.
What Is The Fastest Way to Get Rid Of Spider Mites?
All of the above-listed methods of getting rid of spider mites are effective and proficient for what they are worth.
Just that, spider mites are stubborn species of pests that keep returning to the hibiscus plant even when they have been eradicated previously by the gardener.
The fastest way of getting rid of spider mites is by getting rid of them at their early stages of infestation, at least two days after first contact with your hibiscus plant.
This is because by this time they have not formed lots of eggs to hatch a colony and have not begun to cover multiple parts of the leaves.
We advise that regular checks be carried out on the leaves to be up to date on the state of the hibiscus plant.
What Damages Does Spider Mite Cause To the Hibiscus?
Spider mites destroy the hibiscus plants slowly and steadily until every blossoming flower that makes up your hibiscus plant is reduced to vines and leaf stalks.
The following damages are done by spider mites on a hibiscus plant:
1. Sucking up of the phosphorous nutrients that make up for green coloration in the hibiscus leaves which browns up the leaves of the hibiscus plant
2. Boring of holes on the leaves of the hibiscus plant
3. Ridding the hibiscus of chlorophyll which leads to stunted growth and eventual death.
Are Hibiscus Plants prone to spider mites?
Not just hibiscus plants, but every flowering plant with chlorophyll, photosynthesis, and a great scent.
The hibiscus happens to fit into this description, hence it is one of the plants prone to spider mite pest attack.
A hibiscus plant growing in an unhealthy condition is an even greater target for the spider mites, given that they have little resistance to the spider mites.
Will Rain Get Rid Of Spider Mites?
Spider mites hang on the underparts of the leaves and make their silky webs around that part of the leaves.
Unless the rain results in a flood that covers up the outdoor hibiscus plants, spider mites always stay protected from the rains.
A good storm can also eliminate spider mites from the hibiscus plant but it would be at the cost of the leaves; such that, the storm naturally deadheads the weakened leaves from the hibiscus plant.
Where Do Spider Mites Come From?
Spider mites are microorganisms, parasites that exist in nature. They are moved around by their eggs through various modes of dispersion.
The Modes of dispersion include wind, humans, and ants. They eventually find their way into a healthy hibiscus and feed on it, reproducing and hatching more eggs that are dispersed to other plants.
There is literally no part of the world as of now, where spider mites do not exist as plant pests.
Will My Hibiscus Still Bloom After A Spider Mite Infestation?
Hibiscus plants can still bloom after a spider mite infestation if they are given appropriate care.
After ridding the hibiscus plant from spider mites, it is necessary to properly and consistently water the soil, apply fertilizer to increase soil quality, and shield soil from direct sunlight and excessive heat.
Remember the plant has just gone through a stressed phase and would need all the care it can get to bloom again, even better than it used to before the spider mites attacked.
In this article, the following deserves to be reiterated for emphasis:
1. Spider mites are tiny creatures that are not so easily seen with naked eyes.
2. Spider mites do not look like spiders but crabs. Crabs with an ability to spin webs.
3. Your hibiscus plant is probably infested with spider mites if you begin to see webs around the edges and underparts of the hibiscus leaves
4. Spider mites suck out the chlorophyll and phosphorous from hibiscus plants and make their leaves turn brown
5. Neem oil is an effective herbicidal oil for controlling spider mites on a hibiscus plant
As a gardener, you could spend half the life cycle of a hibiscus plant, fighting and trying to get rid of spider mites.
This is because spider mites are difficult parasites that return almost every season.
The process is harder when you do not have the right knowledge about how to control and get rid of these crab-looking spider-prefixed mites.
In this article, we have provided you with all of the requisite information to effectively combat and control spider mites from getting to your beautiful plant.
We urge you to not relent in using each of the methods as often as possible. Cheers!