Q:

What could be eating my hibiscus?

A:

Many animals love to eat the large leaves, flowers and stems of a hibiscus. Squirrels, deer, groundhogs and turtles are some of the more common animals that may be responsible for eating the plant.

Usually, homeowners apply several different preservation techniques before finding one that keeps animals away. Squirrels find the hibiscus to be a tasty meal and make frequent returns to it until it is destroyed. Several household solutions can deter the squirrel. The smell of hot pepper and mothballs is enough to keep many squirrels away. If applied regularly, coffee grounds, blood meal and predator urine have the same effect, saving the plant from these hungry pests.

The best way to repel deer is by screening the plant with fencing, chicken wire or mesh. If fencing is not a practical or an attractive solution, deer can be kept away from the hibiscus plant by frequently applying chemical deer repellents. Groundhogs can dig underneath fencing, so installing a net around the plant or spraying it with a chemical repellent are the easiest ways to keep these animals away. Turtles are effectively repelled by building a low wall around the plant to force the little reptiles to turn away from the meal.

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