En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Tuesday - November 25, 2008

From: Chardon, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives, Pests, Shrubs
Title: Small white bugs on indoor hibiscus in Ohio
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My Hibiscus has small white bugs on the leaves with small white residue. Looks like very small pieces of white rice. This white rice is also covering the UNOPENED buds and making them fall off. It is a potted plant in my home in NE Ohio in our Sun Room. Also how do I get it to flower all year long? Is there something I should be deadheading? How far down "stem" do you pick off? Haven't done that yet. Really need to know what to do about the white stuff.

ANSWER:

While there is a hibiscus native to Ohio, Hibiscus moscheutos (crimsoneyed rosemallow), it is considered a perennial in the South, but an annual as far north as Ohio. We believe that probably what you have is a tropical plant not native to North American called Hibiscus-sinensis. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are focused on plants native to North America and to the area in which they are being grown, because they will be adapted to conditions and will require less water, fertilizer and maintenance.

However, most indoor plants are non-native tropicals, and we can at least point you at some websites that can give you some help with your plant. In this Hibiscus-sinensis.com website Hibiscus Care, you will find that the most common pest on Hibiscus benefitting from the dry indoor environment is spider mites. If you tap a leaf over a white sheet of paper, and little red spots fall off, those are spider mites, and that doesn't sound like what you are asking about. This Geocities.com Identification of Insects, Pests and Diseases that Affect Hibiscus rosa-sinensis has a more comprehensive coverage of the pests of hibiscus and what to do about them. Go to the bottom of the first page of that site, and click on the green bar "Sucking", which refers to sucking insect pests of hibiscus. You will get several pages of description of bugs, what they look like, what damage they do to the plant, how to treat them, etc. On the second page of that set, you will find what is considered to be one of the greatest scourges of indoor and greenhouse plants, which is whiteflies. That sounds most nearly like the symptoms you have described.

As to your question about forcing your hibiscus to bloom year-round, again, as this is a non-native, we don't know much about that, but the Hibiscus Care website mentioned above has some suggestions on deadheading and promoting blooming. Ordinarily, plants will bloom for only one period of the year, and put a lot of energy into blooming because this is part of their reproduction cycle. Deep down, all living entities live for just one thing-to create more just like themselves. 


Hibiscus moscheutos

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Plants that are deer resistant for high desert climate in Utah
January 23, 2008 - We are building in a high desert climate in Dammeron Valley, Utah. We want plants that are both deer resistant and require little watering. Can you advise which plants (shrubs, flowers, cacti) that ...
view the full question and answer

Need shrubs for a privacy screen in Glendale CA
October 30, 2014 - Dear. Mr. Smarty Plants I need to grow a tall hedge 15-20 feet minimum to block a condo complex which overlooks my back yard. I need a fast growing hedge which is non toxic to dogs and one which roo...
view the full question and answer

Roots of Savannah Holly close to house
February 26, 2009 - I live in Sugar Land and want to plant Savannah Holly at the ends of both sides of the front flowerbed. Are the roots too dangerous to plant so close to the house? (How far from the house should they...
view the full question and answer

Pruning cherry laurel in January in Austin
January 07, 2011 - Do trust I checked Q&A first. Can Cherry Laurel shrubs be pruned earlier than late winter in Austin? I foolishly planted 12 native Cherry Laurel standards on our suburban property line 5 years ago. I ...
view the full question and answer

Plants wilting too quickly in Toledo OH
May 27, 2012 - The garden I have had recent issues with plants wilting all too quickly. I would like to know what types of plants would be hearty for the climate in Toledo, Ohio. I have a partly sunny front yard and...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center